European Union commisioners have announced they plan to halt “illegal migration” to Europe by opening the floodgates and “making it legal” for more Africans to migrate north.
Declaring African migration to be a positive thing for Europe and stressing the beneficial idea of migration of certain groups, a new EU declaration written by unelected comissioners outlines plans to make African migration into Europe a priority leading up to 2030.
“Migration is a priority for all of us here” said EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos, at the recent Fifth Euro-African Ministerial Conference on Migration and Development in Marrakesh. The conference was a part of the Euro-African Ministerial Dialogue on Migration and Development (also known as the Rabat Process.)
The Hungarian government appears to be the only national government that considers whether the citizens it was elected to serve would support the declaration. Other European governments appear to think that asking their electorates what they think about African migration into Europe is irrelevant.
The 2006 Rabat Declaration established that the purpose of the process was to
“offer a … response to the fundamental issue of controlling migratory flows … the management of migration between Africa and Europe must be carried out within the context of a partnership to combat poverty and promote sustainable development and co-development”.
Gatestone Institute reports: In other words, Europe would fund development and anti-poverty measures in Africa, so that Africans would stop looking for a better future in Europe. Almost 60 European and African countries, as well as the European Commission (EC) and the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) are involved in the Rabat Process.
The founding document from 2006 also mentioned, as a brief addendum:
“…this partnership will also address the migratory phenomenon from all points of view deemed relevant by the partner countries, such as making better use of the potential of legal migration and its beneficial effects on the development of countries of origin and host countries”.
It did not take long for the brief addendum on legal migration to take center stage. The Second Euro-African Ministerial Conference on Migration and Development in Paris (2008) decided that “organised labour migration … represents a source of cultural and social enrichment through the human and economic exchanges it generates” and that dialogue should be centered around the following priorities: Organizing legal migration, fighting against illegal migration and focusing on the synergies between migration and development.
“Legal migration…makes it possible for labour markets to work better in destination countries and contributes, through both remittances and the acquisition of professional skills by migrants, to the development of countries of origin. In addition, it can serve as an important deterrent to irregular migration… It is therefore advisable to promote legal migration…according to the needs and capacities of each national economy, without prejudice to other forms of legal migration, including family reunification, while respecting national competences”.
At the Third Euro-African Ministerial Conference on Migration and Development in Dakar (2011), legal migration was described as representing
“...an opportunity for the economic and social development of the countries of origin and destination, and an opportunity for the migrant in terms of human development, and the acquisition of resources and skills… The partners reaffirm their wish to boost the creation of opportunities for legal migration...”
At the fourth Euro-African Ministerial Conference on Migration and Development in Rome in 2014, a fourth “pillar” was added, “promoting international protection”.
At the Fifth and most recent Euro-African Ministerial Conference on Migration and Development, the participants went even further. They declared:
“… the Rabat Process partners recognise the need to encourage and to strengthen the pathways to regular migration… and to promote the mobility of certain categories of travellers (in particular, businessmen and businesswomen, young professionals or researchers) between European and North, West and Central African countries”.
They also decided to “Promote regular migration and mobility, especially of young people and women, between Europe and North, West and Central Africa, and within these regions… Encourage the establishment of exchange networks between vocational training institutes and employment agencies in Europe and Africa, in order to draw full benefit from the skills of young migrants… “.
There are now five priorities of the Rabat Process which are, in the words of EU Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos,
“Address the root causes of irregular migration, better organization of the legal channels of migration and mobility, giving protection to those who need it, fight in a more effective way against the networks of traffickers… improvement of… cooperation in the field of the repatriation of illegal immigrants”.
While the focus on illegal migration remains, the original goal of stopping African citizens from migrating into Europe appears to have been lost entirely. Instead, the declaration pronounces African legal migration to be a positive thing, even stressing as beneficial the idea of migration of certain groups, such as researchers and business people.
No one seems to ask how draining Africa of skilled labor, such as businessmen and researchers, is going to help the continent develop and thus stem the trend of migration?
According to EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos, the recent Euro-African conference was “Excellent… [and] Committed to strengthen our cooperation to address root causes, reduce irregular migration and enhance protection and legal channels. Europe and Africa need each other more than ever”. They have already tried to do that for 12 years. It is unlikely to lead to anything but more migration.
Then again, Avramopoulos does not consider his job to stop migration. “We cannot and will never be able to stop migration“, he wrote in late 2017. “At the end of the day, we all need to be ready to accept migration, mobility and diversity as the new norm and tailor our policies accordingly“.