Opening the EU market to African goods would promote development on the continent and help stem the flow of African migrants illegally entering Europe, Germany’s Development Minister Gerd Muller said on Wednesday.
Agricultural products from Africa must be allowed to enter the EU without tariffs and quotas in order to provide work for millions of people on the continent, Muller said in an interview with Die Welt.
Muller also believes that African countries should take back migrants who have illegally entered the bloc in return for the EU opening its doors to those who come seeking legal employment.
According to Muller, a meager 1,000 out of 3.5 million German companies are currently working in Africa, a vast continent of 1.2 billion people while China, Russia and Turkey are actively entering the African market.
Thumbs-Up From Coalition, Farmers
Muller’s proposal received a quick nod from the Social Democratic Party whose agriculture spokesman Bernd Westphal said that opening the EU's agriculture markets would create many new jobs in Africa and reduce migration.
The German Farmers Association was equally supportive of the prospect of duty- and quota-free agriculture exports from Africa.
The association's general secretary, Bernhard Krusken, insisted, however, that value-added agriculture goods be prioritized because they require more jobs to be produced and create more wealth.