The new EU migration pact will likely remain as ineffective as its predecessors. The Dublin Regulation and the Schengen Agreement, both predecessors of the new migration pact, had far-reaching consequences.

The Dublin Regulation, for instance, placed disproportionate burdens on specific countries, such as Malta, Greece and Italy, in determining the EU member State responsible for examining an asylum application. This led to ineffective migration management and compromised free movement, underscoring the urgent need for a new, more effective approach to migration policy.

The EU’s new migration pact, a comprehensive framework aimed at managing migration within the EU and addressing its root causes, was adopted on April 10. However, the pact’s reliance on border control measures, such as the Dublin Regulation, will not effectively deter irregular movement, a critical issue that needs to be urgently addressed.

The ‘hotspot’ approach, implemented in 2015 to manage the influx of migrants by concentrating them in specific areas, was censured for its inefficiency and inhumane conditions, such as overcrowding and lack of basic amenities.

This approach, which aimed to streamline the identification, registration and processing of migrants, often led to long waiting times, inadequate living conditions and a lack of access to legal support, making it ineffective in managing the migration crisis. These examples highlight the urgent need for a more sustainable and effective solution.

It is commendable that almost all the Maltese MEPs abstained when voting in the new migration pact voting. This action reiterated that the MEPs were conversant and comprehended the gravity of addressing this migration nightmare urgently and once and for all.

Policymakers assumed that aid and economic development would spur a decline or eradicate irregular migration but it didn’t. The EU had previously approved approximately $2 billion to curb Sub-Saharan migration. Yet, migrant influxes and challenges in the Mediterranean persisted.

The EU’s collaboration with third countries, such as the former late Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, has only worked for a while. These agreements, aimed at returning migrants to their home countries, were further expanded to Egypt and, obviously, the contentious deal with Tunisia recently, which has faced criticism for its human rights implications. However, there is still no well-defined implementation for returning these migrants safely.

African nations gained independence in the 1960s with a history of continuous corrupt and incompetent leaders. Corruption in Sub-Sahara Africa is a significant factor that must be tackled before any migration policy can work. No number of stricter measures or pushback would deter migrants from moving; instead, it would boost their motivations and curiosities.

The new pact will further restrict migrants’ informational access and legal support, potentially stagnating the policy as previously was the case; the Maltese voice remains crucial to champion this cause, as demonstrated previously (in The Protection of Global Climate for the Present and Future Generations of Mankind, adopted unanimously in the United Nations General Assembly’s plenary meeting on December 6, 1988).

The decades of EU aid agreements and developmental funds in Sub-Sahara Africa must be more effective and cohesive. These efforts have stagnated mainly due to the criminality and corruption embedded in African leadership, often diverting these funds for personal gain.

Corruption in Sub-Sahara Africa is a significant factor that must be tackled before any migration policy can work

This exacerbates the poverty and political instability that drive migration, highlighting the need for systemic change. African leaders, who are often complicit in these issues, must be held accountable for their actions. This change is not just crucial; it must address the root causes of migration and should be a priority for policymakers.

The urgency of this issue cannot be overstated. Every day we delay in addressing corruption is another day that people suffer and are forced to leave their homes for a better life. It’s time for action.

A more effective approach to migration policy would be to advocate and support domestic policies for good governance in the Sub-Saharan regions. Good governance, which includes transparency, accountability and the rule of law, can play a pivotal role in addressing the root causes of migration, such as poverty and political instability.

This approach provides a clear and immediate solution to the migration issue and should be a top priority for policymakers. By promoting good governance, we can create an environment that discourages corruption and supports economic development, reducing the push factors for migration.

This is not just a theoretical concept; it’s a tangible solution that can transform lives and communities, inspiring hope and stability.

This measure would not only discourage migrants from leaving but would reassure the belief that one can actualise a fulfilling life in their countries rather than this dicey migration. According to Alexander Betts (2013), “These individuals are not fleeing state persecution; however, many are fleeing state incompetence”. 

Malta must foster these needed policy changes. That change must start with exposing those corrupt African leaders’ looted resources and assets deposited across Western banks and held accountable for deterrents.

That would pave the way for an effective and sustainable migration policy, and it must start with Nigeria, the most populous nation in Africa. If the EU can get hold of Nigeria, 80 per cent of the problem may have been solved because it will resonate across Sub-Saharan Africa.

This mechanism seems more effective than this new pact, and Malta MEPs must demand this urgent policy change as soon as possible. There are no quick fixes to this predicament and the EU must focus on longer-term projects to address this once and for all.

The potential consequences of not taking immediate action, such as a further surge in irregular migration and the strain on EU resources, should cause grave concern among policymakers.

Chizoba Peter Anizoba has a Master’s degree in international relations and is a naturalised Maltese citizen.

Sign up to our free newsletters

Get the best updates straight to your inbox:
Please select at least one mailing list.

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By subscribing, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing.