They will arrive nevertheless...

800 migrants perished on the night between Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 of April. They had left from Libya and were heading towards Italy. The death toll of deaths has risen to 15oo since the beginning of this year. That is 30 times more than the whole previous year. In just one week Italian authorities have rescued 11 000 people, which is simply 10% of all those who arrived last year, the journalist Bernard Renaud reports on French television (April 20). An extraordinary European summit is scheduled for the 23 of April to discuss the crisis of migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean. The European Union has promised to look into new possibilities to prevent disasters at sea or to stem the flow of illegal immigrants. But is there really any hope that the root cause will be dealt with?

Italie : nouvelle vague de migrantsIf I had been called upon in the preparations of the summit of European heads of state, I would propose to include two specific texts in the meeting documents.

The first one would be «E.P.A. = Economic Pauperisation Agreement ». How can one possibly continue to pursue a head in the sand policy, while migration and Boko Haram have made it clear that the solution lies in real development for the population of West Africa? The European Parliament is to ratify the Economic Partnership Agreement – EPA on July 15th this year. Will this ultimate disaster make it clear to its members that ratification of such a document would be a serious political mistake.

To read the full text of the document referred to above, click here

The second document, They will arrive nevertheless was our newsletter 180 produced on April 5th 2006 by our colleague Jacques Lacour (See below).

They will arrive nevertheless...

accaparement des terres 1 0« At the present time, stemming the continuous flow of economic refugees gathering at the frontiers of the European Union, seems to be high on your agenda. Many of the refugees are black Africans.

It has long been well known that the pressure is strong. Thousands of dead bodies already line the roads through the desert, where outdated trucks have collapsed. Bodies lie in the depths of the Strait of Gibraltar, where makeshift passenger boats have sunk. Bodies are strewn along the highways of Europe, because someone forgot to air the storage tank or container space in which the refugees have had to travel.

However, when one route is barred, another soon opens up … and this will be the case for a long time to come!

You may well lease the humiliating charter flights for the “repatriation” of refugees to their fatherland – a measure which deeply scars the soul and the memory of hospitable Africans, who were called upon, not so long ago, to help defend your fatherland.
You may well add a third row of fences to the Ceuta and Melilla centres (what are we doing there still?) or tear down the refugee camp at Sangate (FR).
You may well organise forced returns under the floodlights of TV cameras.
That might reassure your ill-informed public opinion at home, but it will not stop the arrival of more refugees.

They will arrive nevertheless because the Government of France and other European states never sincerely wanted to enable West African farming communities (80% of the population) to live from their work on the land. You refuse to buy their products at a decent price, which would allow them to stay in their own country. You refuse to invest in small-scale agriculture, which is the only way to ensure that populations can continue to live in their country of origin. You have consistently preferred to distribute aid, which uproots structural patterns, when it is too late and when the weakest already have died. You prefer to administer “last aid” and bring in your unsold stocks at high transport costs, instead of creating a framework which would enable African farmers to develop their own production and stocks. You destabilise their markets with artificial pseudo world market prices, which you manipulate as it suits you (through subsidies or dumping). And to the world you then announce the great novelty:

Ultraliberal Trade = Development

But we can see each and every day that this recipe only makes the rich richer and the poor poorer.

They will arrive nevertheless because your colleagues in charge of Development have too often reduced development to budget contributions or occasional loans, only to favour corrupt recipient governments of lawless states, where the racket permanently rules over the weakest. There is little hope for the young to find a motivation for their future in such an environment. They all want to go to Europe, and they will.

They will arrive nevertheless because even if they leave their rural villages for the city, they will find insufficient infrastructure, no jobs, no consideration and no prospect for their future. The scarce employment available is already in the hands of a minority, which keeps a tight reign on all opportunities for itself. What remains? Only the “Road to adventure” with its glossy appeal to their young eyes (as broadcast by TV 5). They dream of Europe.

They will arrive nevertheless because in the end you will need them

- in agriculture (for vegetables, fruit and early season products), given that the large supermarkets push prices down and therefore do not pay normal wages to those who grow and harvest;

- on construction sites, because sub-contractors of the large companies in the building trade and public works will not pay their manpower regular wages either, although they generate important profits;

- in the general population, because it will be necessary to fill the gap left, when the big generation of baby boomers withdraws into retirement.

* When the European Community realises that the world needs all its farmers;
* When the EC decides that it is right and fair for Africa to protect its emerging production, in agriculture and other sectors, in order to achieve food sovereignty;
* When the EC actually opens its markets to products from Sub-Saharan Africa, so that it finally becomes solvent;
* When the EC abstains from imposing its Economic Partnership Agreements ( in reality free trade agreements), which will ruin whatever is left of local production and which will impoverish African states yet a little more;
* When the EC stops supporting African dictatorial “democracies”;

THEN, Mr Ministers, and then only, the pressure might ease up a bit at your borders.

Good Luck! »

Jacques LACOUR,
Koudougou, April 6, 2006


Koudougou, April 20, 2015
Maurice Oudet
Director and Editor SEDELAN

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