Berlin – ESI in the Bundestag: The Gambia as a model for migration cooperation with Africa

9 August 2019
MP Thorsten Frei and Gerald Knaus. Photo: Thorsten Frei
MP Thorsten Frei and Gerald Knaus. Photo: Thorsten Frei

ESI's Gerald Knaus was invited to the German Bundestag to discuss with MP Thorsten Frei, deputy chairman of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group and an influential voice in the debate about migration.

The question of how to manage irregular migration to the European Union remains largely unresolved. With the interests of its 27 member states varying significantly, finding common ground has proved difficult. Mediterranean countries such as Greece, Italy, and Spain are, find it difficult to accommodate large numbers of arrivals but actually take in few people, as most of them travel onwards to Northern and Western Europe. The result is an undue burden on countries like Germany and France.

To address this deadlock, Gerald presented ESI's research, focusing on the migration situation in West Africa, in particular from The Gambia. The goal is to forge effective migration agreements with African countries that benefit both sides. Gerald outlined the potential for creating development projects in The Gambia, providing training opportunities for Gambians already in Germany, and opening legal migration routes. In return, from a cut-off date, The Gambia would need to accept any asylum seekers who commit crimes, work to prevent illegal migration, verify identities, issue replacement passports, and educate their population about migration risks.

Thorsten Frei found these ideas appealing, especially as the German state of Baden-Württemberg, his constituency, is home to most Gambians who've come to Germany since 2015.