Angela Merkel’s Wilkommen Politik has failed, that is if judging from her ratings which have plummeted in recent weeks. But the German chancellor is not fazed, even if she has somewhat changed her stance. Whilst affirming that Germany “cannot close its borders” and there being “no such thing as a stop to the intake”, she has been willing this week to support the expulsion of those not fleeing for their lives, as well as advocating for tighter controls across the Mediterranean.
Declarations that will no doubt warm the heart of Theresa May, the all-powerful UK Home Secretary who has been calling for a crackdown on illegal immigrants by advocating a deterrent approach. On the measure to expand search-and-rescue operations on the Mediterranean Sea, she manifested her disagreement by saying that such operations would create a “pull factor” for migrants who would risk the dangerous sea crossing.
On the heel of those declarations and before the masse of refugees trying to get into Europe in the past weeks, the governments of the European Union came to a decision on Thursday: step up deportations of illegal immigrants and create an EU border force.
One is left bewildered as to how this approach will work, especially as those seeking to enter Europe are from Syria, Afghanistan, Irak, Eritrea; countries in the throes of political instability. There is also talk to put pressure on African and other poor nations to take back their citizens. The pressures will include aid budgets, trade deals and visa arrangements.
What kind of trade deals? It remains to be seen, because as it stands, every price of raw materials produced by African countries is fixed by the international market with no regard to the working conditions of the Africans who produce those materials.
Then, there is the well-known fact that aid doesn’t aid Africa. According to the health poverty Africa report, the continent loses $35.3 billion annually through tax evasion and financial deals enabled by tax havens, which, surprise, surprise, are linked to the G8 and the European Union.
So while the migrant crisis might be a true conundrum with no easy solution, achieving the deportation of some 470 000 failed asylum seekers to Africa will do no dent in the masses of people at its borders. The European leaders might do well to start being truly honest with their relationship with the countries the migrants hail from instead of pushing for knee-jerk reactions with the sole aim of keeping their ratings up.