BRUSSELS — European Union ministers on Monday debated ways to persuade northern African countries to take back migrants denied entry into the 27-nation bloc, as the EU considers making it more difficult for those failing to cooperate to secure European visas.
Migrants arriving in Europe without authorization routinely lose or destroy their identity documents, or use fake papers, making it hard to work out where they came from and send them home. Sometimes the countries they live in or transit through are reluctant to take them back.
The EU’s executive body, the European Commission, has drawn up a list of how well 39 countries cooperated on readmitting their nationals in 2019. Foreign and interior ministers weighed Monday what methods the EU can use to improve things.
Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas said the ministers agreed that the EU’s work on migration “has to start beyond our borders,” and use policies like trade, development assistance, education, visas and investment.
Schinas said the aim is to develop “tailor-made, comprehensive and mutually beneficial, win-win partnerships with key countries of origin and transit.”