Not only fences

To contain the migratory flow between geographical areas with a spread of GDP per capita of 40 to 1 (Europe to Africa) is not easy. Even for an institution with accredited professionalism as the “Guardia Civil”. However, to say as some Spanish authority that to reach a Spanish beach is not enter in Spain, seems more an argument for a “Twilight zone” episode that the foundation of a sensible policy.

Faced with dramatic deaths, our society focuses on legal and technical issues, as if the rules have been correctly applied or if it is necessary to change them, or if we have a small enough mesh fences. It is necessary to ask for clear performance protocols and if there aren’t, clarify responsibilities; but where is the responsibility of the European Union Institutions, of which Spain is a member, in front of a migratory flow that Europe has helped to create, that doesn’t care enough and, therefore, remains in the hands of various mafia?.

We are, it seems to me, in front of a deep misunderstanding of the reality. We haven’t assumed our historical responsibility as Europeans nor by the Berlin ‘Congress (1885), in which the European powers awarded themselves Africa, nor by subsequent colonialism that lasting until 1975; either to the post-colonial exploitation and its range of wars (for example, 1998-2003, 5 million deaths on the Great Lakes).

The development aid is the pillar of the migration policy which incorporates better that responsibility. The EU of 28, despite their crisis, it is the first donor in official development aid (55.2 billion in 2012, or 0.43 GDP – totals not just in Africa); but the recipient may be happy if minor administrative costs, consulting and purchase of goods and services in our industries, receive between 20% and 30%* .

Only if we assume a  shared humanity with these deaths that are added to those of Lampedusa and many others unknown, only if we think that they are of our own, we will do what it is necessary to collaborate with the living to stabilize their continent, of which today have to flee. A development aid that prioritizes the interests of the recipient and not, as now, the giving is a way to realize our responsibility. Imagine that we do that, as in the twilight zone, begin to make this possible.


Enric R.Bartlett Castellà
Associate Professor of Public Law
ESADE Law School (Ramon Llull University)

This article was published, in Catalan and Spanish, on Tuesday April 22 2014  in La Vanguardia p21

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