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Refugees Flooding the EU: Just the Beginning

by John Brian Shannon | June 09, 2015

Q: Why are hundreds of thousands of people fleeing North Africa?
A: Because of the Western inspired, aided, and abetted, Arab Spring (failure)

Hundreds of thousands of economic migrants from North Africa make the perilous Mediterranean crossing to Europe each year, with thousands dying in the process. Image courtesy of historiana eu

Hundreds of thousands of economic migrants from North Africa make the perilous Mediterranean crossing to Europe each year, with thousands dying in the process. Image courtesy of historiana.eu

The ‘Arab Spring’ was supposed to depose dictators or very nominally democratic regimes in North Africa, and replace them with forward-thinking democratic leaders and democratic societies.

Which sounds great on paper doesn’t it? Especially in the proposal stages one could be forgiven for backing such a plan.

Good intentions towards the north African nations simply weren’t followed-up by EU leaders in the aftermath of the Arab Spring — and that is why hundreds of thousands of economic refugees are landing in Europe now.

I’d expect *millions* more, if conditions in the failed Arab Spring nations don’t improve — even though hundreds have died at sea to date — thousands more still make the crossing every day. It says a lot about the living conditions that these people are leaving behind.

Prior to the Arab Spring, relatively small numbers of people risked everything to cross the Mediterranean.

As the West was the main cheerleader lending military aid and action against north African dictators, and lent moral and financial support to promote overthrowing north African dictators — the West bears responsibility for the situation which is now playing out.

Some call it an *unfolding crisis* and one that looks likely to get much worse every decade. While others call it *poetic justice* the sort that mediocre post-Arab Spring policy is responsible for.

Instead of the EU devising policies to deal with the ever-growing symptoms, it’s time to quickly transform EU policy in the region to a proactive one where there is no need for millions of north Africans to leave their countries for the EU.

See: A Lifeline for European Solidarity (Project Syndicate)

If you don’t think *millions* of people might migrate to the EU as economic refugees, take a look at Egypt’s present population (84 million) which is about the same as Germany’s present population at 82 million.

But in 2050 the population of Egypt will be 121 million people, while Germany’s population in 2050 will be 72 million.

If bad economic conditions in the former Arab Spring nations don’t soon improve, it won’t only be millions of Egyptians flooding the EU, it will also be millions of other north Africans too!

It’s time to take a serious look at creating stable and nominally democratic governments in north Africa (and that’s only half of the equation, obviously) combined with huge employment growth in a region where youth unemployment surpasses 50 percent.

Breeding grounds for future terrorists, much?

Something that could be done quickly but isn’t being done to solve several growing problems at once — is to install millions of solar panels and tens of thousands of wind turbines in the north African nations to power southern Europe.

We have the technology to run undersea power cables (this is done in many regions in the world) and solar and wind power is now at parity with fossil fuel power generation (assuming the subsidy levels are the same)

Creating hundreds of projects across the Arab Spring countries would stimulate those economies, lower youth unemployment, lower the lure of extremist ideology for poor and unemployed youth in that region, and work to reduce migration to the EU from north African nations.

Perhaps by orders of magnitude.

Trying to design policy to deal with ever-growing symptoms is a fool’s errand, while designing policy to solve many of the underlying north African and related EU problems is the obvious path.

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