BRUSSELS — For three years, the European Union has been paying other countries to keep asylum seekers away from a Europe replete with populist and anti-migrant parties.
It has paid Turkey billions to keep refugees from crossing to Greece. It has funded the Libyan Coast Guard to catch and return migrant boats to North Africa. It has set up centers in distant Nigerto process asylum seekers, if they ever make it that far. Most don’t.
Even as that arm’s-length network comes under criticism on humanitarian grounds, it is so overwhelmed that the European Union is seeking to expand it, as the bloc aims to buttress an approach that has drastically cut the number of migrants crossing the Mediterranean.
It is now preparing to finish a deal, this time in Rwanda, to create yet another node that it hopes will help alleviate some of the mounting strains on its outsourcing network.