German minister proposes opening up EU agricultural market to Africa to reduce migration

Farmers from Ivory Coast work with cocoa beans at a farm in Tiassale town in southern Ivory Coast, 09 January 2018. EPA-EFE/LEGNAN KOULA

German minister proposes opening up EU agricultural market to Africa to reduce migration


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The German development minister Gerd Müller is calling for the opening up of the EU market for agricultural goods to Africa, as a means to reduce migration.

In an interview with Die Welt, the minister called for an end to tariffs and import quotas, although he did not argue against the blocs’ sanitary and phytosanitary standards.

As part of the deal, African countries should take back deported migrants, Müller argued. The development minister is a member of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the conservative Bavarian sister party of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats.

Despite a less pronounced emphasis on the transaction of migrants with market access, the junior centre-left partners of the coalition seem to agree with the proposal. In a statement to Berliner Zeitung on Thursday, the SPD’s agricultural policy spokesperson Bernd Westphal agreed that opening up the EU market could create employment and lift millions of Africans out of poverty.

The German Farmers Association does not oppose the opening up, although products that would be imported from Africa are not produced locally.

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