As a Liberal and European born in Africa, where I lived one third of my life, the migrant crisis is a painful issue for me and the lack of courage to take action that the EU has shown is quite upsetting.
We all know that political oppression and economical difficulties are the main factors driving thousands of people to flee to Europe. Closing borders, implementing quotas, creating settlement camps are simply not acceptable solutions. We in Europe must be better than this, our liberal values are better than this.
I do not have solutions, just ideas that could possibly help tackling the issue in the short/medium terms and long term and that I would like to see the EU taking at least the time to give some consideration.
- Short/Medium term:
- Lift trade barriers and allow agricultural products from African countries to freely enter the EU. This will most certainly have the opposition from the European farmers, we all know that, but we must start somewhere.
- Create multilateral financing programs at EU/AU level for small-medium African farms and industrial enterprises. Yes, allocate some of the CAP funds to these programs (maybe it is time for European farmers to practise some solidarity with African farmers).
- Put in place loan guarantees to allow European banks to finance programs in Africa.
- Finally, rather than trying to “promote democracy models” in African countries in ways that have been a total flop in the past, link all the above to the respect of the rule of law and Human rights.
- Long term:
Education is the key. An effort has been made by some Countries to promote education in Africa through bilateral agreements. More should be done both locally at the basic levels of education. Africa needs schools and teachers, Europe can and should help.
Creating scholarships to bring to European universities the leaders of tomorrow in Africa. This can work. An example is the program set in place a few years ago by former Portuguese president Jorge Sampaio, to bring students from war-stricken Syria, to attend Portuguese universities.
Can we really aim at a brighter future in Europe while shutting our eyes on what is going on “next door” in Africa?
The opinions on this blog are of the authors themselves and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of ELfR.