Fleeing to Europe

Der Standard (via Sign and Sight) looks at the politically charged issue of asylum seekers (refugees) in Europe in this interview with the Portuguese journalist, Paulo Moura on African refugees in Morocco.

Der Standard: In recent years, the EU has let it be known it has plans to create outposts for African refugees in North Africa. Haven’t these outposts existed for a long time now?

Paulo Moura: Yes, as informal camps. In general, the refugees see it as their right to solve the problem as they see fit. What is certain is that they want to come to Europe, and there is nothing that can change their minds. They live to reach Europe. So it wouldn’t be a good idea to set up such camps. The last time I was in one of these “underground camps” in a forest near Ceuta, a refugee leader said that the official outposts wouldn’t change the refugees’ condition one bit. The money would be used for the local people of the country in question. “Official” camps only serve to give Europeans a clear conscience.

Morocco receives financial aid from the EU. What impact does this have? Are institutions in place that supervise this money flow?

The country receives money to solve problems where they occur. But the way this is done is unacceptable. Prison conditions are miserable, and the jails are filled to overflowing. Thousands of people continue to live and die in the forests and deserts, and nothing is done to stop it. And the system of corruption in Morocco pervades every level – from the government to the police to the military. So it’s impossible to exercise control.

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