I figure the Egyptian mogul's proposal is fairly hard to fit into international law - you can't actually establish a country and make yourself the president by *buying* the territory. If he wanted a formal lease on the island for a limited time, but not full sovereignty, it would look a bit more in order, but what would happen when he passes away? I bet he doesn't want a lease of just twenty years or the like, so the land rights would go over to his son, that's what he would like to see if there was a lease - and that's something Greece or Italy would likely find stiff to accept.
I suppose the states might be thinking of a few particular objections:
1) What the linked article cited, they would somehow appear 'too welcoming' and it would perhaps somehow encourage more refugees than they wish to show up somewhere or other. (As if that weren't happening pretty much already at quite visible locations, and regardless of them not approving?? But anyhoo, they say they're worried about it.)
Possibly 2) Yes, is this a sort of messing with the map of borders and loss of sovereignty although... I wonder, if we looked closely, how often borders have actually been redrawn in such small ways in say, the last century. I don't really know. Which leads me to suspect it could be a bit more of:
3) They may be imagining that hey, any viable island where this guy could think of putting a small port and a hotel of any sort, eventually
some corporation or interest or other that are more chummy with our party/friends, or who may have even more money to toss in someday when the world is still more
... OR something similar: perhaps let us wish happily in some lovely economic boom as opposed to the recession and that ugly visual mess of the refugee crisis here now
, there will be more competing offers yet... So perhaps it's best to just hang on to all these little parcels, however remote, and speculate
that someday they could be still more valuable. And perhaps that someday, the country could make such a deal and keep it all more closely under a familiar national/cultural thumb and not appear to be helping 'the wrong people' at the same time.
I don't see anywhere in the linked article that Sawiris, the Egyptian has said he intends to keep the island indefinitely. In fact, it says he calls it a "temporary" arrangement. So I think it's an open question what time frame he would propose exactly. The concern might be more a feeling of, if he is the official manager and his stated purpose is to accommodate 100,000 or 200,000 people, wait, we don't approve of how they arrived in the first place -- "They are not vetted" and they appear, de facto, to be a sort of domain with their own culture and rules.
Given the choice, I wonder if the Italians and Greeks might not prefer to keep the refugees as dispersed as possible. That's pretty much been the direction of new 'lower-income' housing vouchers in some American cities too: They are planned in ways that end up breaking up poorer communities, providing a new map where the city can say, "Seeee,
no more visible poverty problem blighting
our fabulous downtown or historic inner city" while communities where people used to help each other get by and maybe find some political solidarity in a place, get broken up and scattered.