Europe seeks secret ‘stop the boats’ advice: report

The Federal Government says at least six European countries and the European Union have secretly asked Australia for advice on how to “stop the boats”.

News Corp is reporting that Australian officials have held private talks with European counterparts about stemming the flood of asylum-seekers arriving in Europe by boat, primarily from the south via the Mediterranean Sea.

This is despite the European Union publicly criticising Australia’s uncompromising refugee policies – including boat turn-backs and offshore processing – and dismissing calls from former prime minister Tony Abbott for Europe to adopt such policies.

“A number of European nations and the European Union have sought advice from the Australian Government on Operation Sovereign Borders,’’ Mr Dutton’s spokesman told News Corp.

“The Minister has personally had discussions with several of his European counterparts.

“It would not be appropriate to disclose discussions with other governments.

“Australia is willing to share its experiences, but it is for individual governments and regions to determine what they believe is the most effective course of action.’’

The European Union commission’s spokeswoman on migration, Natasha Bertaud, said the EU adhered to the international laws and principles of “non-refoulement’’ (not returning people to danger).

“We have no intention of changing this — so of course the Australian model can never be a model for us,’’ she said, adding she was “not aware’’ of any discussions with Australia.
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