EU Ambassador to Nigeria: ‘Ageing’ Europe Needs African Migrants

Joerg Koch/Getty Images

European Union (EU) Ambassador to Nigeria Michel Arrion has reportedly said that Europe’s “ageing population” means the continent needs to open up legal channels for Africans to migrate.

Mr. Arrion, who heads the EU’s delegation to Nigeria, made this claim at the country’s Bureau of Public Service Reforms, according to tweets published by the government agency’s director general, Dr. Joe Abah.

The Ambassador declared that Europe “must support properly-regulated immigration from Africa” after making comments which made mention of his West African host’s astronomic birth rate, Abah said.

Mr. Arrion has made similar statements in the past. In 2015, at a conference on migration policy in Abuja, Mr. Arrion stated that the EU welcomes migration because the continent needs “fresh blood”. According to the ambassador, immigration “enhances the movement of factors of production, particularly labour, especially in Europe”.

He continued: “Migration is good. We [Europe] like migration as long as it is legal. We need migration for various reasons. Movement of factors of production is a good thing and labour moving freely is a very good thing.

“In Europe and in other western countries, we have this specific issue of aging population. So we need fresh blood in our countries.”

Mr. Arrion cautioned against the phenomenon of brain drain, however, noting that “there are more PhD holders from Nigerian origin in Europe or in America than in Nigeria.”

Last summer, the European Commission unveiled plans to massively increase legal migration from Africa with a relaunched ‘Blue Card’ scheme to make Europe “more attractive” to people from the world’s poorest continent.

Last month, the UN-backed International Organisation for Migration’s Europe director said Africans seek a “decent livelihood” — which they are unable to find in their homelands — and so EU nations should provide them with jobs.

Declaring Africans’ desire to move to Europe a “legitimate aspiration”, Eugenio Ambrosi said Europe must open channels allowing them to migrate legally if Brussels wants to cut deaths in the Mediterranean.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.