In terms of border surveillance, the European Union provides aid to Africa. But is Europe really helping the continent?
On paper, the Port Security Program is a win-win program: on the one hand, training for customs and law enforcement officers from nine countries in southern Africa and the Indian Ocean; on the other, better guarded borders and therefore fewer arrivals of illegal migrants in Europe. This program is also funded over four years by the European Union. Among the countries concerned, Madagascar in particular, which will be able to have Interpol train, by 2024, 150 Malagasy gendarmes, customs officers and police officers. Important when you know that the Big Island is one of the gateways, with the Comoros, for illegal immigrants to Mayotte and therefore to France.
From Madagascar to Libya, via Morocco, Europe — or its member countries — is trying to help Africa, by finding a balance between its aid policy and its migration policies. But sometimes chase the natural and it comes back at a gallop. Josep Borrell, head of European diplomacy, demonstrated on Monday that only migratory flows mattered to the European Union. “If Tunisia collapses, it risks causing migration flows to the EU and causing instability in the MENA region. We want to avoid this situation”, summed up Borrell before urging the Tunisian president to “sign with the IMF and implement the agreement”.
The worrying trajectory adopted by the EU
Is it the age - 75 years - of Josep Borrell which pushes him to no longer have a filter? In any case, its exit, devoid of any humanism, clearly shows that if Europe helps Africa, it is above all to keep its borders inviolate as best as possible. In a study on the subject, published in early 2020, the NGO Oxfam already deplored this attitude. Through its EU Trust Fund for Africa, Europe once managed to “reconcile migration policies, foreign policy and partnerships for development”. But now, points out the NGO, the Old Continent has adopted “a worrying new trajectory for development aid, more associated with the migration policies of donors, which seek in particular to curb irregular migration”.
For Oxfam, "this risks undermining the ability of development actors to contribute to the reduction of poverty and inequalities". In other words, European aid has immediate effects but remains relatively ineffective in the long term. Above all, Europe and most of its member countries use shameful blackmail against the continent. We remember, recently, the drop in visa quotas issued to Maghreb countries by Paris to protest against cooperation on the return of migrants, or Spanish concessions made in Morocco in exchange for better cooperation in the enclaves of Melilla and Ceuta.
Conditions that resemble blackmail
This blackmail, Oxfam denounces and believes that "the allocation of aid to partner countries should not be conditioned by their cooperation vis-à-vis EU requirements concerning returns, readmission or border management. ". For the NGO, the European Union must rediscover its values today. "If the objective of integrating dialogue on migration issues into foreign policy is legitimate, continues Oxfam, the EU should first and foremost seek to preserve the coherence of its policies for development and ensure that all its actions promote stability, democracy, sustainable development and respect for human rights”.
A year ago, during EU-AU summit, European and African leaders had adopted their "Common Vision for 2030", in which they pledged to "prevent irregular migration", to "strengthen cooperation against migrant smuggling and human trafficking" and to strengthen return and readmission mechanisms, while developing legal pathways and “durable solutions” for refugees. Just before the summit, the European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, went to Dakar and offered to send surveillance equipment - drones and ships - and officers from the European agency Frontex. A very strange conception of the relationship between European migration policy and development aid.