African Migration: A Death Warrant for Europe?

The migrant flow into Europe from Turkey has dramatically plunged thanks to a March 2016 accord between EU and Ankara to halt the refugee influx of 3.3 million(m) waiting in Turkey to cross into Europe. However, the pressure on Europe is enduring as up to 6.6m people are lingering in countries around the Mediterranean, including more than 2.5m in North Africa in the hope of crossing into Europe.[1] What’s worse is, as the migration tragedy is exacerbated due to chaos in Libya and other ineradicable conditions in Africa such as oppressive regimes, deadly conflicts, harsh economic situation and extreme poverty, European states have run out of endurance strength day by day and have become much more relentless toward migration flows. In addition to economic downfall, systemic crisis and irrepressible unemployment rates, Europe now fears that if it is not handled in all its aspect, African migration could be their death warrant in the offing.

In late June 2017, Italy drew attention to this crisis by threatening to close its ports to migrant rescue boats in order to force the vessels to berth in other Mediterranean countries and asserted that; “The whole of Italy has mobilized to deal with the flows of migrants in the central Mediterranean and asks the European Union (EU) for engagement, which is necessary if Europe wants to stay faithful to its principles, own history and own civilization”.[2] After this wake-up call; France, Germany and the EU grasped the nettle and pledged they would give more support to Italy in handling the influx of migrants. Italy justifiably responded that; “they are under enormous pressure” to such an extent that since 2014 more than 500 thousand(t) migrants have arrived at Italian ports and since the beginning of this year, over 83t people have landed in Italy by sea. Furthermore, there are much more migrants waiting especially across the south coast of Mediterranean Sea, numbered 1m only in Libya, another 1m in Egypt, 430t in Algeria, 160t in Tunisia, and 50t in Morocco.

Europe has continued to stew in their juice due to policies dating not only to the colonial period but also to the contemporary world. Europe has exploited Africa’s wealth in natural resources and instituted, “divide and rule policy” and now can’t even cope with this situation on their own. EU is on the verge of havoc due to the economic-political crisis, and migration flows are a death blow. After the shock wave of Brexit, Europe now encounters Trump’s cut back in humanitarian aid to Africa. Accordingly, The Trump’s budget offer in the 2018 fiscal year proposes cutting humanitarian aid to Africa to $5.2 billion from $8 billion and refers to spend more money on military affairs in Africa.[3] This also tenders a question mark in the minds, that Europe’s fate is sketched with US wreckful policy at the same time. European countries, which are economically and politically weak, lack the will to unite and form a united fist. However, the worst is yet to come, and they have to either consolidate and equally share responsibility or bow to the inevitable fate.

To sort this complication, Europe should implement the following policies:

  • Germany; Europe’s economic giant and big brother, should exemplify other states by constituting new immigration laws that allocate and provide better shelter to a larger number of migrants within the borders and foresee the creation of jobs and improved living conditions.
  • In this context, Germany should encourage European states and set conditions to regulate the law above in exchange for economic aid.
  • Europe should establish “de-escalation zones” for refugees and take a joint plan of action regarding giving shelter, providing security and taking other necessary measures.

Italy is accentuating the migration crisis by remarking that; “Europe has to stay faithful to its history and own civilisation” and points out their fears will eventually teeter on the brink of chaos. Europe postulates that open-door policy would cause a total catastrophe. Thus, Europe has intensified its harsh stance towards African migrants. So, it seems that there is “no way out” for migrant other than death, but no sooner than Europe itself.


[1] “Up to 6.6m migrants waiting to cross to Europe from Africa: report”, Telegraph, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/05/23/66m-migrants-waiting-cross-europe-africa-report/, 06.07.2017.

[2] “Migration to Italy Up 20 Percent This Year”, VOA News, https://www.voanews.com/a/migration-to-italy-up-twenty-percent-this-year/3927264.html, 06.07.2017.

[3] “White House Pushes Military Might Over Humanitarian Aid in Africa”, Nytimes, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/25/world/africa/white-house-pushes-military-might-over-humanitarian-aid-in-africa.html, 06.07.2017.