Jean-Claude Juncker: Migrants ‘need legal ways to come to Europe’“Jean-Claude Juncker” would be a good name for the supervillain in a Die Hard or Mission Impossible sequel, although the often seemingly tired and emotional Eurocrat is not really that formidable.
The European Union must not remain silent in the face of slave markets in Libya, says EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker. Speaking with DW, Juncker reiterated his call for more legal migration routes to the EU.
The 5th EU-Africa Summit is taking place in Abidjan, Ivory Coast this week, where EU and African leaders will take on the thorny issue of migration from Africa to Europe. … Ahead of the summit, DW’s Max Hofmann spoke with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels. …The reason all these poor sub-Saharan Africans came to Libya was that until quite recently, Europeans were assisting them in illegally migrating across the Mediterranean. The solution would seem to be for Europe to make clear that Africans will not be admitted and all those in Libya should go home and to tell their cousins not to try it.
DW: Shouldn’t we rather be finding legal ways for people to migrate to Europe in order to alleviate these problems in Libya?
JCJ: Since 2014, and during the campaign for the European elections, and afterward, too, in my address to the European Parliament, I have always argued in favor of legal migration. I believe that if we don’t offer legal ways of emigrating to Europe, and immigrating within Europe, we will be lost. If those who come — who are, generally speaking, the poor and needy — are no longer able to enter the house of Europe through the front door, they’ll keep making their way in through the back windows. We need to create legal ways to come to Europe, and the Commission has already made suggestions. Europe will clearly need immigration in the coming decades, so we have to provide those who want to come, and are able to come, and whose situation makes it possible for them to come, with legal paths to get to Europe. …
DW: Is fear of migration, as well as fear of populism, proving the death of reason among member states?In Juncker’s defense, the journalist interviewing him seems kind of demented in his fanaticism.
JCJ: The populists themselves are dangerous, but they are far more dangerous when the traditional, classic parties adopt their harmful proposals. If the traditional parties follow the populists, they become populist themselves, which is a phenomenon we are already seeing in some EU countries. No, we should not be afraid of the populists; we should embrace those they are fighting. …
DW: You’ve called for more solidarity with Africa, not just solidarity among Europeans. Is this solidarity more than just financial?
JCJ: Yes, but it’s a solidarity that must touch on all areas of international life. Africa must become aware of the fact that it is already, today, a big international player. Europe must not distance itself from Africa’s universal ambitions. Africa is not a continent that will become part of our history tomorrow. Africa has always been a part of history. Certain Europeans just didn’t see it that way.