Open EU Market Completely to Africa to Stem Migration, German Minister Calls
The European Union should open its market completely to goods from Africa in order to encourage development as well as stem migration from the African continent, Germany’s Development Minister Gerd Müller has insisted.
Müller emphasized especially the need to open the EU’s agricultural market for Africa’s produce.
“Open the market for all African goods,” he told German daily Die Welt in an interview, as cited by DW.
Müller’s call for removing EU barriers to African exports comes against the backdrop of the Union’s struggling with the influx of migrants from the Middle East and Africa.
Germany remains the most affected, and has just achieved its first bilateral migrant return agreement allowing it to return migrants to the member state where they first entered the EU, in this case Spain.
Agricultural products from Africa must be able to enter the EU without tariffs and quotas in order to provide work for millions of people on the continent, Germany’s Development Minister insisted.
In addition to tariffs and quotas, the sale of African agricultural products in Europe is hampered by the EU’s strict sanitary and phytosanitary standards.
The EU presently has separate trade agreements with African countries or regional economic blocs.
Müller also suggested an agreement between the countries of Africa and the EU. Under it, the latter would establish ways in which Africans will be able to come to the EU for legal employment, whereas the African countries will receive migrants who migrated to the EU without preliminary approval.
The German minister noted that while countries such as China, Turkey, and Russia had entered Africa’s market aggressively, only some 1,000 German companies out of 3.5 million were active there.
Müller also called for setting up the position of a new EU Commissioner “on Africa”, that is, to coordinate and boost EU policies towards the African continent.
Müller is a member of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU).
His ideas on opening the EU market to Africa’s agricultural produce have been supported by the Social Democrats (SPD), also part of Merkel’s ruling coalition, and by the German Farmers Association.
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