A Critical Analysis of the Dimensions of illegal Migration from West Africa to Europe in the Post-Cold War Era
Opitz, Ing. Helmut A
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The study sets out to examine the phenomenon of illegal migration from West Africa to Europe and how the flow can be reduced. It is seen in the context of the historical and political evolution of African societies and the dimensions of illegal migration from West Africa to Europe are analysed. Africa has a long history of the movement of its people, always aimed to restore ecological balance, and for the individuals in search for enough food supply, better shelter, security, welfare and better salaries. The movement patterns of illegal migration in the West and North African regions forced the European Union to implement new policies to reduce the flow of both legal and illegal migrants towards Europe. Especially after more restrictive policies have been introduced in North Africa, the flow of illegal migrants changed to the route towards the Canary Islands. It is pointed out that a change of the migration policy of countries of the European Union is necessary, changing from the concept of "Fortress Europe" to a harmonization of the European policy regarding migration and asylum. Although an attractive tool for European countries to temporarily satisfy the Western societies, building "Fortress Europe" hardly seems a permanent solution. To reduce illegal migration from West Africa to Europe, it is necessary to build up a stronger cooperation between Europe and West Africa. Europe has to introduce measures that the illegal migrants voluntarily return to their country of origin. While there is a broad consensus at the level of conception that the focus of attention should be on fighting poverty and addressing the problems of good governance, disintegrating state structures and barely functioning private economies it is necessary to implement better structures in the West African countries.