The European Union on Sunday announced a €7.4 billion aid package for cash-strapped Egypt amid concerns that economic pressure and conflicts and chaos in neighbouring countries could drive more migrants to European shores.

The package is scheduled to be signed during a visit by European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and the leaders of Belgium, Italy, Austria, Cyprus and Greece, according to Egyptian officials.

The package includes both grants and loans over the next three years for the Arab world’s most populous country, according to the European Union Mission in Cairo.

According to a document from the EU mission in Egypt, the two sides have promoted their cooperation to the level of a “strategic and comprehensive partnership,” paving the way for expanding Egypt-EU cooperation in various economic and non-economic areas.

The EU will provide assistance to Egypt’s government to fortify its borders especially with Libya, a major transit point for migrants fleeing poverty and conflicts in Africa and the Middle East, and will support the government in hosting Sudanese who have fled nearly a year of fighting between rival generals in their country.


Does the EU have similar deals with other countries to prevent migrants from illegally immigrating to Europe? It seems that the EU is giving Egypt money to prevent a flood of migrants from reaching its shores, so I was wondering if the EU had made similar deals with other countries, giving economic aid in exchange of cooperation on migration.

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    There was a deal with Türkiye, promising money for taking back illegal immigrants that came to the EU via Greece, but that did work very well (Türkiye took the money, but not so much the immigrants) and I am not sure of the current status (also referring to people as "floods" is a bit of loaded language). Commented Mar 18 at 12:18
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    On re-reading my comment there is a very important "not" missing ( as in "did not work very well"), but then the meaning was probably clear from context. Commented Mar 18 at 15:22
  • Indeed eu migrant deal tunisia and you can repeat that search for other countries. Easily, easily, found. Commented Mar 18 at 15:50
  • The title is misleading and derogatory. Many of the migrants would migrate perfectly legally. They are often refugees under the 1951 UN convention or eligible for humanitarian protection because the conditions in their home countries make it too dangerous to live there. The "deals" are designed to prevent all migration, often violating the rights of the migrants. The problem these "deals" try to address: The legacy legal and institutional frameworks for dealing with refugees are ill-equipped to handle the modern, vastly increased mobility of displaced people. Commented Mar 19 at 10:50
  • But even with this increased mobility, the overwhelming majority of refugees just burdens the neighboring countries which are vastly worse equipped to cater to them compared to the rich countries of the global West/North which are shielding themselves from often perfectly legitimate refugee influx. It is a crying shame that has no simple solution. As a teaser I highly recommend the eminent late Hans Rosling's explanation Why Boat Refugees Don't Fly!. We force refugees to risk their lives with these deals. Commented Mar 19 at 10:52

2 Answers 2


Oh, yes.

Libya and again:

the EU and member countries have chosen to furnish money, vessels, training, and aerial surveillance to abusive Libyan armed groups so they can intercept and forcibly return people to Libya.


European leaders were in Tunisia to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), aiming to curb migration to Europe. And in exchange they offered Tunisia €105 million for “border management,” and nearly €1 billion in additional loans and financial support amid the country’s unprecedented economic crisis.

This seems to have fallen through since...

The autocratic president, Kais Saied, suddenly said on October 2nd that he did not want Europe’s money, and on October 9th Tunisia sent €60m ($64m) back. He appears to have been expecting more cash than was sent to Tunisia recently, possibly owing to an internal wrangle within the eu.


Türkiye would take any measures necessary to stop people travelling irregularly from Türkiye to the Greek islands. Anyone who arrived on the islands irregularly from Türkiye could be returned there. For every Syrian returned from the islands, EU Member States would accept one Syrian refugee who had waited inside Türkiye. In exchange, Türkiye would receive €6 billion to improve the humanitarian situation faced by refugees in the country, and Turkish nationals would be granted visa-free travel to Europe.

Spain & Morocco

At the western end of the Mediterranean, things are quieter, and Spain’s centre-left government touts its success in handling the migration route there. But critics say that this is because of a grubby deal with Morocco. In 2021 Moroccan authorities looked away while migrants streamed into Spain’s North African enclave of Ceuta. When Pedro Sánchez’s government abruptly announced a shift on policy towards Western Sahara—in effect blessing Morocco’s position that it should remain under Moroccan sovereignty but with local autonomy—many sensed that the Moroccan use of the “migration weapon” had worked, winning a long-sought foreign-policy concession.

Now, please understand, I cited the first links that answered the question. All three are strongly critical.

But there are also contrasting viewpoints: that making deals with neighboring states is a more efficient, and potentially more humane approach to cutting migrant flows. Imagine, for example, overloaded boats being detained in Tunisian harbors, before they get a chance to get in trouble in the middle of the Med.

Now whether those deals are indeed structured to be, and end up being "more humane" in practice is another question.


They also have (or had) some deals with countries farther in Africa. They're often not as obvious/explicit as the one with Turkey, but link some EU funds to "migration control".

Article 13 of the Cotonou Agreement, signed in 2000 between the EU and 79 countries from Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP), explicitly links cooperation agreements and migration control policy. Over the past two decades, migration has become a central feature in negotiations between European and African countries, including in areas that are not historically linked to migration policy, such as trade, development and security. [...] “with the Cotonou agreement, it is the first time that an instrument of economic cooperation financed by […] Official Development Assistance […] contains questions related to the removal of individuals in an irregular situation”.

[...] In 2006, France, Morocco, Senegal, and Spain gave the impetus to the Rabat Process, with the first Euro-African Ministerial Conference on Migration and Development bringing together 58 countries, the European Council, ECOWAS, and observer organizations. According to the official rhetoric on the Rabat Process’ website, the aim is “to openly discuss migration and development issues in a spirit of partnership and shared responsibility”. The Rabat Process affirms to be “a dialogue platform for national administrations of the countries of origin, transit and destination along the West African migration routes”. Its self-imposed mission is to find “a response to unmanaged migration flows”, which “required a coordinated response from all concerned countries”. Since then, policy instruments and bi- or multilateral agreements are negotiated directly by member states, or by the EU itself with third countries.

[...] In November 2015, the EU-Africa Valletta Summit in Malta constituted a second tipping point that catalyzed this migration-development-security nexus. At this summit, the EU explicitly defined its priorities for Africa by linking migration, development and security through the combination of different key policy elements like “development aid, trade, mobility, energy, security, digital policy” (European External Action Service, 2016). Since this summit, the EU has been working on its new “Partnership Framework with third countries under the European Agenda on Migration” with a special focus on “priority countries of origin and transit” (European Commission, 2016a). In West Africa, those “priority countries” are Mali, Nigeria, Niger, and Senegal.

Quoting European rhetoric, these “partnerships” are not summarized in a single document but entail “a series of provisions and exchanges between the European side and the African side […] to decouple readmission agreements and legal migration to Europe so that the domestic problems connected with the two issues do not block each other” (Toaldo and Barana, 2016). The “partnerships” are realized through the negotiation of bilateral tailor-made “compacts”, including readmission agreements. Increasing the numbers of returns and readmissions – in other words, increasing deportations – is a key component of this policy (European External Action Service, 2016: 1). According to the EU’s rhetoric, “the compacts approach avoids the risk that concrete delivery is held up by technical negotiations for a fully-fledged formal agreement” (European Commission, 2016b: 3). Reconnecting with tied aid in development cooperation, “a mix of positive and negative incentives” are integrated into those political frameworks “to reward those countries willing to cooperate effectively with the EU on migration management and ensure there are consequences for those who refuse” (European Commission, 2016a: 2). The EU rhetoric specifies that “there must be consequences for those who do not cooperate on readmission and return. […] migration cooperation should be a consideration in the forthcoming evaluation of trade preferences under ‘GSP+’” (European Commission, 2016c: 9).

Then, the “European Union Emergency Trust Fund for stability and addressing root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa” (EUTF for Africa) was formally launched at the Valletta summit. It provides additional funding to support the implementation of the action plan in Mali, Nigeria, Niger, Senegal, and Ethiopia. From 2016 to date, this EUTF for Africa finances a large variety of projects accomplished through aid conditioning (Schöfberger, 2019).

[...] the funding is in practice mainly being allocated and used for funding security-focused projects. These include the training of police, border guards and intelligence services, as well as the biometric identification of African citizens, in turn allowing for future tracing of potential terrorists, smugglers (Awenengo et al., 2018) and “undesirable” citizens. This has paved the way for the strengthening of legal, administrative and juridical mechanisms allowing African governments to increase their performance of sovereignty through monopolies on deportation, imprisonment and the criminalization of migrants and people involved in “the work of migration” in their countries. [...] On paper, the EUTF for Africa addresses a “series of challenges” such as “open conflict, forced displacement, irregular migration, criminal activities and lawlessness, smuggling of migrants and trafficking in human beings, radicalization and violent extremism”. [...]

Moreover, besides the initiatives supported by the EUTF, the EU has developed the EUCAP Sahel, which was officially launched in Niamey and Bamako at the request of local governments in 2012 and 2015, respectively, to focus on “strengthening local capacity for maintaining security”. According to the official rhetoric on their website, their mission includes “border management” and explicitly links the fight against terrorism, traffickers, smugglers, and migration into a single “common” security perspective. EUCAP Sahel is part of the European Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP).

Another [somewhat derogatory] term coined for this is ‘migratisation of development [aid]’.

Granted, some of that appears in trouble more recently with France and the EU being replaced by Russia in some of those countries in the "coup belt".

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