Professor, what do you expect for 2017?
In regards to immigration, the main problems will concern Syria and Africa. Syria is a factory of refugees. Europeans complain of being invaded by the Syrian refugees, who actually are found mostly in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. In the six years of the Syrian conflict, we, as Europeans, did not intervene or we did wrong. And here is the first contradiction: We did not lead the peace efforts, believing that the war of others was not our problem or that the conflict could be isolated. Not making this a priority was at the same time an error and a weakness of the European Union. Now there’s this Russian-Turkish-Iranian agreement, which, however, I do not think will limit the flow of refugees.
Then there is Africa, a continent on the move.
African immigration is partly environmental and partly economic and partly due to instability. The idea to stop them at the border or to settle them in the first host country is insane.
The government focuses on migration deals. Do you agree?
It is a fair policy. I have always been convinced that African leaders act irresponsibly towards their migrants. Have you ever seen an African president come to Lampedusa and bow down in front of the victims? Immigration is an outlet for these countries, because migrants finance part of local economies with remittances.
The results of the investments promised in the African countries will not be seen before one, maybe two generations. Meanwhile, however, there is a claim to halt migrants immediately.
I would be more optimistic. I do not say that the migration compacts are the solution, but we need to enhance cooperation and empower African governments in sensitizing the younger generation. In Africa, they live in a permanent 1968, and young jobless people are an element of instability for governments, for which it is best to send them away. But this is an anti-democratic system, which puts people’s lives at risk. I know the young Africans and I know that the choice of leaving and crossing the desert represents a kind of revolt, because they want to live better than how they live. It is the revolt of the youth. Let’s not forget that there is also a lot of people who are forced to flee. I’m thinking about Nigeria, the Horn of Africa, Somalia. They are fleeing from war. This revolution will not stop in one year, but a European cooperation policy is the right direction. Europe and Africa do not have separate destinies, and Africa’s fate will involve us.