Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi called on European countries to participate in “regulating legal immigration,” noting that his country hosts “about six million immigrants.”
In an interview with the German newspaper Die Welt, Sisi said the Egyptian government has been preventing immigrants from illegally sneaking into Europe since September 2016.
“We are not asking European countries for anything in return,” he affirmed, adding that Cairo also does not seek to exploit this matter for economic benefits.
Last week, Egyptian officials said the government will cooperate with the European Union to discuss details of a “rehabilitation program” for the return of illegal migrants.
Sisi said there is a need for a new approach on immigration, adding that the country can’t receive all illegal migrants.
He suggested that Europe participates in regulating legal migration, noting that it can help in creating new economic horizons and job opportunities in Egypt, where more than one million young people enter the labor market every year.
Job opportunities can only be created if “Europe helps us build competitive industries,” Sisi said.
Egyptian ministers and officials from the EU mission in Cairo held a meeting last week and discussed “providing safe alternatives to illegal immigration.”
According to official statistics published by the premier’s media center earlier this month, the country received about 259,300 refugees and asylum seekers in 2020 and 258,400 in 2019.