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How can the EU solve the migration crisis? Pt. II of II
In the second half of an interview on the EU crisis, researcher Klaus Bade explains how Europe's business practices contribute to the migration problem.
April 28, 2015
If you missed the first part of the interview with Dr. Klaus Bade, you can read it here.
Allianz Knowledge: Recently, there has been talk of fast-tracking well-educated asylum seekers, at least, to mitigate the pressure of migration. Could you explain this idea?
Klaus Bade: It would possibly operate using a kind of points system: migrants would have to apply from abroad, which they could do online. Decisions would be made on the basis of transparent criteria such as qualifications, work experience and language skills. It could stop many from choosing the illegal and dangerous route to Europe, and lying their way through their applications for asylum.
Refusing to take illegal immigrants would be more legitimate if there were defined legal migration paths. Fuzzy distinctions between economic migrants and asylum seekers would only be acceptable in exceptional cases, otherwise the asylum procedure would become a migration gateway and even more qualified people would try and cross the sea. As well as opening legal migration paths, it would then be even more important to examine the reasons why an individual is seeking asylum.
How can the reasons for fleeing a country be tackled effectively?
Migration pressure can only be relieved in refugees' countries of origin themselves. But many African states are not just witness to civil war and terror attacks forcing citizens to flee: they often play host to an unholy alliance between non-African business interests and corrupt African leaders.
How would this play out in practice?
Donated European clothing arrives on African textile markets, putting pressure on the African textile industry – an industry that was once the source of the industrial revolution in Europe. Cheap European agricultural imports are destroying African farming. And enormous floating fish factories operating off the West African coast have put an end to West African coastal fishing – fish go in below, tins of fish come out at the top. With the exception of South Africa, natural resources – from oil to precious minerals – are usually exploited by non-African corporations. And a lot of good land in Africa is owned by non-African companies, which have set up so-called special economic zones or free production zones with chartered rights to engage in business activities. The indigenous population is often driven away when these zones are established.
Would more development aid be a way to integrate those countries in the global economy?
Let’s take Africa as an example again. All too often it is African elite leaders who sign all these contracts and arm their private armies with development aid money, when it’s not diverted directly to Swiss bank accounts or invested in expensive European real estate. Conventional development aid is a dinosaur anyway. It is estimated that, globally, three times more money is transferred by family members working abroad than is provided by development aid.
The USA is seen as the ultimate destination for migrants. What can Europe learn from North America?
Historically, the two are hardly comparable, because the United States came about as a result of immigration. But there are still some lessons to be learned, for instance with regard to greater initiative on the part of immigrants. In many European welfare states the mechanism of self-selection for immigration has been switched off. The USA also has social protection mechanisms for immigrants, but the old principle is still evident: if you can’t stand on your own two feet financially, you should go back where you came from or move on.
South-south instead of north-south: is there any sign that developing countries will stabilize themselves?
Some are already doing so, such as South Korea and Vietnam. In both cases there’s strong economic growth, in South Korea even an astonishing increase in GDP. But similar conditions for development are not present everywhere. Population movement has existed since time immemorial but not national borders. How do we deal with migration when the trigger is global – climate change, for example? The only answer would be global resettlement programs. But it would make more sense to limit the factors driving climate change instead of reflecting on its migratory consequences.