Libmonster ID: U.S.-1458
Author(s) of the publication: A. A. TKACHENKO
Educational Institution \ Organization: Institute of Africa, Russian Academy of Sciences

Keywords: North Africa, Middle East, European Union, external migration, armed conflicts, Arab Spring

Migration abroad for economic (labor) and political reasons since the second half of the 20th century, especially since the 1970s, has become not only an important phenomenon in the social life of the countries of North Africa and the Middle East, but also a phenomenon of global impact - in the economy, in political circles, in the international expert community, in the world Mass media.

The political upheavals of 2010-2015 in a vast and geopolitically important region of the world resulted in a sharp increase in external, mostly illegal, migration, which caused an acute crisis in the European Union and in international relations in general. Between 2002 and 2010, the number of illegal migrants arriving in Europe from Africa each year was estimated at 20,000. In 2014, it increased more than eight-fold, reaching 169 thousand, while the total number of migrants accepted by EU countries in January-August 2015 exceeded 600 thousand, which is 3 times more than in the same period of 2014.1

"ARAB MIGRATION": INCREASED DYNAMICS AND CHANGING MODELS

In 2013, there were 243 million external migrants in the world. From 7-8 to 10-12 million, or about 4-5% of the Arab East's population, were abroad, of which 7-8 million were employed in various sectors of the host economy, mainly in the countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Up to 90% of all Arab migrants come from North African countries: the Arab Maghreb and Egypt, which were significantly lower in terms of living standards than most Gulf countries2.

Among the world's diasporas - Chinese, Armenian, Jewish, Polish, Russian, Ukrainian, German, Italian, etc. The Arab (Muslim) diaspora occupies a prominent place in terms of its size. In the late XX-early XXI centuries. it surpassed the size of such a large diaspora as the Armenian (5 million people), although it was inferior to the Chinese (over 30 million) and Jewish (over 13 million). But at the same time, the Arab diaspora is becoming the most dynamically growing of the world's largest diasporas. In the next 1-2 decades, it is likely to become the second largest country in the world, second only to China's 3.

The causes of mass emigration (external migration) of citizens of a number of Arab States, mainly with relatively low or low per capita income, have been in the focus of attention of a large group of States directly affected by strong migration flows for several decades. Its scale and main development trends have created unprecedented political and humanitarian problems.

The problem of migration from the Arab East is not only highly dynamic, but also extremely complex in its content and impact on various aspects of the political, economic and social life of the affected countries, primarily recipient States. This is especially noticeable at critical junctures in the political life of European states, when the topic of external migrants directly affects the results of elections, the possible change of power, and the decision on political leadership.

INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL FACTORS OF EXTERNAL MIGRATION GROWTH

Modern migration abroad from North African countries is based on a complex of economic, political, humanitarian, and social reasons. Considering the factors that marked the beginning of mass migration from North Africa to the industrialized countries of Europe, former colonial metropolises, the Russian scientist-Africanist Yu. V. Potemkin noted: "Mass migration to former metropolises was stimulated... relative weakness of language barriers; processes of decomposition of traditional ways of life and management; ... growing demographic dynamics in the (former)Soviet Union. colonial periphery; development and cheapening of means of transport " 4.

Subsequently, the above-mentioned reasons were supplemented by those that were caused by major socio-economic shifts in recent decades, the growing crisis phenomena in the economy and social sphere in the conditions of independence. The deepening systemic crisis in a number of countries in the region has had a negative impact on employment, living standards and quality of life. The desire of young people - the main age group of the population - to join the latest achievements of world civilization, to get a modern education in prestigious universities of the most developed countries of the world grew.

At the same time, it was getting stronger


The article was prepared within the framework of the Russian Science Foundation project No. 14-18-03615 - "Russian policy in the Middle East: opportunities and limits of cooperation with the countries of the region".

page 31

the role of socio-political reasons. There was a growing awareness of the chronic weakness of democratic institutions, the inferiority and intolerance towards political opponents of the established rigid authoritarian model, which often evolved into an openly dictatorial government. The consequences of escalating ethnic and confessional tensions and conflicts, as well as increased internal political instability due to growing tensions and conflicts between the authorities and the growing opposition, including radical Islamic movements and groups, were increasingly felt.

The internal political situation was further complicated by the ongoing regional conflicts and wars. These trends overlap with the unprecedented intensification of international human movements in the history of human civilization, including powerful tourist flows, business and family trips. The formation of the information society - one of the most important components of globalization-has strengthened the dynamics of socio-political processes, including mass protests.

Along with economic and political factors, social, socio-cultural, demographic, historical and civilizational factors play an important role among the entire range of reasons that have a significant impact on migration flows. Especially noticeable is the role of high dynamics of population growth, which affects the labor market. Already in the most recent period (the end of the 20th century - the 2000s), the globalization of economic life, the interpenetration of cultures, but especially the demonstration effect of highly developed countries, whose influence on the states of the region is rapidly increasing, came to the fore.

Table 1

The number of migrants from North Africa in the recipient countries in the second half of the XX-beginning of the XXI centuries. (millions*)

 

The 1980s

Late XX-early XXI centuries.

EU countries

3

3-3,5

Gulf Countries

4,5-5

5

USA, other industrial countries (other than EU countries)

4

4-4,5

Others

approx. 0.5

0,5-1

Total

12-12,5

12,5-14



* Includes family members, including children of migrants born in the recipient country.

Calculated from: Migrations in Africa, Moscow, 1994, pp. 129-130; Migration processes in the countries of Asia and North Africa. Experience of state regulation, Moscow, 2010; World Migration Report. 2000. P. 108, 189, 207-214; http://www.arab.net/Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia.

Table 2

North African unemployment rate (in %)

A country

Share of unemployed according to official data

The share of unemployed according to unofficial data

Assessment of the unemployment situation in the 2000s

Algeria

approx. 10

26-30

consistently very high

Egypt

St. 13

16-19

consistently high

Mauritania

31

30

consistently very high

Morocco

approx. 10

21-25

consistently very high

Sudan

St. 10

St. 20

consistently very high

Tunisia

St. 15

15-16

high, unsteadily declining

Libya

30

25-30

consistently very high



Source: Eurostat, Demographic Statistics: Data 1960-1999. Office for Official Publications of the European Communities. Luxembourg; The Middle East and North Africa. 2000. L., 2000. P. 333; The Middle East and North Africa. 2001. L, 2001. P. 857, 1127, etc.; The Middle East and North Africa. 2013. L., 2013. P. 206, 354-355, 786, 836, 1118; Africa South of the Sahara. 2013. L, 2013. P. 813, 1213; Al-majmua al-ihsaiyyah li duwal al-watan al-arabiyyah. Al-Adat al-Khamis (Collection of statistical data of the Arab States). 1995, N 5, pp. 31-35; World Factbook. 2015. Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia. Economy.

An analysis of the geographical distribution of migration flows from North Africa shows that during the second half of the 20th and early 21st centuries, the vast majority of migrants - up to 90-95% of their total number-went to industrialized countries and rich oil-producing Gulf monarchies, as well as to Libya, which migrants considered as the most convenient, to a considerable extent because of geo-

page 32

graphic proximity, an intermediate "platform" on the way to a prosperous Europe. An idea of this is provided by the distribution of the number of North African migrants by country and region (see Table 1).

International statistics indicate a persistent trend, which continues to this day, in the distribution of migrant flows in favor of countries with a high level of per capita income. The latter is 2-3 times higher than the corresponding figure in North Africa, as was the case in Libya before the fall of Gaddafi's regime, or 5-10 times or more in the industrialized countries and Gulf countries. The salary of highly qualified specialists in North Africa is 4 times less than the European average. Payment for unskilled labor at home, especially in the provincial "hinterland", is often minimal.5

Of course, with such a large gap in per capita income levels, as well as with the deepening of this gap, despite the increased dynamics of per capita income growth in North African countries in the 2000s, incentives to emigrate in search of high earnings not only remain, but even increase.

Table 3

The main factors of labor migration from North Africa in the second half of the XX-beginning of the XXI centuries.

 

Algeria

Egypt

Libya

Morocco

Sudan

Tunisia

1. High level of remuneration in the host country

***

***

***

***

***

***

2. High unemployment rate

***

**

***

***

*

**

3. High demographic growth

**

**

*

**

*

*

4. Underdeveloped social security system, housing crisis

**

**

*

**

**

**

5. Possibility of obtaining a professional education

*

*

*

*

*

**

6. Globalization of economic processes

*

*

*

*

*

*

7. Political instability

*-**

*

***

*

**

*

8. Promotion of migration by the State

**

**

*

**

*

*

9. Development of interstate relations within the framework of integration unions

*-**

*.**

 

*-**

*

*-**



* - relatively weak influence;

* - **- relatively weak influence, but with an upward trend;

** - moderate impact;

*** - a high degree of influence of this factor.

См. также: Guilmoto C.Sandron F. La dynamique interne des reseaux migratoires dans les pays en developement. Population. P., 2000, N 1. P. 105-136.

This is indicated by a significant, if not huge, difference in the level of earnings at home and in emigration. In the more than 6 decades since independence, a large group of countries in North Africa and the Middle East have not satisfactorily addressed the problems of mass unemployment and the formation of a reliable system for the protection of social and political rights.

The figures describing the scale of unemployment, a key indicator of social disadvantage, are impressive: for the least developed countries, some of which are affected by internal political upheavals and armed regional conflicts, they range from 10-15% to 20% or more (see Table 2).

For comparison, in one of the poorest Arab countries, Yemen (per capita annual income in 2014 - approx. $3.9 thousand), the unemployment rate was estimated at 27% in 2014, and in Saudi Arabia (per capita annual income in 2014 - $52.8 thousand) - 11.2% 6.

The huge wage gap serves as a powerful incentive for external migration and, obviously, appears to be the leading, main factor of labor migration. According to the degree of influence, the group of main factors motivating external migration can be ranked, as indicated in Table 3.

The impact of market-based economic reforms, political liberalization that began in the last decade of the twentieth century, and recent changes in the demographic situation and labor markets of North African States on the pace and scale of migration is considerable. But in the 2000s, political factors came to the fore among the main factors of external migration.

POLITICAL FACTORS PREVAIL

In 2011-2012, there was a rapid collapse of a number of authori-

page 33

customs regimes in the countries of North Africa and the Middle East. Large-scale political upheavals were the result of their long rule - for 3-4 decades. Fallen regimes have created not only unprecedented political upheavals and armed conflicts, but also bloody civil wars. The most difficult result of their rule is disorientation of society, political vacuum, devalued important elements, structures and pillars of the political system, state power. The attempt to prevent the country from sliding into a humanitarian catastrophe with the help of "humanitarian intervention" in Libya did not bring the expected results. The burden of problems accumulated over decades of authoritarian rule was so great that it is not necessary to wait for their "one-step" solution either in countries that were subjected to external intervention (Libya), or where there was no such intervention (Tunisia, Egypt, etc.). All this gave rise to anarchy, the state ship was " rudderless and sails." Social ills and economic problems that have not been solved in previous decades have become even more acute.

One of the consequences of the chain of political upheavals is a sharp increase in external, mainly illegal, migration from the most disadvantaged countries in the region. In addition, illegal migration from sub-Saharan Africa has increased through North Africa. It is worth recalling that the population of the Black continent currently amounts to more than 1.1 billion people, of which the Arab countries account for about 210 million. Of these, the so-called social bottom is from 10 to 20%, and in some countries-up to 40% of residents (living on $ 1-2 a day).7. This is the potential of the flow of migrants seeking a better life abroad. And not all of them are educated and qualified employees. The political crisis experienced by a number of countries in the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) has become one of the main reasons for the mass forced migration of huge masses of the population, primarily in countries most affected by conflicts and civil war, such as Iraq, Libya and Syria. Part of the international expert community considers external military intervention as the main or one of the main factors that gave rise to a humanitarian catastrophe in these States. One can argue with this, but it is certain that political means of solving problems not only take a certain amount of time to achieve the desired result, but are often ineffective.

The main flows of migrants are to Europe and the Gulf countries. The Migration Initiatives 2015 report notes that migrants from these countries put their lives at risk in a variety of ways, from humiliation, various forms of violence to death threats.8

The scale of forced migration is unprecedented in the recent history of the region: millions of refugees - victims of civil war and armed conflicts-have been added to those who migrate for economic reasons. In Syria alone, by mid-2014, more than 6.5 million people had become internally displaced, and at least 3 million more had migrated to neighboring countries. More than half of them are children...

The situation is similar in Iraq, where the number of forced migrants reached 1.6 million in the first 8 months of 2014 alone.9 Libya has become a transit point for illegal migrants from other Arab countries, from Africa, including the Horn of Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, and South Asia. The number of potential migrants who have settled in Libya is huge - according to various estimates, from 1 to 2 million people.10

In Libya, the slave trade occupied a whole historical strip, its revival already in modern times is based on a long historical tradition, when the flow of "live goods" from Africa went to Europe. Even during the rule of Gaddafi, but especially after the fall of his regime, criminal intermediary groups specializing in the transfer of migrants to Europe and other regions of the world are active on the coast of Libya. During the first 8 months of 2014, more than 100 thousand refugees landed on the Italian coast, which is 3 times the number of migrants transferred to Italy for the whole of 2013.11 In September 2014 alone, about 3 thousand migrants died while trying to transport them across the Mediterranean Sea on boats and boats not adapted for this purpose. The situation in Somalia has deteriorated in the same direction since the early 1990s, and a similar picture is unfolding in Yemen.

"WHO IS TO BLAME AND WHAT TO DO?"

Although the economies of industrialized countries and prosperous countries in the Middle East region have a relatively high percentage of migrants who have obtained a job and are more or less satisfactorily settled in everyday life (up to 80% of the total number of legal migrants), according to international experts, the Gulf countries still lack a stable and appropriate system of civilized solutions to the migration problem. State and public institutions and structures, including non-governmental organizations that regulate the social, economic and political rights of migrants, are doing much to address the problems caused by unregulated migration. But the current situation cannot be called satisfactory 12.

Both the main recipient countries from among the industrialized democracies, and the international community as a whole, represented by their authoritative international partners.-

page 34

National and intergovernmental organizations - the UN, its specialized structures and organizations, in particular, the International Labour Organization( ILO), regional organizations - the League of Arab States (LAS), the Council of the Commonwealth of Arab States of the Persian Gulf (GCC) and others-have formed mechanisms that regulate and coordinate key issues related to migrants. This includes monitoring all activities related to their fate, financial and consulting issues, legal protection, etc.

However, while the regulation of labor and legal migration has achieved undeniable positive results in a number of areas, the situation with growing illegal migration is much worse. The most acute problem in this area is the increase in the mass death of illegal migrants, the sharp activation of the "new slave traders" - criminal groups that have bred in North Africa and strengthened their control over the very profitable flow of illegal migration, using it for drug trafficking and other criminal activities. The international community will have to fight this shameful phenomenon uncompromisingly.

IS THERE NO ALTERNATIVE TO FULLY UPDATING THE MIGRATION POLICY?

However, there is no universal solution to the problem of illegal migration. This is clearly indicated by the results of the EU's efforts and, in particular, by the EU leadership's discussion of the current situation and emergency measures that should be implemented to overcome the crisis that has arisen in recent years, which took place at the end of April this year. Individual decisions can mitigate the severity of the problem. Among them - an increase in spending from the EU budget for the payment of benefits to illegal migrants who manage to persuade them to return to their historical homeland, the adoption by EU member states of a consolidated decision on quotas for migrants, increased efforts to combat criminal groups of traffickers in "live goods" and others. But they are limited, and we cannot rule out a new, even more pernicious collapse of the situation.

It is significant that the EU member states could not agree on quotas for the distribution of migrants 13. The proposal of the head of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, to set national quotas for the reception of migrants, focusing on objective indicators of EU member states - the size of GDP, population, unemployment rate, the number of previously accepted migrants - is still "hanging in the air".

The initiative of the European Commission to get permission from the UN Security Council to take military measures is also problematic - against traffickers of" live goods " who have organized network groups on the territory of Libya for the illegal transfer of migrants to Europe, the destruction of watercraft used for this purpose, etc.

Opening representative offices of the European Commission in North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa, which will deal with the recognition of the right of individuals to obtain a visa, as well as the implementation of the so-called "Australian option", can become more realistic and effective. The latter, which put an end to the flow of illegal immigrants into the country, is to provide limited assistance, including financial assistance, to illegal migrants when they are detained, and tow the ship out of Australia.

It is likely that the set of solutions that can be adopted to limit the scope of the problem will be based on individual components of the available options in each country case. However, this will take time and, apparently, considerable.

In countries affected by the growing flows of illegal migration, there are heated discussions in various formats - "who is to blame and what to do" - in order to remove the threatening component of this phenomenon that caught many by surprise. If the international community, experts, and politicians get too involved in finding the culprits, the main thing will be missed-what to do? Namely, urgent measures to regulate illegal migration and combat its criminal part should be focused on "yesterday".

The wave of illegal migration is growing, covering an increasing number of European countries, creating new, more acute problems and multiplying the old ones, which it seems that the politicians of the European Union member states no longer know how to deal with. According to experts, the problem of problems remains the international legal framework regulating migration issues, which blocks the application of tough measures against illegal migrants. The negative approach of a number of European countries to taking on a part of the flow of migrants in accordance with the collectively accepted quota has not yet been overcome. The mechanism of its regulation, including effective measures, has not been developed. Thus, the question of an adequate response to one of the most acute challenges of the XXI century faces a united Europe in full growth.


1 inosmi.ru/Europe/20150503/227824763.html; Laurence P. Why is EU struggling with migrants andasylam? BBC News. 19 August 2015 - www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-24583286.

2 Global Migration: Demographic Aspects and Its Relevance for Development. Technical Paper N 2013/6 // Migration Initiatives 2015. Geneva. P. 115; World Migration Report. 2014. International Organization for Migration. Geneva. 2013.

3 Migrations in Africa, Moscow, 1994, pp. 129-130; Poloskova T. V. Sovremennye diaspory [Modern diasporas]. Vnutripoliticheskie i mezhdunarodnye aspekty [Internal political and International Aspects], Moscow, 1999, pp. 69-125.

4 Potemkin Yu. V. Immigration to Western Europe: lessons for Russia. 2002, N 2. С. 87. (Potyomkin Yu.V. 2002. Immigratsiya v Zapadnuyu Evropu... // Vostok. N 2) (in Russian)

5 Jeune Afrique. N 2203, 30 mars - 5 avril 2003; The Middle East and North Africa. 2013. L., 2013.

6 World Factbook. Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Yemen. Economy. 2015 - http://www.arab.net/Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia.

7 The Middle East and North Africa. 2013. L., 2013. Africa South to the Sahara. 2013. L., 2013.

8 Migration Initiatives 2015. Geneva... P. 116.

9 Ibid. P. 115.

Abramova I. O. 10 Report at the symposium "African Migrations in Global Transformation in the Postcolonial World: Sociocultural Aspects", Moscow, Institute of Africa of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 15.04.2015.

11 Migration Initiatives 2015. Geneva... P. 115-116.

12 Ibidem.

13 www.bbc.co.uk/russian/international/2015/05/150511_europe_plan_migrants_quotas


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