January 16, 2021

Legal channels and aid to Africa, the key to stop arrivals according to experts

Legal channels and aid to Africa, the key to stop arrivals according to experts



The European Union needs, in order to curb irregular immigration, a migration policy that includes legal access routes, a broader cooperation with African countries and a refugee reception system, various experts told Efe today.

At the last European summit, held this week, the leaders of the Twenty-eighths insisted on the need to cut off flows from the root, fighting trafficking networks in the Mediterranean, making more effective the returns of immigrants who have no right to remain in the EU (in 2017 only 36.6% were returned) and with more cooperation with Africa.

Stefani Weiss, of the Bertelsmann Stiftung study center, explains to Efe that involving these countries in the management of immigration requires closer and wider cooperation than currently exists.

According to this expert, "the current (European) development policy is not enough nor is it oriented enough to create growth and employment in the region."

"The remittances of immigrants who have left sub-Saharan Africa amount to about 40,000 million euros, which exceeds any direct foreign investment and in the case of Liberia adds 25% to the GDP of that country.The percentage is also very high in other countries in the region, "says Weiss.

Flows can only be effectively managed "if the EU contributes to economic development in sub-Saharan Africa that improves living conditions and reduces the causes of migration," he adds.

In this coincides Geert Laporte, deputy director of the European Center for the Management of Development Policies and Migration (ECDPM), which considers that aid to the EU should include fair trade offers, investments, better visa regulations or more exchange programs for students.

"If this is not done, the waves of economic immigrants from Africa will be unstoppable," Laporte told Efe.

In parallel, experts say, regular routes must be created for migration, which at the same time avoid brain drain, something that according to Weiss already occurs in some countries such as Ghana, where about 80% of doctors they have studied in that country, "they are now working in the United Kingdom".

According to Laporte, although the EU "should not be responsible for absorbing large numbers of economic immigrants who have entered the EU illegally," it could "develop more legal channels for temporary migration."

This "would not solve the problem for most economic immigrants, but" could offer a perspective to certain categories of economic immigrants who are in search of a better life, "he says.

This expert also believes that the EU "needs a more coherent policy, both in the short and long term, to manage the problem of refugees and migration."

It indicates that "while for the moment economic immigration is fairly well controlled, it can be expected that, with the demographic explosion in the coming years and bad governance in many African countries, several million Africans will try to reach Europe."

Therefore, it considers agreements with countries such as Turkey or perhaps in the future Egypt to be "inevitable".

The Union "must also be generous with refugees (politicians) who are victims of conflict or repression, asylum seekers must be protected at all costs, in which case solidarity between the Member States is essential," he said.

Laporte regrets the division in the EU and that "many member states are not willing to accept asylum seekers" and believes that "they should be put under more pressure to do so".

On the refugees, Weiss considers "a pity" that the member states have not been able to agree quotas, although he admits that this "would not solve the problem of migration".

According to Laporte, to avoid stalling the populist discourse that considers immigrants as a threat, it is not enough to reiterate that there is no migratory crisis at this moment, but that opportunities must be offered to those Europeans "who feel excluded and not heard. for its politicians. "

"There is an urgent need to offer alternatives to those who feel abandoned (…) or otherwise this could have important consequences in the European elections of May 2019," he warns.

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