'10,000-strong European coastguard '

'10,000-strong European coastguard '

World September 12, 2018 07:00

strasbourg - From our correspondent

The Luxembourger will speak out his annual 'speech of the throne' in the European Parliament on Wednesday morning, following the example of the American president. This marks the kick-off of the new political season, which will mark the European elections of May next year.

According to leaked plans, Juncker wants a 10,000-strong European coastguard to be established by 2020. This means that the undesirable migration to EU territory must be curbed. But also the return of rejected asylum seekers to their countries of origin must go faster.

Migration remains the headache dossier number one for the EU. Due to disagreement about the redistribution of migrants, a reform of the asylum rules is stuck. Italy, where many migrants arrive, demands solidarity from the rest, but beyond what is cut and paste in anticipation of a real adjustment that has so far proved impossible, the European Commission does not.

In June, the government leaders agreed at a summit that 'disembarkation platforms' should be set up in North Africa, where intercepted migrants should end up. But there is still little enthusiasm for such camps in countries in the region, and it is questionable whether they will come through all sorts of practical problems at all.

Juncker also wants to focus on the economic development of Africa. As a result, fewer Africans will eventually feel the pressure to travel to Europe on rickety boats.

Juncker will probably also discuss the (larger) role in the world that Europe must play. The trade dispute with the US has been dammed, but certainly not yet out of the world. It is clear that the relationship with Washington under President Trump has been seriously chilled. Many Brussels but also national European politicians have weighed up that the EU should therefore sail a more independent course anyway.

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