Three years ago, the European Union faced the biggest influx of migrants since the Second World War. At the peak of the crisis, the relationships between European states were characterized by unrelievable tension due to the growing uncertainty as to how to handle the refugees. When wars and economic turmoils in the Middle East and Africa pushed millions of people to flee their homes and seek a better life elsewhere, the European Union assumed the role of a savior, providing aid and asylum for those in need.
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However, reaching unity in pursuing the noble goal appeared to be more challenging than expected as some countries actively advocated for more external border control and opposed the idea of taking in refugees. A viable solution would have to alleviate the anxiety of the Southern “transition” states, consider the interests of the Western “destination” countries, and find a compromise with the reluctant Central and Eastern EU members. It is argued that one of the ways to reduce migration is to provide Africa and Turkey with more aid. This paper discusses two perspectives on the said strategy and offers possible solutions.
Many people argue that foreign aid is controversial for development economics, especially in times of trouble. In their opinion, a constant flow of foreign capital creates dependency in emerging countries, enables corruption, and causes currency overvaluation (Easterly 202).
A significant number of European programs have proven to be inefficient as they showed a small positive relationship between official aid and economic growth. Even though such countries as France tend to help former colonies more to compensate for the years of havoc and oppression, they cannot control how the money is distributed and if vulnerable population groups are targeted. Lastly, on those rare occasions when foreign capital is put to good use, increased education level motivates people to entertain migration opportunities, which they often act on.
On the other hand, foreign capital may help developing countries tackle the local issues more efficiently and provide an impetus to independence once the economy is restored. If used adequately, foreign aid may improve the living conditions and encourage people to stay in place or at least remain in transition states. When migration rates peaked in 2015, the European Union incentivized Turkey to keep refugees by repealing some of the visa restrictions and providing the Turkish government with a sizeable payment. The deal resulted in a sharp decline in the number of migrants traveling to Europe in 2015-2016 (European Commission 1). Such successful cases should be considered when weighing on a further provision of foreign aid to the Middle East and Africa.
Both sides of the argument are valid, and one may contend that it is possible to find workable solutions for each of them. It is possible to help war-torn and impoverished countries without resorting to enormous investments with dubious efficiency. Developed countries may aid the recipients outside their borders, and namely, by amending trade policies to benefit the countries in question or controlling the arms trade. Furthermore, well-functioning governments may provide expertise and unbiased advice to the authorities of developing countries.
On the other hand, foreign is not an inherently useless concept. Thorough research and careful project evaluation may help single out the most efficient programs which will be worth the governmental investments. The outcomes of foreign aid in donor countries should be closely monitored, be subject to a debate, and affect future policies.
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Easterly, William. The Tyranny of Experts. Basic Books, 2014.
European Commission. EU-Turkey Statement. Two Years on. 2018. Web.