By Ousman A. Marong
The Chairman of the European Stability Initiative (ESI) Dr. Gerald Knaus has revealed that Gambians might face another massive deportation from Germany as part of a win-win solution under the new European Union (EU) laws.
Speaking Wednesday during a Whatsapp chat with Mamos Media, Dr. Knaus said the EU policy on auto-pilot is to focus on deportations of illegal migrants. He said the Gambian authorities were resisting accepting deportees from Germany. During their meetings in Germany, he said some Gambian MPs made it clear that it was completely unrealistic to expect the Gambian authorities to cooperate in the deportation of thousands of its citizens.
It could be recall that in December last year, Dr. Knaus, during his visit to the Gambia said at a press conference that the Gambia could face punishment on visa restriction or be sanctioned if it failed to cooperate with the new EU laws, which he said will be enacted in February 2021.
He however noted that in no country in Africa was the issue of deportations more politically sensitive than in the Gambia because he said a large a share of the population is directly affected. He said many Gambian ministers and MPs know somebody in their own family who made his way to Europe in the past few years.
While he said the government of the Gambia wrote to the German authorities in February asking them to slow down the number of deportations each month, but that letter was ignored. He said even though the moratorium on deportations was lifted in October 2019, but the Gambia government was still not giving permission for deportations charter flights to land. He said it feared protest and also felt that the EU pressure on the Gambia is unfair.
Dr. Knaus further stated that the EU sanctions could take different forms, one of which he said would be to reduce economic assistance.
“The Gambia is one of the poorest countries in West Africa. Does it make any sense to single it out and punish it for resisting something other West African countries resist as well, only because it is small?” he asked.