By Andrew Korybko –
The German Development Minister’s proposal for what essentially amounts to a one-way EU-Africa free trade agreement is an awful idea that would trigger a massive outflow of transnational capital from the bloc, decimate its remaining middle class alongside its medium-sized economies, and accordingly provoke serious tensions between the newly impoverished European natives and the foreign migrants in their countries that they’ll have to more fiercely competing against for jobs.
Sputnik reported earlier today that German Development Minister Gerd Mueller delivered a presumably well-intended but ill-conceived proposal for a one-way EU-Africa free trade agreement in an interview with Die Welt, saying that:
“The European market is effectively blocked. At the same time, European exports to Africa are growing. Therefore, my main message to Brussels is – Open the markets to all African goods … This is the only way the continent can turn into the region of growth … I am sure that the African youth … would not flee [the continent] and would remain in their home countries if there were jobs and prospects for the future.”
The very basis of this proposal rests in the naïve assumption that Africans are fleeing the continent purely for humanitarian reasons stemming from local conflicts and economic underdevelopment, ignoring the fact that many simply want a piece of the EU’s “socialist welfare utopia”.
Germany’s right to raise awareness about the need to do something though, because a prominent UN official warned earlier this year that the failure to deal with these interconnected push factors could lead to half a billion migrants invading the EU under the worst-case scenario.
The author analyzed this at the time in a piece about how “Migrant Crisis 2.0 Might Come From Africa”, which was followed by a related article where a former French Prime Minister basically told a South African crowd that “France Wants The Future To Be Eurasia vs. Eurafrica”.
Long story short, fears about another Migrant Crisis could be abused by the EU elite to advance their interconnected geostrategic and geo-economic interests, the first-mentioned being embodied by military means while the second has to do with linking the bloc to Africa’s Continental Free Trade Area. This recently created superstructure might actually be very problematic for Africa, like the author wrote in a brief analysis a few months ago about how “The AU’s Following The EU, And It’s About To Repeat The Same Mistakes”, but that’s to the cynical advantage of the EU if it leverages it accordingly.
Promulgating the one-sided EU-Africa free trade agreement that Mueller proposed would trigger a massive outflow of transnational capital from the bloc’s medium-sized economies to Africa to the lucrative benefit of corporate shareholders and their allied politicians.
The middle class in those countries would be decimated and the newly impoverished natives there would more fiercely struggle with foreign migrants for the remaining jobs that are available, creating a host of opportunities for extreme right-wing groups to flourish in the aftermath.
The elimination of the EU’s middle class and its middle economies because of the large-scale offshoring that would happen following a one-way free trade agreement with Africa would leave only high and low economies in its wake, thus solidifying the ongoing bifurcation of the bloc into two lopsided halves.
Only Germany, and perhaps maybe France, could survive the long-term socio-economic effects that this would engender, with some of the Central & Eastern European members of the “Three Seas Initiative” possibly breaking off from the bloc while the others submit to Berlin’s neo-imperial conquest.
If Germany was sincere in wanting to help Africa and not exploit this new proposal as another means of further entrenching its control over the continent, then it would lead the way in negotiating the EU’s free trade agreements with regional leaders like Nigeria, Ethiopia, and the East African Community.
These rising powers could serve as intra-African migration magnets that are much easier, safer, and more feasible to reach for average Africans than the EU states on the other side of the Sahara and the Mediterranean Sea.
There’s no silver-bullet solution to the impending Migrant Crisis from Africa, and it’ll probably take a combination of prudent military and economic efforts to indefinitely keep this threat at bay and respond to unforeseen crises as they emerge, but Germany’s proposed approach would do much more harm than good to the average European while failing to address the issue of “freeloading” migrants.
Therefore, the EU-African free trade agreement – in its current, vague form – is an awful idea that’s actually nothing more than a thinly disguised power play by Berlin executed under a humanitarian guise.
Andrew Korybko is an American political analyst based in Moscow. He specializes in the relationship between US strategy in Afro-Eurasia, China’s One Belt One Road global vision of New Silk Road connectivity, and Hybrid Warfare.
DISCLAIMER: The author writes for this publication in a private capacity which is unrepresentative of anyone or any organization except for his own personal views. Nothing written by the author should ever be conflated with the editorial views or official positions of any other media outlet or institution.