Despite Every Good Intent, The Valletta Summit On Migration Is, Overall, A Failure – By: Jones Nhinson Williams

The miscarriage of the 2015 Valletta Summit in Europe is the glaring failure of the European Union, the European Commission and the leaders of Europe to retrospect and see the key role that the European banking sector, financial institutions that stockpile stolen wealth from African economic criminals and corrupt rulers, play in the entire reckoning of African youth forced migration to Europe as well as in the refugee flow, conflict recycling, and the food insecurity disaster in Africa.  Moreover, the Summit’s delegates were deliberately silent on and failed to forcefully acknowledge the role that tyranny, undemocratic tendencies and the bad governance practices of African leaders play in inducing and nurturing the migration predicament under consideration.  In addition, the unexpected but shocking element from the resolution was the inability of the Summit, mainly the leaders of Europe and the European Union’s representation, to prioritize the establishment and support for a United Nations-back International Tribunal on Public Corruption. These three aforesaid erroneous factors clearly show that, overall, the 2015 Valletta Summit held in Europe is an absolute failure despite every partial good intent.  

This week the European Union, European Commission, the leaders of Europe and their counterparts from the African bloc, represented in total by about 60 head of states and ambassadors from across Europe and the African continent, have demonstrated the desire and potential commitment, through a thorough and detailed framework, to address the root causes of African forced migration to Europe.  This urgency is consequential of the serious and negative economic and insecurity outcomes Europe faces in the wake of global threats and economic instability.

Just by analyzing the 2015 Valletta Summit’s outline so far, we are saddened but relatively pleased to extend our profound appreciation to the European Union, European Commission and the leaders of Europe as well as the working people of Europe whose hard work and taxes will fund the missed-target initiatives in the proposed Action Plan, even though the Summit misses the real consideration.

We want to express our gratitude to the African leaders present at the 2015 Valletta Summit on Migration for finally realizing that widespread corruption, human rights abuses, economic marginalization, social injustices, and the lack of good governance in their respective African countries have become an intimidation to international peace, security and economic stability. I also want to especially thank the President of the European Union Council, Mr. Donald Tusk, for his bold leadership on the issue of African forced migration to Europe, particularly his policy interest in addressing the root causes of the movement of people across the Mediterranean.

In a staunch stance that will deal with the issue of migration, mobility and border control of migrants from the African continent to European nations, the recently held 2015 Valletta Summit on Migration in Europe reached a Political Declaration that will be translated into an Action Plan in five principal policy areas. These policy areas are aimed at curving African forced migration across the Mediterranean.  They do not, however, realistically identify the factors that cause and fuel the forced migration nightmare.  The policy areas adopted included but not limited to developing a migration plan that will provide benefits for de-migration (“Migration”), address the ‘root causes’ of irregular migration, forced displacement, legal migration and mobility; address issues of asylum and international protection; fight against and prevent irregular migration, migrant smuggling, human trafficking; facilitate progress on the return arrangement and readmission agreements of African immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers from most European nations.  

To the credit of the Summit’s delegates, they agreed to support conflict resolution and prevention efforts, reconciliation and peace-building initiatives and settlement processes in Africa. They also resolved to integrate migration issues into development and poverty reduction strategies with respect to healthcare, education and employment  in Africa by undertaking a wide range of targeted activities such as stepping up assistance in youth workforce development and training, developing networks between European and African vocational training institutions, financing Small Business Enterprises, and boosting local information technology sectors across the African continent.  We are grateful that our persistence and advocacy have been instrumental in drawing the attention of the Summit to some of these crucial issues put forth in their proposals. However, more needs to be included  in the "package" if real results are to be reached and substantive gains that will benefit not just Europe, but ordinary Africans who, are forced to, risk their lives in crossing the Mediterranean for a better life, security and peace of mind.

The delegates at the Summit, a forum largely necessitated by the security fears and economic burden of the leaders of Europe on one hand and the shameful awakening and/or exposure of African leaders on the other hand, subscribed to an European Union’s position for a pilot project that would facilitate the return of African migrants from Europe back to Africa under the proposed Action Plan which would, in the words of the Summit’s release, “provide comprehensive and developmental packages for safe return and reintegration, whereby a partner country commits to cooperate closely with the EU on return and readmission, notably on identification and travel documentation. The country would receive support for the individual reintegration of its own nationals, visa facilitation and a tailor made package of support, including on other policy areas.”

From the look of things, the resolution of the Summit seems to be all about the safety and security of Europe and not about the African victims of poverty, conflicts and hunger that result from the theft of public funds and widespread corruption by most African leaders and officials who are, regrettably, aided and abetted by European banks (mainly Swiss financial entities) that are accustomed to storing stolen wealth from the continent at will.  The European Union and the leaders of Europe cannot tell poverty-stricken, unemployed and hopeless young people from the Democratic Republic of Congo from crossing the Mediterranean into Europe when Swiss banks stores billions of dollars kept there by former Congolese (Zaire) President Mobuto Sese Sekou; they cannot tell young people from West Africa from rushing into Europe when some European bank keeps stolen wealth for an array of corrupt West African leaders and economic criminals from Sierra Leone, Guinea, Nigeria, Togo, Mali, Ghana, Senegal, Gabon, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Guinea Bissau, The Gambia, Cameroon, Mauritania, Cape Verde, and of course the epicenter of naked corruption, Liberia, where most lawmakers are technically petit and greedy criminals who care more about themselves than their country's future and the people they represent, and where leadership is equivalent to making your family and narrow-minded friends and loyalists super wealthy on the backs of the poor and the entire nation.

While we applaud the European Union, the European Commission and the leaders of Europe for the ‘good-intention’ attempt in appreciating the plight of young African migrants, we are drawn to believe that their consideration is out of some fear and necessity.  Therefore, it is our steadfast position that the 2015 Valletta Summit misses a historic opportunity to solve what is a potential global catastrophic because their perspective on the issue is hypocritical in spotting the real causes of the problem, and their proposed solutions are not bold enough to halting African forced migration to Europe as well as in addressing conditions of refugee flow and food insecurity in Africa.

The central theme that runs through everything that the 2015 Valletta Summit attempted to discuss, analyze and address regarding African forced migration to Europe, the situation of refugee flow and food insecurity in Africa is WIDESPREAD CORRUPTION AND BAD GOVERNANCE in African countries.   Instead of dealing with corruption and bad governance, the Summit shifted its focus to peripheral issues/concerns in the form idealistic programs that will be practically impossible to make a mark because of the evil of corruption and bad governance that are entrenched in the vein of most, if not all, African politicians. One would have expected that the Summit would focused on de-hydrating Africa of Corruption and bad governance practices.   

Fundamentally, almost all of the principles agreed upon at the Summit risk being undermined and/or thwarted by widespread corruption in individual African countries and bad governance by most African leaders, such that nothing realistic will be achieved in time, and we will all boil down to the same problem of seeing many young Africans crossing the Mediterranean at risk.  If the question of addressing widespread corruption and bad governance are out of the equation, the leaders of Europe should be practical and honest to say they are putting in place a mass deportation mechanism targeted at vulnerable African migrants, clear and simple.

From all indications and based on the vague approach adopted by the Summit, it seems that the European Union, the European Commission and the leaders of Europe are in this for a quick fix, one that would compulsorily ship African immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers in Europe back to Africa despite the apparent nature of the grave consequences in doing that.  The Valetta Summit’s so-called Action Plan must be honest, realistic and must go far enough to address the problem rather than provide an ornamental and “feel good” solution that does nothing to address the situation at its core.

About the Author:

Williams is a Catholic educated philosopher and an American trained public policy professional. He was instrumental in restoring Liberia from factional conflicts and corruptible wars to a normal functioning society and democratic governance.  In addition to providing the framework for Liberia’s 2003 -2005 post-war national disarmament process on gratis, he worked behind the scenes in advocating for Liberia’s renewed role in the comity of nations.  Since 2003, he has been aiding African immigrants around the world and working toward solutions that would enable all Liberian refugees throughout Africa and in the West to return home.  He is the first African and only black person to head the Jewish Family Services International Refugee Program, and is an international advocate on forced migration, refugee flow, food insecurity, and the philosophy of governance.  He can be reached at jnw5050@gmail.com

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