EU CLAMPDOWN ON IMMIGRATION
Sir, - The EU announced in Seville that it will not use sanctions against countries failing to control emigration. It will, however, offer positive incentives to those cracking down on "people smugglers". Incentive versus no incentive is a sanction in all but name, whatever way one spins it. The sickening fact is the EU will use aid and trade as anti-immigration mechanisms.
At no time in history has the gap between rich and poor been as great as it is today. Twenty per cent of the people on earth share 84 per cent of available wealth. Erecting barriers or leaning on already stressed governments will only increase desperation and play into the hands of people smugglers.
Europe will accept doctors, nurses, teachers and other needed professionals. We speak of the need to tackle Aids/HIV, poverty and underdevelopment while taking hundreds of professionals from developing countries to prop up our own undermanned systems.
The EU and US heavily subsidise their own farmers while at the same time the World Bank/IMF, agents of the G8, force developing countries to abolish all subsidies. Their crops become worthless in the face of cheaper western imports. Self sufficiency in food which has sustained communities for generations is lost and they move off the land, or are moved off by ranching companies growing crops for export.
The developing world is seen as the supplier of cheap and plentiful raw materials and agricultural products to the developed world. Today, thousands of people in southern Africa are in danger of death from starvation. Where do they go?
Debt payments "out" exceed aid payments "in" by 14 to 1. Africa repays $200 million every week . In real terms the loans have been repaid many times over. It is compound interest that maintains the flow of funds from poor to rich. Aid money is often used to repay debt so the money returns from whence it came - the rich world.
This week the G8 leaders are meeting high on a rocky mountain in Kananaskis, Canada. The ring of steel around their Genoa summit did not do their image as leaders of the "Free World" a lot of good. It seems that terrorism, the weak dollar and wobbly economies will dominate their agenda with the poverty divide sidelined once more. If other summits are anything to go by they will opt for well-spun sticking plasters and ignore the haemorrhage in funds and people that would take real effort to tackle.
A long time ago a leader of people came down from a mountain with tablets of stone and a workable plan for humankind. We can dispense with the stone tablets but we really need the message: love your neighbour as you love yourself, subsidise your neighbour as you subsidise yourself, incentivise your neighbour as you incentivise yourself. - Yours, etc.,
MÁIRE KELLY, DUBLIN 5.