Just a week ago, European Union and African leaders closed their migration summit in Malta. In light of the subsequent events in Paris, the gathering is already all but forgotten. That is not surprising, because it was a display of utter impotence, writes Prince Michael of Liechtenstein.
The immigration crisis – which is much broader in scope than the war in Syria and northern Iraq – is blowing up in predictable fashion after being ignored for years. That EU politicians have been caught unprepared by this storm, long forecast by GIS and others, reveals tremendous incompetence, myopia and cowardice.
Geographically, Europe comprises a small fraction of Afro-Eurasia, the earth’s largest land mass. There are few natural borders between Europe, Asia and Africa. Humans have been traversing the Mediterranean Sea for millennia. Far from being an obstacle, it provides an easily navigable thoroughfare between Southern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.
Economically, Europe is strong. Politically and in security matters, it is weak. Its population is ageing and shrinking. These conditions siphon young people from the war-torn, famine-stricken and destitute regions nearby. Within the next decades, millions more are likely to come, mostly from Africa.
The discussions in Malta were useless. The Europeans asserted that Africa needs to improve its internal conditions, take measures to restrict emigration and accept deportees from Europe. The Africans demanded more money and pointed out that their economies depend heavily on remittances from the diaspora in Europe.
None of this is new, nor were the results. European governments proposed more development aid. As in the past, the funds will certainly be wasted. Money can support projects, but it cannot devise and execute them. Some Africans even see development funding as a curse that creates dependency.
Throwing money at development without thinking through solutions to the underlying problems is an old European custom. Why should European governments, after having long neglected an issue, suddenly rediscover their courage and vision?
What they are proposing is an easy way out – made easier because European governments can now borrow at little or no cost thanks to the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing programme. Will money fix the problem? Of course not. But governments in Europe and Africa apparently believe they can borrow time.
These misguided ‘solutions’ will have predictable results: a huge, permanent wave of immigrants will continue to wash into Europe and the funds paid to African countries will be thrown away. Perhaps Europe can afford to waste the money, since the euro’s value is eroding anyway due to the irresponsible policies of its governments and central banks.
Africa will lose many of its best and brightest young people, but red tape will prevent them from obtaining productive employment in Europe. Nevertheless, the shower of euros will benefit some of Africa’s governments in the short term, as they use the cash to strengthen their grip on power without being forced to make the changes their countries so desperately require. It is a lose-lose situation.
Ironically, Europe’s irresponsibility may ultimately solve the migration issue. Over-regulation and excessive government spending have the capacity to wreck the eurozone’s economy. Cheap ECB money is eroding Europeans’ savings. The resulting economic cataclysm could finally discourage immigration.
However, that would only deepen Europe’s demographic vacuum. There are simply not enough young people to keep the continent’s economies growing and pay for its growing armies of pensioners.
As GIS has predicted repeatedly, large-scale immigration to Europe is unavoidable. The task now is to integrate the immigrants into the labour system after screening them for potential security threats.
Deregulation would be the first, most important step – it creates growth and enables immigrants to transfer remittances back home to their families. This money will find better use in Africa than all of the millions of euros that European governments blindly heave at 'development.'