La politique migratoire et la démocratie

Publié le 03/07/2018

Renaud Girard, Le Figaro

La fracture qui s’accroît actuellement en Allemagne entre les chrétiens-démocrates et les chrétiens-sociaux de Bavière (partis de centre-droit continûment alliés depuis la création de la République fédérale) pose la question de la décision des politiques migratoires dans les démocraties occidentales. La CSU (Union chrétienne-sociale) reproche à la Chancelière chrétienne-démocrate d’avoir pris seule une décision stratégique, aux conséquences immenses pour l’Allemagne, et accessoirement pour l’Europe. Sous le coup d’une juste émotion, Angela Merkel a déclaré publiquement en 2015 que l’Allemagne offrait chez elle 800000 places de réfugiés, et décidé de mettre les lois allemandes de côté, afin d’ouvrir grand ses frontières. Elle a ainsi mis en branle des millions de miséreux du Moyen-Orient, d’Asie centrale et d’Afrique, pour qui un Etat de droit riche, tempéré, stable, bien organisé, sans violence, offrant logement, nourriture, instruction et soins gratuits aux familles, incarnait un extraordinaire eldorado.

C’est une décision que la Chancelière a prise seule, sans consulter ni ses ministres, ni ses parlementaires, ni ses partenaires de l’Union européenne. Elle n’a pas non plus sollicité ses hauts fonctionnaires, ses universitaires, ses chercheurs – politologues, géopoliticiens, anthropologues, sociologues, spécialistes des religions. Elle ne leur a pas demandé de lui dessiner les conséquences prévisibles de son tournant stratégique, qu’elles fussent politiques, sociales ou internationales. Il est vrai qu’elle croulait sous les fleurs des médias, qui virent en elle la vestale de l’honneur européen. Le Quatrième Pouvoir, à qui il arrive parfois d’avoir la mémoire courte, avait oublié que Mme Merkel avait expliqué, quelques mois auparavant, que le multiculturalisme, cela ne fonctionnait pas en Europe.

De nombreux commentateurs voulurent ajouter des considérations économiques à leurs jugements moraux : l’Allemagne, si faible démographiquement, avait un besoin vital de nouveaux bras pour son industrie. Tout cela est peut-être vrai. Mais n’aurait-il pas fallu consulter le peuple allemand avant de transformer l’Allemagne en société multiculturelle ? La démocratie ne consiste-t-elle pas à interroger les populations sur les choses les plus importantes ? La démocratie ne sert-elle pas à ce que les peuples puissent décider librement de leurs destins ?

En France, la décision d’Etat la plus importante du dernier demi-siècle porte aussi sur la question migratoire. C’est le regroupement familial. Il a changé le visage de la société française. Il est fascinant qu’une décision aussi cruciale ait été prise sans le moindre débat démocratique préalable. Il s’agit d’un décret simple d’avril 1976, signé par Jacques Chirac et contresigné par Paul Dijoud. Cette mesure provoque immédiatement un afflux très important de jeunes personnes en provenance de nos anciennes colonies d’Afrique du nord, à la mesure de la déception que suscitent quinze ans de piètre gestion et de confiscation du pouvoir par les vaillants héros des indépendances. Ce décret Chirac voit son application suspendue pour trois ans par le premier ministre suivant, mais le Conseil d’Etat (institution non élue) annule cette prudente décision de Raymond Barre, expliquant que le regroupement familial faisait dorénavant partie des « principes généraux du droit français ».

En 1977, une aide au retour est instaurée par le Secrétaire d’Etat Stoléru, versée aux immigrés acceptant de rentrer dans leur pays d’origine. En 1980, une loi Bonnet accroit les possibilités d’expulsion et de refoulement des étrangers (un étranger commettant un crime ou un délit est expulsable immédiatement). Mais, à l’été 1981, sans l’avoir explicitement annoncé dans son « programme commun de la gauche », le nouveau gouvernement d’alternance change à 180 degrés de politique : il régularise 130000 étrangers en situation irrégulière, facilite le regroupement familial, supprime la loi Bonnet et l’aide au retour.

Consultés par référendum par le général de Gaulle – qui ne voulait pas d’un Colombey-les-deux-Mosquées -, les Français ont accepté, en 1962, de se séparer de leurs départements d’Algérie, où une insurrection arabe brandissant le drapeau de l’islam avait surgi huit ans auparavant. Cinquante-six ans plus tard, ils voient les titres inquiets de leurs journaux : « 450 islamistes vont être libérés de prison ! ». Ils s’aperçoivent alors qu’on leur a imposé en France une société multiculturelle, sans qu’ils l’aient réellement choisie.

La situation est comparable en Grande-Bretagne, en Allemagne, en Italie, en Hollande, en Belgique, etc. On peut fort bien soutenir que le brassage culturel enrichit les sociétés modernes. Mais, dans une démocratie qui fonctionne, le minimum est que la population soit consultée sur l’ampleur du multiculturalisme qu’elle aura ensuite à gérer.

Migration Deal in Europe Makes No Commitments. Victory Is Declared.

June 29, 2018

By Steven Erlanger,  The New York Times

BRUSSELS — The European Union’s new agreement on migration does not obligate any country to do anything, but it appeared to be enough to save Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and provide a political victory to the new populist government of Italy.

Leaders of the European Union argued, cajoled and debated for nearly 10 hours until dawn on Friday to come up with a set of proposals on how to handle migration, including the idea of establishing secured centers both inside Europe and in North Africa to screen migrants, identify and distribute legitimate refugees, and keep migrants from moving from one country to another.

The leaders were not driven so much by humanitarian concerns — the levels of migration have fallen considerably — as by political necessity. In an important gesture of solidarity, Ms. Merkel’s colleagues gave her the “European answer” to her urgent domestic need — to face down a challenge to her leadership from her fellow conservatives in Bavaria and her own interior minister, Horst Seehofer.

While Mr. Seehofer said little on Friday, senior members of his Christian Social Union suggested that Ms. Merkel had obtained enough to defuse the crisis, at least for now, and preserve her ruling coalition. Hans Michelbach, a senior Bavarian legislator, said that “something moved in the right direction in Europe,” adding that his party wanted to continue to work with Ms. Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union.

Mr. Seehofer had warned that he would defy Ms. Merkel and establish a hard border with Austria unless she struck a deal to stem the flow of migrants into Germany who had registered in other countries.

While Ms. Merkel remains weakened by the dispute, analysts suggested that she was safe for now, and that the clash had damaged Mr. Seehofer in the polls. After the E.U. summit meeting ended on Friday, Ms. Merkel was able to announce that she had separately secured promises from Greece and Spain to take back migrants in Germany who had first been registered in those countries.

“What was very important is that we agreed that migration does not pose a challenge for individual member states, but to Europe as a whole,” she said. “We’re not there yet, but it’s a step in the right direction.”

In an apparent gesture to the Bavarian rebels in her coalition, Ms. Merkel acknowledged that the political crisis at home had been “an incentive to find solutions.”

“She delivered,” said Andrea Römmele, a professor at the Berlin-based Hertie School of Governance. “This is enough for both sides to save face and step away from the brink.”

Mr. Seehofer and his party can argue that they forced Ms. Merkel, and thus Europe as a whole, to grapple with the problem of secondary migration and emphasize that migrants cannot take advantage of border-free travel and choose where they want to live.

Ms. Merkel, who has taken a welcoming stance on migration, was aided strangely enough by the new anti-immigrant government of Italy, which had made the issue a priority for this summit meeting. In a rare, aggressive tactic in the European Council, which operates by consensus, the new Italian prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, said that he would block agreements on all other issues unless Italy was satisfied on migration.

As the long negotiations wore on, Mr. Conte was constantly on the telephone to check language with his deputy prime minister and interior minister, Matteo Salvini, the leader of the far-right, anti-immigration League, who has loudly insisted that Italy had taken in enough migrants and would take no more.

As annoying as other leaders found Mr. Conte’s behavior — President Emmanuel Macron of France scolded him at least once — he succeeded in Italian terms.

Mr. Salvini praised the conclusions on Friday. “I’m satisfied and proud of our government’s results in Brussels,” he said in a statement. “Finally Europe has been forced to discuss an Italian proposal,” he said, citing the outcome as an end to Italian passivity.

“I said it and I’ve done it,” Mr. Salvini said in a radio interview Friday. “To the smugglers and their Italian accomplices, Italy says no!”

But even he noted that nothing certain had come out of the meeting.

“Let’s see the concrete commitments,” Mr. Salvini said.

Italy’s populist Five Star Movement, which shares power with the League, issued a statement to say the European Council had produced “extraordinary results,” and it was now time to “verify on commitments taken by E.U. countries.”

In fact, the document places no commitments on member states, which was important to governments in Central Europe, which have rejected mandatory quotas for migrants. Instead, the agreement emphasizes voluntary steps.

“The agreement was more or less acceptable to all,” President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaite said, “and it’s a success that countries didn’t fall apart, that we were able to find a common denominator.”

Still, no country has leapt to volunteer to set up a screening camp inside its own territory, just as no country in North Africa has volunteered to host one outside Europe. But if carried out, the centers inside Europe will take some of the burden off the countries where migrants crossing the Mediterranean first land — normally Greece, Italy and Spain — while centers outside Europe could reduce the numbers of migrants taking the dangerous sea voyage, often with smugglers, to Europe.

Under current practice, the country where migrants first arrive is responsible for registering them and determining whether they are refugees or not. These so called front-line countries have complained they have borne a disproportionate weight.

Even as the leaders were talking here on Friday, Libya’s Coast Guard said that about 100 migrants were missing at sea, many feared dead after their boat capsized off the Libyan coast.

The agreement also aims to limit the role of nongovernmental agencies that have been transporting migrants from off the Libyan coast, often saving their lives, to Europe, an important “pull factor” in the migration wave. It would require that the agencies not interfere with the Libyan Coast Guard in its efforts to control human smuggling.

Doctors Without Borders, a medical charity that conducts rescue missions in the Mediterranean Sea, reacted bitterly. “The politics of the European governments condemns migrants to the horror of detention in Libya or to drowning,” the group said in a statement on Friday.

But officials of the United Nations refugee agency were more cautious, promising help in setting up screening centers that would preserve the rights of migrants and asylum seekers. Charlie Yaxley, a spokesman for the agency, said it was awaiting a legal analysis of the E.U. agreement, but would welcome greater collaboration on asylum.

He noted that recently, for the fifth year in a row, the “grim milestone” of 1,000 migrant deaths in the Mediterranean was crossed.

Leonard Doyle, a spokesman for the International Organization for Migration, said it was “very pleased at the solidarity and consensus” that emerged from the summit meeting, in particular with the front-line states like Italy.

Charles Michel, the Belgian prime minister, praised the agreement.

“This is a victory against the business model of human smugglers,” Mr. Michel said. “It shows the will — even if there are nuances between us, sometimes even differences between us — to be assembled and united when trying to find responsible European solutions for the challenge of migration, the fight for the freedom of movement of people inside Europe and for the protection of the external borders of Europe.”

Reporting was contributed by Katrin Bennhold and Melissa Eddy from Berlin, Jason Horowitz from Rome, Marc Santora from Warsaw and Milan Schreuer from Brussels.

Washington fait monter la pression sur l’Iran

Publié le 01/07/2018

Virginie Robert, Les Echos

Les Etats-Unis font tout pour tarir les exportations de pétrole iranien. Téhéran se démène pour essayer de préserver ce qu’il peut l’être des sanctions américaines.

L’étau se resserre sur Téhéran alors que les Etats-Unis font tout pour réduire « à zéro » ses ventes de pétrole  -en interdisant à ses alliés d’en acheter après le 4 novembre – et en demandant à l’Arabie saoudite d’augmenter sa production (lire également page XX). A Villepinte samedi, lors d’une manifestation organisée par le Conseil national de la résistance iranien (CNRI) , Rudy Giuliani, avocat et conseil de Donald Trump a déclaré: « Quand les plus grandes puissances économiques arrêtent de faire des affaires avec vous, vous vous écroulez ». Et de prévenir: « Les sanctions ne vont faire qu’augmenter. »

Afin notamment de compenser la chute des exportations iraniennes qui pourrait peser sur les prix en raréfiant l’offre, un tweet triomphal de Donald Trump expliquait samedi   qu’il avait obtenu du roi Salman d’Arabie d’augmenter sa production jusqu’à deux millions de barils jours.

 

 

Une affirmation rapidement tempérée par Riyad et par la Maison Blanche qui a dû publier un communiqué précisant que ‘le roi Salman a soutenu que le royaume disposait de capacités de production inutilisées de deux millions de barils par jour, qu’il utilisera prudemment si et lorsque ce sera nécessaire pour garantir l’équilibre du marché’. Le 22 juin, les membres de l’Opep, dont l’Iran fait partie, sont convenus d’augmenter collectivement leur production d’un million de barils par jour.

Le régime en campagne 

A Téhéran, on tente de faire front. Dimanche, dans un discours retransmis à la télévision, le premier vice-président iranien, Eshagh Jahangiri, a affirmé que « nous serons capable de vendre notre pétrole autant que de besoin ». La veille, lors d’une conférence de presse à Téhéran, le ministre de l’Industrie iranien, Mohammad Shariatmadari avait demandé aux sociétés étrangères implantées en Iran à ne pas céder aux ‘menaces’ de sanctions américaines.

Interrogé spécifiquement sur PSA (qui a dit avoir commencé le processus de suspension de ses joint-ventures) et Renault (qui est prêt à réduire la voilure sans pour autant abandonner ses intérêts), il a assuré que « jusqu’à présent, ils ne nous ont pas dit qu’ils ne continuaient pas » leurs activités en Iran.  Pour le secteur automobile, les sanctions américaines doivent être réinstaurées le 6 août  prochain.  Les émissaires du régime font campagne: la semaine dernière à Paris Gholamhossein Shefeie, président de la chambre de commerce iranienne, expliquait que « la France est une priorité pour nous. Nos deux pays cherchent des solutions, notamment pour les petites et moyennes entreprises ».

Troubles intérieurs

Fragilisé à l’extérieur, le régime l’est de plus en plus à l’intérieur avec une succession de manifestations ou de grèves, comme celle des routiers qui a duré deux semaines. En Iran, depuis les manifestations de janvier, «il n’y a pas eu un moment de répit », assure  Afchine Alavi , porte-parole du CNRI en France. Ce week-end, plusieurs personnes ont été blessés alors des manifestants protestaient contre la pollution de l’eau à Khorramshahr, dans le sud-ouest du pays.  Quelques jours auparavant, le bazar de Téhéran avait été fermé «  c’est exceptionnel, ça a rappelé la fin du règne du shah », observe  Afchine Alavi. La chute de la devise, le manque d’eau potable, le hausse du chômage , tout cela fait que « la population a conclu que la solution n’est pas dans ce régime » appuie-t-il.

Virginie Robert

As Summit Nears, NATO Allies Have One Main Worry: Trump

The New York Times, June 26, 2018

After his angry performance with fellow Group of 7 leaders, allies fear that President Trump will deliver a noisy, divisive NATO summit meeting next month.CreditAl Drago for The New York Times

BRUSSELS — NATO has been preparing for its July summit meeting for a year now, but there is one wild card: President Trump.

Nobody knows which president will show up — the truculent one railing about inadequate military spending by the allies or the boastful one taking credit for recent spending increases.

Either way, NATO members say they fear that all the preparation and the desire to show solidarity in the face of a new Russian threat will be overshadowed, if not undone, by a divisive encounter followed by Mr. Trump’s prospective summit meeting with the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin.

The European allies are deeply worried that they will confront the Trump who was on display at the meeting in June in Canada of the seven major economies, known as the Group of 7, or G-7. Those in the room described him as angry, mocking, wandering and rude, especially to the host, Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, and to Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany.

There, Mr. Trump focused on two of his fixed ideas: the unfairness of trade with European allies and their inadequate level of military spending. He then departed early for Singapore, where he met with and praised the North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un.

The Trump administration regards Western European nations as free-riders on an American-funded, postwar peace that enabled them to build lavish social benefit systems because they spent so little on defending themselves. He has also made clear that he thinks the European Union, as a trading bloc, has taken advantage of American generosity.

European and some American officials say they dread the same pattern — a noisy, divisive NATO summit, damaging deterrence, followed by a chummy meeting with a dictator, in this case Mr. Putin, whose long-term goals are to destabilize the European Union, undermine NATO and restore Russian influence over Eastern Europe, the Baltic States and the Balkans.

Whatever the organization has prepared, “the only real deliverable for NATO summits is solidarity and cohesion,” said Douglas Lute, a former American general and ambassador to the organization. “But that is at risk because the odds are that Trump will deliver a G-7 performance. And I fear that we will come out of this summit with symbols of division.”

R. Nicholas Burns, a former NATO ambassador and career diplomat who served both Republican and Democratic administrations, asked: “Which Trump will show up?”

The headline for the summit meeting, he said, “should be about NATO’s containment of Russia in Eastern Europe, but Trump might blow it all up for Putin.” If Mr. Trump “arrives pushing dialogue with Russia with no clear deliverables from Moscow in return, it will make a mess in NATO.”

Even senior American officials said they had no clarity on Mr. Trump’s intentions for this meeting. They have told senior European officials that a lot will depend on Mr. Trump’s mood as he arrives and what is being highlighted on his favorite American news media outlets such as Fox News. And no one expects him to sit quietly through nearly two days of normally mind-numbing speeches by at least 28 other leaders.

For its two-day meeting on July 11 and 12 in its new headquarters (which Mr. Trump has disparaged), NATO has prepared significant steps to enhance deterrence against Russia.

 

The two-day meeting will be in Brussels at NATO’s new headquarters building, which Mr. Trump has already criticized.CreditStephanie Lecocq/EPA, via Shutterstock

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has built support for a plan to fill the gap between the small “spearhead” forces now deployed in Poland and the Baltic States and what would be a slow reinforcement of troops. His plan, known as “30-30-30-30,” would require NATO to assemble a fighting force of 30 land battalions, 30 aircraft squadrons and 30 warships within 30 days.

Who would deploy those forces is still to be decided, but NATO is also planning to sign off on a revised command structure, including two new commands, one devoted to troop mobility and one to maritime security. There will be agreement on an enhanced NATO training mission in Iraq and on putting more effort into cyber warfare and counterterrorism.

But if there is a repeat of the Group of 7 haranguing, with public criticism of the allies, the Europeans will be caught, one NATO official said, between smiling as they are attacked or choosing to challenge Mr. Trump, which they know will almost surely go badly and make them the target of his next Twitter blast.

Julianne Smith, director of the Trans-Atlantic Security Program at the Center for a New American Security, said that “European officials are thinking about how to respond, about what it costs them politically at home and what it costs them bilaterally, with Washington.”

The Europeans are also anxious about the fate of Mr. Mattis, who is an outspoken supporter of the NATO alliance and an aggressive stance toward Russia.

With John Bolton as national security adviser and Mike Pompeo as secretary of state, Mr. Trump has rejected the defense secretary’s advice on North Korea and on preserving the Iran nuclear deal.

At the Group of 7 meeting, Mr. Trump approached some European leaders and asked them for their thoughts on Mr. Mattis, said Ms. Smith, who was deputy national security adviser to Vice President Biden.

“It was awkward for them and might be the kiss of death,” if they praised him, she said, “so they said deliberately that he is being so tough on us on 2 percent defense spending, to try to save the guy.”

Everyone understands that Mr. Trump will want a discussion about “burden-sharing” and the commitment of all NATO allies, made at their Wales summit meeting in 2014, to aspire to spend 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense and 20 percent of military spending on equipment by 2024.

But they worry about how heated, and how public, it might get. Mr. Trump’s past comments suggest that he thinks that there is some NATO treasury to which members owe dues, and that allies are behind on their payments.

In fact, what happens is that each country decides its own military spending. And as the secretary general of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, keeps pointing out, the level of non-American allied military spending has gone up some $87 billion since 2014 and continues to grow.

In a speech last week, the United States assistant secretary of state for European affairs, A. Wess Mitchell, acknowledged progress in military spending, while urging greater efforts.

“Since January of last year, every member of NATO but one has increased defense spending,” he said.

“The number that will spend 2 percent of GDP on defense by 2024 has more than tripled (from five to 18). The number allocating at least 20 percent of their military spending to major equipment purchases has more than doubled (from 14 to 26). And the alliance as a whole has increased military spending by 5.2 percent (or $14.4 billion) — the largest one-year surge in defense spending in a generation.”

Jens Stoltenberg, secretary general of NATO, arriving for a meeting with European ministers on Monday. Their defense spending, he has stressed, has increased and is increasing.CreditJulien Warnand/EPA, via Shutterstock

But there are European concerns that Mr. Trump will try to tie military spending to trade issues at the meeting, especially with Ms. Merkel.

“If Germany needed another wakeup call about Trump, the G-7 was it,” said Daniela Schwarzer, director of the German Council on Foreign Relations. “With potential tariffs on European cars and the NATO summit, the pressure on Germany is growing,” she said.

Berlin is also concerned about potential American sanctions aimed at the Nord Stream II pipeline from Russia to Germany, bypassing Ukraine and Poland, new tariffs on foreign cars, and American secondary sanctions against European companies that might invest in Iran to try to save the Iran nuclear deal.

So there are discussions in Germany and France about how to increase leverage on Washington, a new concept.

“How do we deal with an incalculable if not hostile and problematic partner?” Ms. Schwarzer asked, noting a Twitter message from Mr. Trump that appeared to call for Ms. Merkel’s overthrow.

“We’ve been allies and partners, but now with Trump we are competitors, and he is implementing policies aimed against Europe,” she added. That made it harder for politicians to sell increased military spending, she said, because it would look like giving in to Mr. Trump.

Mr. Trump’s apparent admiration for Mr. Putin is also raising concerns, said François Heisbourg, president of the International Institute for Strategic Studies and a French defense analyst.

Mr. Trump “may act on his instincts and try to do a bilateral deal with strongman Putin and sacrifice NATO interests — he might lift sanctions on Crimea, cancel military exercises or withdraw American troops from the Baltics,” Mr. Heisbourg said. “We saw it with Kim Jong-un.”

There is also concern that because Mr. Putin objects to any new NATO member, Mr. Trump may try to block an invitation for the newly named Republic of North Macedonia.

Ian Lesser, director of the German Marshall Fund and a former American diplomat, said that “meeting Putin in the wake of a symbolic and successful NATO summit is one thing, but a meeting against the backdrop of a summit that goes badly is quite another.”

Burden-sharing was important, Mr. Lesser said, “but it’s wrong to suggest that the U.S. has no interest of its own in European security, as if it were some charitable gift. We’re stakeholders in European security, with our own interests and reasons to spend money,” he said, especially in the light of Russia’s efforts to destabilize Western democracies and NATO.

As ever, plans are for a long final communiqué, essentially drafted, about the accomplishments of the meeting. But given Mr. Trump’s angry, last-minute withdrawal of his approval of the Group of 7 final communiqué, because he did not like Mr. Trudeau’s closing news conference, some think that NATO would be safer not having a final statement.

“The irony is that this should be a good NATO summit, with consequential improvements of deterrence,” said Tomas Valasek, a former Slovak ambassador to NATO who now runs Carnegie Europe. “But with the memories of the G-7 fresh, the headlines will be all about the leaders and the mood of Donald Trump.”

L’Europe fracturée par l’immigration illégale

FigaroVox, 25 juin 2018

Il n’y a pas, en ce début de troisième millénaire, de sujet géopolitique plus important que l’explosion démographique en Afrique.

Au moment des indépendances, dans les années 1960, le continent africain comptait 250 millions d’êtres humains. Aujourd’hui, en 2018, la population africaine a atteint 1,25 milliard d’êtres humains. Et on prévoit qu’elle doublera d’ici 2050. A une ou deux exceptions près, les administrations des pays africains sont submergées par cette croissance exponentielle de leur population. Ni la production agricole, ni les infrastructures, ni l’urbanisation, ni la scolarisation, ni la création d’emplois durables pour la jeunesse, n’arrivent à suivre.

Quand bien même jugerait-on possible pratiquement de relever un tel défi démographique, que manquerait sur place la gouvernance étatique. Soixante ans de coopération technique européenne en territoires africains indépendants n’ont pas réussi à y greffer le concept pourtant élémentaire de planning familial. « Si nous ne réduisons pas la taille de nos familles, notre pays continuera à souffrir de la pauvreté parce que les ressources disponibles ne pourront plus couvrir nos besoins », a reconnu Jonathan Goodluck, ancien président (2010-2015) du Nigéria. C’est de ce pays aux richesses naturelles fabuleuses, mais mal gérées et mal partagées depuis l’indépendance en 1960, que proviennent aujourd’hui le plus grand nombre de ces jeunes immigrants illégaux qui essaient par tous les moyens d’atteindre les rivages du nord de la Méditerranée. Le Nigéria comptait 34 millions d’habitants en 1960. Il en compte aujourd’hui presque 200 millions.

L’Europe se retrouve seule à devoir gérer le problème planétaire qu’est l’explosion démographique du Continent noir. Politiquement, l’Amérique et la Chine s’intéressent peu à l’Afrique, et seulement du point de vue de l’exploitation de ses richesses naturelles. L’Europe se retrouve donc en première ligne. Elle fonctionne comme un aimant à l’égard de la jeunesse africaine. On assiste à un début de déversement de la jeunesse africaine vers un prétendu eldorado européen, et ce pour quatre raisons : la proximité géographique ; l’existence en Afrique du nord de réseaux de trafiquants d’êtres humains bien organisés ; la porosité des frontières physiques européennes ; la générosité des systèmes sociaux des pays membres de l’Union européenne. Par exemple, la France représente 1% de la population mondiale, 4% de la production de richesse mondiale, 15% des dépenses sociales mondiales. Peu de pays comme la France offrent à ses habitants les plus pauvres un revenu minimum garanti, l’instruction secondaire et supérieure gratuite, les colonies de vacances gratuites, les soins médicaux gratuits, ainsi que la prise en charge d’une partie des frais de logement. En Chine, pays qui se dit pourtant toujours communiste, tous ces services sont payants.

Le meilleur moyen de s’installer en Europe pour un immigré illégal est de se faire passer pour un réfugié politique et d’invoquer le droit d’asile. Celui-ci a été forgé par les Français de 1789 pour accueillir les étrangers persécutés dans leurs pays pour avoir défendu les idéaux de la Révolution française. On assiste aujourd’hui à un détournement massif du droit d’asile, car l’écrasante majorité des réfugiés sont des réfugiés économiques. Une fois qu’il a mis le pied sur le sol européen, le migrant sait qu’il pourra y rester à loisir, car les reconduites forcées vers l’Afrique sont statistiquement rares.

Il est évident que les pays européens n’ont plus les moyens économiques, sociaux et politiques d’accueillir toute la misère du monde. Il est tout aussi évident qu’il n’y a aujourd’hui aucune solution miracle, tant sont complexes les problèmes humanitaires et juridiques soulevés par les migrations sauvages. Après l’échec du mini-sommet préparatoire du 24 juin 2018, le sommet européen du 28 juin promet d’être tendu.

Peu familiers de l’Afrique, et n’y ayant jamais eu de colonies, les pays d’Europe de l’est refusent que l’Allemagne et la France leur imposent des quotas de migrants. Ils estiment que les sociétés multiculturelles sont un échec. Ils s’étaient déjà rebellés en 2015, lorsqu’ils n’avaient accepté du Levant que des réfugiés chrétiens, faisant observer que le christianisme disparaissait en Orient, alors que l’islam progressait en Occident.

Cela n’aurait aucun sens, ni juridique, ni politique, d’infliger une punition aux pays du Groupe de Visegrad (Pologne, Tchéquie, Slovaquie, Hongrie). Quand ils ont rejoint l’UE (Union européenne), ils ne se sont jamais engagés, ni à obéir à Paris et à Berlin, ni à recevoir chez eux sans visas des populations africaines ou moyen-orientales. En revanche, en raison de l’urgence de la question migratoire, il est tout à fait légitime que la France et l’Allemagne, pays contributeurs nets, veuillent y concentrer les moyens financiers du budget européen. Il est clair que financer la construction d’autoroutes en Pologne ne constitue plus une priorité pour l’Europe. L’urgence est désormais d’arrêter l’appel d’air européen vers les populations africaines.

Les nouvelles priorités sont limpides : reconstruire un Etat en Libye et aider ses forces armées à combattre les trafiquants d’êtres humains et à sécuriser ses frontières méridionales dans le Fezzan ; déployer, aux côtés de la marine nationale de Libye, et dans ses eaux territoriales, des navires de surveillance européens capables de ramener les naufragés ou les dinghies surchargés d’êtres humains vers leur rivage d’origine. Le littoral libyen était naguère équipé de radars de surveillance que l’UE avait financés. Ils furent détruits par des frappes franco-britanniques durant la guerre de 2011 contre le régime de Kadhafi. La coopération militaire, policière, humanitaire, avec les autres Etats d’Afrique du nord doit évidemment se poursuivre.

En Afrique noire, il faut en même temps accroître l’aide économique de l’UE et la lier à l’instauration d’un planning familial, ainsi qu’à un développement de projets agricoles et énergétiques concrets, capables de nourrir et retenir chez elles les familles africaines.

L’Italie n’en peut plus, qui a vu plus de 700000 migrants illégaux débarquer sur ses côtes depuis 2013. Sa générosité a des limites. Son nouveau ministre de l’Intérieur a prévenu que l’Europe institutionnelle jouait son existence même sur la question migratoire. Venant de la part d’un pays fondateur du Marché commun, c’est un message qu’il faut prendre au sérieux.

Turquie : Et maintenant ?

Figaro Live, 25 juin 2018

Les leçons du scrutin présidentiel et législatif avec Guillaume Perrier, auteur de “Dans la tête de Recep Tayyip Erdogan”, Dorothée Schmid , auteur de “La Turquie en 100 questions” et Alexandre Del Valle, auteur de “La stratégie de l’intimidation”.

Ian Johnson

Pulitzer-Prize winning writer focusing on society, religion, and history. He works out of Beijing, where he also teaches university classes. He has spent nearly twenty years in the greater China region, first as a student in Beijing (1984-1985), and then in Taipei (1986-1988). He later worked as a newspaper correspondent in China (1994-1996) with Baltimore’s The Sun, and with The Wall Street Journal (1997-2001), where he covered macro economics, China’s WTO accession and social issues.

Germany and Italy at Odds on Migration Crisis After Meeting

June 24, 2018

By Steven Erlanger, The New York Times

BRUSSELS — Sixteen European leaders vented their frustrations with failed migration policies on Sunday, with the German and Italian prime ministers trying to move the European Union toward their competing positions before a summit meeting later this week.

Three years after a large influx of migrants and asylum seekers, the vexed issue of migration has become a popular populist issue and threatens to topple the long reign of Europe’s most prominent leader, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany.

In what was billed as a rare “informal meeting” of leaders under the auspices of the European Commission, the new Italian prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, representing his new anti-immigration populist government, presented a plan that would upend the current regulations governing migrants and asylum seekers.

The Italians want to abandon the principle that migrants must be returned for screening to the E.U. country where they first are registered. Instead, Mr. Conte proposed creating “international protection centers” that would screen asylum requests in common countries of transit but that would not obligate the countries of first arrival.

The Italians, Greeks and Spaniards have recently borne the brunt of migrants coming from the Middle East and Africa, even after migrant boat travel to Greece from Turkey has been curtailed through a special deal promoted by the Germans.

But while the number of migrants reaching Europe is far lower than in 2015 and 2016, at the height of the Syrian civil war, the politics of migration have become ever more poisonous, with right-wing and populist governments in Italy, Austria and Central Europe all pressing for better controls, along with surging populist parties like the Alternative for Germany.

Ms. Merkel, whose government is under threat from her putative conservative allies in Bavaria, had pushed for the informal meeting to try to forestall her own interior minister and rival from ordering that all migrants registered elsewhere be turned away from Germany. That would mean a hard border with Austria and could represent a fatal blow to the idea of “border-free travel” within most of the bloc.

Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany speaking with the media at the conclusion of an informal summit on migration at European Union headquarters in Brussels on Sunday.CreditGeert Vanden Wijngaert/Associated Press

Ms. Merkel came here looking for European solutions, even bilateral or temporary ones, to tamp down the challenge to her leadership and to the principle of border-free travel. If she does not find a kind of solution at the European Union summit meeting this Thursday and Friday, her interior minister, Horst Seehofer, has vowed to defy her. (His party, the Bavarian Christian Social Union, faces a strong challenge from the Alternative for Germany in state elections in October.) Some think that could bring down her government and end her 12 years in power.

After hours of discussion here on Sunday, Ms. Merkel emerged speaking of increased “good will” and a good discussion, which would have been impossible given the time constraints of a normal summit meeting. She said that all agreed that countries of “first asylum” should not bear undue burdens, that “all countries should share all the burdens” of migration and that migrants should not be able to decide for themselves where to apply for asylum.

“We all agree that we want to reduce illegal migration, that we want to protect our borders and that we are all responsible for all topics,” Ms. Merkel said. “It cannot be the case that some only deal with primary migration and others only with secondary migration. Everybody is responsible for everything. Wherever possible we want European solutions. Where this is not possible we want bring those who are willing together and find a common framework for action.”

The Italian government in particular has begun to turn away ships containing migrants rescued at sea, forcing them to try to find other countries to land their human cargo. It is currently in a spat with Malta, which is refusing to accept a German ship with 234 rescued migrantsalready turned away from Italy.

Spain’s new prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, urged other states to help Spain deal with the arrival of thousands of migrants from Africa across the Mediterranean Sea. Spain has seen a sharp rise in migrant arrivals. The United Nations says that around 40,000 people have arrived in Europe by sea so far this year, some 16,000 in Italy, 12,000 in Greece and 12,000 in Spain.

“It was a frank discussion in which we saw the things that unite us but also some discrepancies,” Mr. Sánchez said. “It was a good step forward.”

He said that there was an important consensus “on the need to have a European vision, a common response to a European challenge, which is how to manage the migration flow.”

President Emmanuel Macron of France cautioned that Europe must live up to its values, and he has suggested, like Ms. Merkel, solutions by willing countries to make progress now since unanimity among the 28 member states will be difficult. He has also said that he favors punishing member states that do not show solidarity on the migrant issue. With his own position safe, Mr. Macron said that with migration numbers down, “today’s challenge is one of political pressure in certain member states and what we call secondary migration within the European Union.”

Europe would beef up its own border force, he said, and strengthen efforts to work with countries like Libya and Balkan states, through which many migrants travel.

Les migrants ouest-africains «viennent de pays relativement développés»

24/06/2018

Par Laurent Ribadeau Dumas, GEOPOLIS Afrique

Pour le géographe Michel Foucher, «les migrations de l’Afrique vers l’Europe constituent un phénomène irrépressible». Selon lui, il faut parler de «mobilité». Une mobilité qu’il faudrait organiser pour éviter les drames quotidiens en Méditerranée. De plus, observe-t-il, ce sont des pays relativement développés, bien plus que les pays pauvres, qui alimentent l’immigration. Interview.

Dans votre étude, publiée par la fondation Jean-Jaurès, vous faites une différence entre «migration» et «mobilité». Pourquoi? 
Je raisonne en géographe. En l’occurrence, il y a des pays de départ et des pays de destination: il s’agit donc de flux. Des flux que je considère comme irrépressibles, qui doivent être organisés. En France, on est incohérent sur ces sujets, il n’y a pas de discours de vérité. On est pris entre Le Pen et SOS Méditerranée. On n’arrive pas à voir la question dans sa complexité.

C’est-à-dire ?
Il faut savoir d’où viennent les gens, quels sont leurs projets, analyser au cas par cas. Il existe ainsi des flux très anciens. Prenez l’exemple de Mamoudou Gassama, ce jeune Malien qui a sauvé un enfant suspendu dans le vide au 4e étage d’un immeuble parisien. Il vient de Kayes, à l’extrême ouest du Mali, une région où à l’époque coloniale, les Français recrutaient des tirailleurs sénégalais. Aujourd’hui, la tradition se perpétue. Ce sont les chefs de village qui se cotisent pour payer les passeurs.

Il faut partir des réalités: le monde est interconnecté, les jeunes veulent circuler. Ils font des choix. Ils ne partent pas à l’aventure. Ils se dirigent vers les pays européens dont ils parlent la langue: l’Afrique francophone choisit souvent la France, les anglophones comme les Ghanéens et les Nigérians ont tendance à se rendre en Grande-Bretagne. Ils sont alphabétisés et très bien informés. Au Sénégal, par exemple, 70% des familles ont un membre qui a migré à l’étranger. Ces jeunes connaissent le mauvais état du système éducatif dans leur pays et veulent aller dans de meilleures écoles. Si ici on persiste dans une politique de fermeture, ils n’apprendront plus le français. C’est le meilleur moyen de mettre fin à la francophonie!

Un individu qui part est soutenu par son entourage. Il leur envoie ensuite 30% de ce qu’il gagne. Cet argent sert à construire une maison en dur, à préparer son mariage. Dans les grandes villes, les choix sont davantage individuels. Les gens partent souvent seuls, ce qui correspond à un choix d’émancipation. C’est donc en connaissant en détail toutes ces situations qu’on peut construire cette mobilité, qui existe déjà.

Elèves ghanéens à Accra 7 février 2018

Elèves ghanéens à Accra le 7 février 2018 © AFP – ERIC LALMAND / BELGA MAG / BELGA

Selon vous, les Etats les plus pauvres du Sahel (Burkina, Niger, Tchad…) «ne sont pas les principaux points de départ de migrants vers l’Europe. Ce sont «ceux de la région qui ont déjà atteint un certain niveau de développement (Sénégal, Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Ghana) qui font (…) le choix de l’Europe». Est-ce une tendance de fond?
Tout à fait. C’est d’ailleurs ce qu’a rappelé, dans une interview au Monde en date du 13 juin 2018, le nouveau ministre espagnol des Affaires étrangères, Jospeh Borell: «Ceux qui partent ne sont ni les plus pauvres ni les plus faibles», expliquait-il. Il faut savoir que pour migrer, il faut disposer au moins de 2500 euros.

En France, on a le cœur sur la main. Et l’on a tendance à croire que la pauvreté et le sous-développement sont à l’origine des migrations. D’où la priorité donnée aux politiques de développement pour bloquer l’immigration. Mais c’est une illusion! C’est quand on est relativement développé que l’on a les moyens de partir.

Pourtant, votre propos ne correspond pas forcément aux données de l’Office international des migrations. En avril 2018, parmi les nationalités les plus représentées arrivant en Italie, on trouvait ainsi les Erythréens, venus d’un pays très pauvre…
C’est un problème différent. Car l’Erythrée est une dictature avec un service militaire à durée illimitée. Alors que le Sénégal, la Côte d’Ivoire, la Guinée ne sont pas des dictatures.

Concernant l’Afrique de l’Ouest, que faudrait-il faire selon vous?
Comme je le disais, il est indispensable d’organiser les flux et la mobilité avec les pays de départ en mettant de côté la question des réfugiés. C’est le meilleur moyen d’éviter les drames en Méditerranée. Il faut conclure des pactes migratoires d’Etat à Etat avec des systèmes de multi-visas. Ce qui implique que ceux qui partent doivent revenir chez eux. A la différence de la migration: là, on s’installe définitivement à l’endroit où l’on arrive.

Un tel programme pourrait être financé par l’Union européenne mais organisé par les pays de destination, les associations. On doit agir avec les acteurs de terrain: les communes, les maires, les chefs de village. Il existe déjà de très nombreuses micro-expériences. Il est nécessaire de développer ce qui marche déjà. Tout cela coûterait moins cher que les milliards dépensés pour Frontex! Je plaide par exemple pour l’action très pragmatique menée par l’Espagne au Sénégal, qui met de l’argent dans les associations du pays de départ. Une action qui a permis de tarir les flux vers les Canaries.

Drapeaux pays participant au sommet l'UE 23 février 2018

Drapeaux des pays participant au sommet de l’Union européenne le 23 février 2018 à Bruxelles. © AFP – ALEXEY VITVITSKY / SPUTNIK

Mais si l’on veut faire accepter une telle politique aux opinions du Vieux continent, il est indispensable de renforcer sérieusement la dimension sociale de la construction européenne. Notamment en restructurant le Fonds social européen (FSE). Sinon, on risque d’entendre les gens d’ici dire: «Les immigrés, on en fait trop pour eux!» Il faudrait par exemple élargir les problématiques en instituant des programmes genre Erasmus pour les apprentis, les métiers de santé, les professions artistiques, les journalistes…

Il faut impérativement dépolitiser. Expérimenter. Et arrêter de vouloir conclure un accord entre les 28 pays de l’UE!

 

Confronting the Migrant Threat to the EU

More than any other challenge facing Europe today, the ongoing migration crisis has the potential to destroy the European project. Rather than debating European Commission diktats and lamenting member states’ rebelliousness, EU leaders must consider fresh approaches, including third-country disembarkation platforms.

MADRID – The European Union loves giving itself ultimatums, whether it is the two-year deadline for Brexit negotiations or European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s declaration, upon taking office, that his was a “last-chance commission.” Unfortunately, European leaders rarely follow through on their best-laid plans. When it comes to migration, however, they may not have a choice.

The issue has become a sword of Damocles hanging over the EU. It straddles every fault line: between country and community, between security and openness, between national and European identity, between social values and economic or strategic interests. As a result, migration, more than any of the other myriad challenges the EU confronts today, has the potential to destroy the European project.

Of course, the EU has often proved that, when push comes to shove, inertia prevails. But, given the urgency of today’s migration crisis, not even the EU will be able to muddle through. If it tries, the issue will only fester, eating away at the Union’s very foundations. For once, Europe’s leaders have no choice but to put up or shut up.

Make no mistake: Europe’s migration problem is not going away. The decline in asylum applications in 2017 was not, as many believed, an indication that the problem was being overcome. On the contrary, while the migration challenge became apparent to many Europeans only in 2015, when German Chancellor Angela Merkel opened the door to a million desperate asylum seekers, the issue has long plagued southern Europe and is now mutating in dangerous ways.

That change is exemplified by the recent saga of the MS Aquarius. Operated by a Franco-German charity, the Aquarius rescued 630 migrants and refugees off the coast of Libya. On June 9, Italy’s new interior minister and deputy prime minister, Matteo Salvini, rejected the ship’s request to dock in his country and prohibited them from even entering Italian waters. Then Malta, too, turned the refugees away. Finally, after nearly a week, Spain stepped up, allowing the ships to dock in the port of Valencia.

Irregular migrants arrive in Europe every day: as the Aquarius was arriving in Valencia, more than a thousand people were saved just a couple of hundred miles to the south, while trying to cross the Strait of Gibraltar. But a high-profile drama like that of the Aquarius creates political incentives for hardline positions. It is political candy for populists and poison for rational policymaking.

And, indeed, the recriminations that followed Salvini’s move have been unprecedentedly divisive. French President Emmanuel Macron accused Italy’s populist government of “cynicism and irresponsibility.” In Germany, the survival of Merkel’s governing coalition is now in jeopardy, owing to a standoff over migration between her Christian Democratic Union and the CDU’s Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union, led by Horst Seehofer, the interior minister.

There will be more ships like the Aquarius, and Europe cannot afford to confront such a drama every time one appears. The gap between the EU’s rhetoric of solidarity and shared values and its real-world behavior must be closed. Unfortunately, that outcome is far from guaranteed.

So far, the EU’s response to migration has depended on top-down measures and mandates. Such an approach, taken early enough in the crisis (say, in 2013 or 2014) might have been sufficient to guide a common European approach. But excessive foot-dragging and uncertainty – owing not least to German unilateralism – impeded EU-level action, as it enabled migration to become a hot-button issue in domestic politics.

What now? The European Council’s June meeting will focus on migration, but there has been little reason to hope that it will bring meaningful progress. The EU is nowhere near a policy consensus – the political climate does not allow for it.

Rather than debating European Commission diktats and lamenting member states’ rebelliousness, what is really needed is a total reset by EU leaders. Progress has been made on many fronts, including burden-sharing in settling refugees, reforming and strengthening Europe’s border protections and coast guard, concluding agreements with other countries to return migrants, and providing development and governance assistance to address the push factors driving migration. But it is not enough.

There is one more possible solution: the establishment of migrant processing and resettlement centers – “disembarkation platforms” – outside of EU territory. It is a fraught proposal, as it resembles Australia’s problematic approach to immigration, whereby migrants are held – out of sight and largely out of mind, often for years – on nearby Nauru and Papua New Guinea.

But the European Council is now considering just such disembarkation platforms, as well it should be. Europe should not emulate Australia, but the establishment of these types of platforms – with real processing and relocation – in third countries could offer major benefits, not least preventing further dramas like the Aquarius episode.

Disembarkation platforms would enable controlled assessment of which migrants are owed legal protection by the EU, prior to their resettlement in the Union. If migrants know they will not be able to set foot on European soil without first proving that they qualify for asylum, those who do not qualify are less likely to fall victim to smugglers’ claims that they should brave the dangerous journey.

If the EU is to survive the migration crisis, it must work together. Disembarkation platforms in third countries raise legal, ethical, and financial challenges. But they can be overcome. The EU’s future may depend on it.

Migration to Europe Is Slowing, but the Political Issue Is as Toxic as Ever

June 22, 2018

Steven Erlanger, The New York Times

BRUSSELS — European leaders have been struggling for the last three years to deal with the problem of migration. Yet the issue is as toxic as ever and the politics have become a prime neuralgic danger to the bloc, bringing populists to power most recently in Italy and Austria and now threatening the rule of Madame Europe herself, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany.

Under a kind of ultimatum from her Bavarian conservative partners to reduce the flow of migrants coming to Germany after registering in other European Union countries, Ms. Merkel got the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, to call an emergency meeting here on Sunday of the European leaders most affected by migration.

It is a rare occurrence, in that not every European leader will be there. But it is in preparation for a summit meeting of them all next week — a meeting that was supposed to be about eurozone reform and instead will be mostly about migration.

Sunday’s meeting is described as “informal,” and it will not be followed by a statement or news conference, only by questions shouted out by journalists as leaders leave the building sometime Sunday evening.

Ms. Merkel herself downplayed expectations. “The meeting on Sunday is a consultation and working meeting at which there will be no concluding statement,” she told reporters on Friday. “It is an initial exchange with interested member states.”

There will be no easy solutions. The number of migrants may be falling, but Europe remains deeply divided over how to handle migration and refugees, where to put them, how to send unqualified applicants back home and even over how to protect its borders.

Ivan Krastev, a political analyst, has called the 2015 migration crisis Europe’s “Lehman Brothers moment,” a defining event when the existing consensus ruptured, helping produce nationalist populism and cleavages between the countries of Central and Western Europe.

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, and Giuseppe Conti, the Italian prime minister, in Berlin this week.CreditClemens Bilan/EPA, via Shutterstock

Migration was a key issue in the French, Austrian and Italian elections, and in Germany, too, where Ms. Merkel’s initial “welcome” to migrants in 2015 has backfired politically. It badly damaged her power and made her vulnerable to the political ambitions of the Bavarian leader Horst Seehofer, who is also her interior minister and a vital part of her coalition. Mr. Seehofer and his Christian Social Union face a major challenge of their own from the far-right, anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany party in regional elections in the autumn.

The Central Europeans have essentially refused to take migrants or refugees, rejecting the idea of quotas to help reception countries like Greece and Italy. The leaders of the four main countries of Central Europe — Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia — have not even been invited to the Sunday meeting. And it was only with great trouble that Ms. Merkel convinced the new Italian prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, to come after he objected to an early draft of proposals made by the commission.

While the numbers of asylum seekers are way down, the long crisis still threatens one of the European Union’s greatest accomplishments, the “border-free” Schengen zone.

Countries have set up “emergency” border checks within the Schengen zone to block uncontrolled flow of migrants and possible terrorists, but those border controls are unlikely to be lifted. Mr. Seehofer’s desire to stop registered migrants from entering Germany would effectively mean setting up extensive new border controls with Austria, now run by a government in coalition with populists that also has decried uncontrolled migration.

But this is where anti-migrant policy, populism and nationalism create confused and sometimes contradictory positions. The border would antagonize both Austria and the new populist, anti-migrant government in Italy because it would stall migrants in Austria and mean sending back large numbers to Italy, where many migrants first registered. Having taken in some 650,000 boat migrants in the last five years, Rome objects to the idea of asylum seekers having to be returned to the country where they first registered.

Mrs. Merkel also fears that such a border would be copied by other countries within Schengen, effectively destroying it, perhaps forever. That is why she is trying to find a broader European solution, even if a temporary one.

But the tone is hardening generally toward migrants in Europe, with politicians of many stripes demanding better control over the bloc’s external borders, including as many as 10,000 more European border police. Yet no country seems eager to pay more into the European Union budget to cover the costs.

Hubert Védrine, a former French foreign minister and a Socialist, said recently that “populism is a measure of the failure of elites” to understand that “people want to retain an important level of identity, sovereignty and autonomy — and that means controlling migration.” Speaking at a meeting at the Château de Tocqueville, where Alexis de Tocqueville wrote “Democracy in America,” Mr. Védrine warned that if “migratory flows” are not controlled, “our democracy is at risk, and we will have populism or a form of European Trumpism, country by country.”

Ms. Merkel is also working on bilateral agreements with partners like Italy and Greece to reduce the burden on Germany, possibly similar to the deal struck with Turkey two years ago. She will also discuss the issue with Spain’s new prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, on Tuesday in Berlin. Spain displayed a kind of European solidarity when it agreed to accept the more than 600 migrants on a ship, the Aquarius, that the Italians turned away.

Le nouveau chaos mondial

Publié le 22/06/2018

Propos recueillis par Alexis Lacroix dans L’Express

L’ancien ministre Hubert Védrine et l’historien Alexandre Adler échangent sur le nouvel ordre mondial, et ses menaces.

Hubert Védrine, ancien ministre des Affaires étrangères et spécialiste de politique internationale, signe un livre important, Comptes à rebours (Fayard). Face à lui, l’historien Alexandre Adler, auteur, entre autres, de La Chute de l’empire américain, une charge vibrante contre le trumpisme, paru chez Grasset. Ils dessinent à deux voix les lignes de force d’un mêlée mondiale pleine de périls et d’inconnues.

L’EXPRESS.- Pourquoi parlez-vous, dans votre livre, de “comptes-à-rebours”. Ont-ils commencé et, si oui, depuis quand ?

Hubert VEDRINE. En toile de fond de l’actualité qui nous distrait chaque jour, plusieurs comptes-à-rebours inquiétants, dont les tic-tac s’égrènent, se poursuivent. Or, aucun de ces processus globaux n’est automatiquement favorable à ce que nous sommes : des Occidentaux, des Européens, des Français. D’abord, la démographie. La période qui s’annonce est périlleuse : la juxtaposition d’une Europe qui restera stable, dans le meilleur des cas, et d’une Afrique voisine qui va exploser jusqu’à ce qu’elle soit touchée, elle aussi, par la transition démographique. Indissociable du compte-à-rebours démographique, il y a le compte-à-rebours écologique (climat, biodiversité, océans, forêts, etc.). Il est tout simplement impossible que, demain, 10 milliards d’individus arrivent à coexister sur la planète s’ils persistent à pratiquer le mode de vie et de production occidental et prédateur actuel. Enfin, il y a l’incertitude numérique : panacée ou menace supplémentaire ? Il faut se méfier de l’optimisme technologique quand il est trop simpliste. Progrès nombreux, oui, mais le numérique, avec son horizontalité spontanée, et son anarcho-démocratie, peut contrarier la décision publique, verticale, ou tout thromboser. S’il est évidemment très prometteur, le moment Macron ne suffit pas à nous réconforter, car il est particulier.

Hubert Védrine.

Hubert Védrine. afp.com/Lionel Bonaventure

Alexandre ADLER. Vous avez entièrement raison sur ce diagnostic. La question démographique n’est pas séparable des enjeux écologiques, et ceux-ci ne sont pas étanches vis-à-vis de la question du numérique. Toute personne qui n’arrive pas à saisir les interactions entre les trois phénomènes est condamnée à passer à côté de la réalité. De même, en 1947, même de Gaulle escomptait une attaque soviétique et se trompait lourdement. Il aurait dû en rester à son analyse antérieure, selon laquelle il y avait du jeu entre la politique soviétique et la politique américaine, et selon laquelle il y avait encore une marge de manoeuvre pour la France. Les interactions étaient en fait déjà présentes, et les relations occidentalo-soviétiques n’étaient pas figées. Il était possible d’anticiper, sur le plan économique, une évolution en faveur de l’Occident.

H.V.- Mon analyse se concentre en effet sur cette “conjonction” menaçante. Nous sommes défiés par une combinaison potentiellement explosive, au sens chimique du terme, de ces phénomènes. Et pourtant, les élites classiques ont toujours du mal à intégrer l’absolue nécessité d’arrêter le compte-à-rebours écologique ! Quant aux milieux économiques “mondialisateurs”, ils ont trop longtemps cru la géopolitique périmée. Elle est bien là, plus coriace que jamais.

A.A.- Hubert Védrine fait partie des rares esprits qui montrent l’interdépendance de la démographie et de l’écologie, qui sont en train de modifier de manière radicale notre monde. Comment peut-on raisonner sur le prix du pétrole et des matières premières, sans voir la transition énergétique ; un certain nombre de Saoudiens sont plus lucides sur ce point et ont pris acte que la transition écologique a déjà condamné en tendance le prix actuel des hydrocarbures. D’où le caractère, selon eux, indispensable d’investissements productifs en Arabie saoudite même.

H.V.- Oui, ce bouleversement modifiera bientôt le sens même de l’expression “Etat voyou”. Bientôt, l’Etat voyou, ce sera celui qui ne mettant pas une oeuvre une écologisation raisonnable, mettra en péril tous les autres.

Le Moyen Orient est-il l’un des théâtres principaux de ce basculement du monde?

A.A.- Sans aucun doute, à cause de la fin, justement, de l’ère du pétrole. Mais dans le raisonnement d’Hubert, j’intégrerais volontiers la révolution engendrée par une urbanisation massive. Une des voies les plus écologiques pour gérer des ressources rares et pour intégrer le choc démographique que nous allons subir est évidemment l’urbanisation. Le pouvoir des villes est en train de s’affirmer d’une façon inédite à l’échelle de l’Europe. Je vois, par exemple, la façon dont Lyon s’autonomise de Paris en regardant à la fois vers Barcelone et vers Milan. Tout indique notre entrée dans un monde quantique.

Un monde quantique, au sens d’Einstein. C’est-à-dire ?

AA.- Un monde d’incertitude maximale, où il n’y a plus ce paysage stable de sujets attendus. On ne peut plus tabler, par exemple, sur le fait, pour reprendre l’expression consacrée, que “l’Amérique veut”. La caractéristique déroutante d’un monde quantique, c’est que tous les acteurs y sont divisés : ainsi, aujourd’hui, l’Amérique est divisée ; de même, il n’y a pas une, mais deux Russie, et Poutine n’incarne pas la pire ; le Moyen-Orient n’est pas plus uni que l’islam, et j’ajouterais que, s’il existe une exception chinoise – notamment l’ambition de maintenir la solidité de la puissance chinoise -, il existe partout ailleurs une labilité quantique.

H.V.- A raison, Régis Debray écrit que la mondialisation “heureuse” a conduit à la “balkanisation généralisée”. Oui il y a une certaine fragmentation “quantique” des grandes entités, mais ce phénomène touche aussi les entités privées. Voyez les GAFAM : elles détiennent plus de pouvoir que les 3/4 des membres des Nations unies, mais elles entrent dans une zone moins triomphale !

A.A.- Même la mafia s’est atomisée…

H.V.- Quant au Moyen-Orient, ce qui s’y passe confirme malheureusement que le monde en l’absence d’une puissance hégémonique, ne parvient pas à s’ordonner par lui-même. Cela laisse à beaucoup d’acteurs sans scrupules, encouragés par l’impunité du “trumpisme”, la latitude de pousser leurs propres pions. Dans cette région s’entrecroisent, dans une sorte de mêlée généralisée, des conflits classiques entre Etats mais qu’aucun pays (ni l’Egypte, ni la Turquie, ni l’Arabie, ni l’Iran, ni Israël) ne peut gagner complètement, et des entités comme Daesh. Et contrairement à l’époque de Sykes-Picot, les grands de ce monde ne seraient pas davantage en mesure de se mettre d’accord sur une solution, même mauvaise, et de l’imposer…

AA.- Cette “mêlée” est d’autant plus déroutante et irritante pour nous que la France a, dans cette région, un rôle décisif …

HV.- Elle l’a eu longtemps, elle le croit encore un peu, mais ce n’est plus vrai.

AA.- Non, avec les Russes, ce rôle-clé lui revient

Qu’est-ce à dire, exactement, Alexandre Adler ?

AA.- Comme les Russes furent plutôt des vaincus de l’histoire des trente dernière années, nous n’y songeons pas… Et pourtant ! Le père de Hubert Védrine s’est battu pour l’indépendance du Maroc avec un homme extraordinaire que nous admirons tous les deux, et qui était le général Méric. Eh bien, aujourd’hui, le Maroc et l’Algérie sont intensément tournés vers la France, et tous les écrivains algériens qui comptent vivent entre Alger et Paris. En Algérie, la “perestroïka” qui s’annonce avec la disparition de Bouteflika sera française.

Un autre pays est comparable à la France : la Russie, pour qui la sauvegarde de la Syrie est une affaire intérieure. Ainsi, elle est en train de mener une politique pragmatique au Moyen Orient, qui s’avère complètement convergente avec celle de la France, qui, sous l’impulsion de Jean-Yves Le Drian, a consenti de grands sacrifices pour contenir les djihadistes au Sahel. Anglais et Américains ne veulent rien savoir de ce vaste défi géopolitique ; Français et Russes témoignent d’un même souci d’endiguer la destructivité islamiste, ce qui installe une convergence.

H.V.- Nous sommes encore bien loin de cette convergence. Certes, les torts sont partagés, nous avons réveillé par nos erreurs depuis 1992 les pires aspects du système russe, mais cet antagonisme paraît pour le moment sans issue. Même aux pires moments de la guerre froide, à l’époque de menaces beaucoup plus concrètes, de grands dirigeants réalistes avaient osé la détente. Aujourd’hui, nous ne sommes qu’au début du cheminement souhaitable dessiné par Alexandre Adler, si nous y sommes. Mais, peut-être Emmanuel Macron a-t-il parlé de l’avenir avec Poutine ?

Comment tenir l’équilibre entre l’Iran et l’Arabie saoudite, pour une puissance comme la France ?

A.A.- Il n’y a pas d’équilibre à tenir. L’Iran et l’Arabie saoudite sont deux partenaires indispensables pour la France. Mais dans la décision immédiate, le choix d’un camp est indispensable. Et j’approuve tout à fait Jean-Yves Le Drian, qui n’a pas hésité à tirer la barbe des mollahs, et à ce que nous soutenions le cours actuel d’une Arabie saoudite qui se réforme. Mais, à un plus long terme, j’estime que les efforts de Rohani pour réintégrer la communauté internationale doivent être soutenus. Mais nous n’accepterons pas la politique de force en Syrie, dirigée contre l’Occident mais aussi contre la Russie et son influence modératrice ; ne sera pas non plus tolérée la politique d’invasion du dossier yéménite par des ambitions de grandes puissances, de même que le rapprochement irano-turc.

Les Européens ont-ils raison de vivre dans la nostalgie de ce que fut “l’Amérique virgilienne” ?

H.V.- Globalement, quel que soit le sujet, les Européens pèchent par irréalisme. Du coup, face aux dures réalités, ils sont choqués et se réfugient dans les chimères. Cela dit, la chancelière Merkel a déclaré récemment que les Américains étant devenus peu fiables (euphémisme !), il était nécessaire que les Européens s’organisent mieux entre eux. C’est ce que souhaite aussi le Président Macron. Le déclenchement de la guerre commerciale par Trump devrait avoir cet effet. Mais il y a encore du chemin ! Cela dit ce sursaut européen ne passe pas forcément par plus d’intégration au sens classique. Des votes à la majorité, sans veto, dans l’Europe telle qu’elle est, ne conduiraient pas à une Europe-puissance au contraire. C’est un déblocage mental pour une ré-accepation préalable et la notion de puissance qui est nécessaire au préalable.

A.A.- Il nous faut renoncer à toute influence ultérieure avec les Anglais, lesquels ne feront pas retour à l’Europe. Pour l’heure, Macron affiche une position personnelle d’adhésion à la France, et sa première adhésion au parti socialiste s’était d’ailleurs déroulée dans le giron idéologique du chevènementisme. Les objectifs européens qu’il affiche ne sauraient donc en aucun cas s’accompagner d’une minoration des intérêts français. A titre personnel, j’apprécierais qu’il ait plus de souplesse à l’égard d’une opinion allemande elle-même traversée par de nombreux remous. Il a mangé son pain blanc avec Angela Merkel, qui va, je crois, devoir se retirer, ce qui explique les lauriers qu’on lui tresse !

H.V. – Ce qui est très intéressant, chez Emmanuel Macron, c’est la synthèse dynamique en cours entre son européisme philosophique de départ, l’objectif d’une Europe qui doit protéger, et les projets.

Ronnie Chan

Chairman of Hang Lung Group Ltd. and its subsidiary Hang Lung Properties Ltd., both publicly listed in Hong Kong. The Group expanded into mainland China in 1992, developing, owning and managing world-class commercial complexes in key tier one and tier two cities. He founded and chairs the China Heritage Fund, is a co-founding Director of The Forbidden City Cultural Heritage Conservation Foundation, Beijing, and is former Vice President and former Advisor of the China Development Research Foundation in Beijing. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Chairman Emeritus of Asia Society and Chairman of its Hong Kong Center, and founding Chairman of the Centre for Asian Philanthropy and Society. He serves or has served on the governing or advisory bodies of several think tanks and universities, including Peterson Institute for International Economics, World Economic Forum, East-West Center, Pacific Council on International Policy, Eisenhower Fellowships, The Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation, University of Southern California, Indian School of Business, Yale University, Tsinghua University, and Fudan University.

Gilles Carbonnier

Vice-president of the International Committee of the Red Cross since 2018. Professor of development economics at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (Geneva), where he also served as director of studies and president of the Centre for Education and Research in Humanitarian Action. Prior to joining the Graduate Institute, he worked with the ICRC in Iraq, Ethiopia, El Salvador and Sri Lanka (1989–1991), and served as an economic adviser at the ICRC’s headquarters (1999–2006). Between 1992 and 1996, he was in charge of international trade negotiations (GATT/WTO) and development cooperation programmes for the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs.

Ideology of Eastward Turn

21 June 2018

Sergey Karaganov, Russia in Global Affairs

The first phase of Russia’s turn towards rising Asia is gaining momentum – the Far East’s rate of development is twice the national average (this is not enough, though). Dozens of major businesses crop up in the region.

Oddly enough, these changes have highlighted deficiencies nobody would think of before. Eastern Russia’s development has not yet become a common cause for the whole nation, although the dire need for grand projects is more than obvious. The attitude of the locals remains distrustful. Population outflow from the Far Eastern territories has slowed but not stopped. High on the agenda is the need to involve in this process “Russia’s Asians” – residents of the Far East and Siberia, who have for many centuries maintained and tightened cooperation with their neighbors, who know and feel their needs well enough. Also, it is essential to change the attitude to this turn of the Russian public at large, to promote the awareness that it leads the country towards economic, technological and cultural markets of the future.

Russia has received from Europe nearly all it could and for the time being it is unwilling to get more in exchange for even a tiny bit of its sovereignty, which, bearing in mind its history, is a sacrosanct asset. Russia has borrowed much of European social expertise, a wealthier and more comfortable lifestyle it lacked in the lean Soviet years. The degree of personal freedom among Russians is probably higher:  there is certainly far less depressing political correctness.

Also the world around has changed, too. Whereas starting from the 17th century Europe used to be nearly the sole provider of advanced technologies, now their source is quickly drifting to Asia. So does the center of economic activity. While 40 years ago that center was some place in the Atlantic Ocean, west of Ireland, now it is in Turkey, and in ten years from now it will have to be looked for on the border of India and China.

In addition, Russia has apparently reached the limit of its social and public rapprochement with Europe. The Western neighbors find annoying Russia’s unpreparedness to follow the European way and the loss of their profitable and flattering status of a mentor. For its part, Russia by and large is reluctant to import modern European values (for instance, the super-tolerance towards immigrant) because it finds many of them alien, post-European or just disadvantageous. This does not mean Europe is rejected altogether – Russians share the same high  culture. A great deal in Europe, such as its ecological regulations, is still worth borrowing. Europe is a vast and lucrative market. It is a nice place to travel. High technologies are still there. However, access to them amid the current U.S. policy of sanctions is limited.

It is quite possible, though, that 2014 saw not just a stop to the further expansion of Western unions, fraught with a big war, but also an end of the Petrine period in Russian history. Europe will remain a neighbor. Russia is to stay on friendly terms with it wherever possible. But the chances Europe will continue to be a benchmark are slim. Russia’s turn to Europe and its technologies from the 17th and 18th centuries was logical: Asia was far away and sliding into a period of relative decline for several reasons, including colonial expansion by a better armed Europe. These days the situation is changing. Asia is destined to become the most important source of capital and advanced technologies.

Many in Russia are still unaware their country happened to be the midwife of history that facilitated the rise of Asia and other newcomers to the world scene. It was Russia-the Soviet Union that put an end to nearly five hundred years of the West’s military supremacy – the pillar of its economic, political and cultural domination. Nuclear parity, once created and preserved over the years, leaves no chance for anyone to win a big war. That is why the today’s world is freer and more democratic. The Asian countries have obtained an opportunity to capitalize on their competitive advantages. The realization that the days of uncontested supremacy are gone and will never return is probably the main reason for the animosity towards Russia that makes the U.S. and some other Western elites see red.

Some in Russia have begun to argue that its strategic loneliness is inevitable. Meanwhile, the word ‘loneliness’ in Russian does not necessarily have a negative connotation. My inner voice prompts me, we run no risk of getting lonely at all – we will not be left to ourselves. More important is the emerging opportunity to establish (without turning our back on Europe) tight cooperation with Asia. Russia can become the center of a Greater Eurasia partnership, an initiative proposed by Moscow and supported by Beijing, especially as it is 90-percent consonant with China’s One Road-One Belt project.

Problems on the way to building Greater Eurasia will be many.

For the people of Russia’s Far East the turn has not yet become an idea they wholeheartedly share. This proposal came from Moscow, for which the central authorities should be thanked. But it has not yet filled the hearts and minds of Far Easterners, who incidentally are far more inclined to think and act big than the other Russians – with drive and passion crucial for the success of any ambitious pursuit. (Incidentally, the lack of drive for big accomplishments and the famous Russian valor is a flaw of current home policies in general.) The locals’ experience and potential of communicating with China and other neighbors has not been tapped to the full yet.

The Eastward turn is beginning to confront ideological and psychological constraints. Efforts to do away with them should enjoy unflagging attention over years to come.

Another, no less important task on Russia’s way to new Eastern horizons is to bring back the history of Siberia and the Far East – glorious and thrilling in many respects – to the fold of historical self-awareness of the entire Russia. It will be likewise crucial to overcoming the attitude of a certain part of Russia to Siberia and the Far East as something different. Sometimes I am asked why it is worth investing into the Far East first and foremost, and not, say, into European Russia’s northern regions. My reply is this region has been Russian land for the past four to five centuries. There one finds superb wildlife and mammoth resources. Moreover, booming neighbors offer vast development opportunities, incomparable to those available in other regions. The competitive advantages that have emerged there for the first time in the Russia’s history can be used for fast-tracked development. Also, something should be done at last to soothe the Siberians’ wounded pride, for in the 1990s those people were undeservedly abandoned and neglected, and in a far stronger way than the other Russians.

In developing the human capital of Siberia and the Far East, which by and large are better than Russia’s average, it will be not enough to just provide assistance in mastering new technologies. It would be reasonable to create moral incentives, to let the people feel themselves again as trailblazers, as leaders who are steering Russia towards new economic, political and cultural frontiers – this time Eurasian ones. The people of Russian culture are open to other cultures and remain very tolerant towards other faiths. This major competitive advantage will give the advantage   in a new Eurasian megaproject.

Painstaking consistent efforts are required to overcome the eurocentrism of a considerable part of Russian elites – certainly a regressive factor in the modern world. Amid the havoc of the 1990s and the chaotic recovery of the 2000s the Eurocentric sentiment soared, as many Russians of means took their newly-appropriated gains out of the country – to Europe in the first place – and as their compradorian attitudes inevitably gained strength.

Russian society should by no means abdicate from its mostly European culture. But it should certainly stop being afraid, let alone feel ashamed, of its Asianism. It should be remembered that from the standpoint of prevailing social mentality and society’s attitude to the authorities Russia, just as China and many other Asian states, are offspring of Chengiss Khan’s Empire. This is no reason for throwing up hands in despair or for beginning to despise one’s own people, contrary to what many members of intelligencia sometimes do. It should be accepted as a fact of life and used as a strength. The more so, since amid the harsh competitive environment of the modern world the authoritarian type of government – in the context of a market economy and equitable military potentials – is certainly far more effective than modern democracy. This is what our Western partners find so worrisome. Of course, we should bear in mind that authoritarianism – just like democracy – may lead to stagnation and degradation. Russia is certainly confronted with such a risk.

I believe that in several years’ time the whole of Russia will realize that it is no longer an oriental periphery of Europe. We will see that Russia’s road to Asia, to new riches, to power and progress is “our road home.” That having borrowed from Europe its high culture and made it still richer Russia now takes its own civilized niche of a great Eurasian power – an original blend of many civilizations in its own right. (This thought was prompted to me by L.E. Blyakher, a wonderful Russian historian and philosopher in Khabarovsk).

Our knowledge of Europe, especially of its older part, is good enough. But we still know very little about Asia – a continent of rising cultures, civilizations and technologies. We should hurry right away to introduce extensive courses of Asian history and languages to our school curricula and to train specialists in oriental affairs at our universities on the massive scale. In any case, the history of the human race, hitherto written mostly by Europeans, will undergo revision in a couple of decades. Glittering Byzantium, which the successors of crusaders tend to portray as an embodiment of intrigues and ineffectiveness, will appear in its true disguise: that of a marvelous civilization that has preserved and developed European culture throughout the dark Middle Ages to mate it with the Oriental ones. Chinese, Indian, Japanese and Korean dynasties will take a worthy place next to the Plantagenets, Habsburgs, Bourbons, Stewarts and Romanovs. It is very important for us, Russians, to become the first Europeans in Asia or even the first Asians in Europe to play the inherent role of a civilizational bridge, and not just of a transport link.

This is the right moment to use the experience of the Far Easterners, who have long had close relations with the Chinese and other neighbors, to brush aside what is still left of the “Yellow Peril” myth, which was imposed on us some time ago and which continues to be fueled by  forces, scared to see Russia’s further emancipation from the West. It takes good knowledge of Asian history and of one’s place in it to remember that anti-Japanese sentiment is very strong not only in many Asian countries, but also in the Pacific areas of Russia, where memories of Japanese invaders’ atrocities are still alive. Knowledge is crucial to preventing old-time insults and phobias from hindering reasonable Russian-Japanese rapprochement and dialogue with other countries. Such knowledge will be very useful in concrete diplomacy, too. For instance, it remains unclear why in the dialogue with Japan the latter invariably appears as the injured party. History was complex. It is to be studied and sensed. And it will be a whole lot better to do so using the intellectual capital and experience of the Far Easterners.

The importance of some of the instruments of enhancing the national and local motivation for accelerating progress towards the most promising markets of the future is obvious. These are the already mentioned mandatory school and university courses in Oriental studies, films about the glorious and dramatic history of Siberia, its incredibly brave and determined people and its marvelous riches. It is also important to actively involve the local elites in the promotion of Russia’s national policy in Asia. It will be essential to extensively study the experience, however critical, of Asian countries and to create permanent clubs uniting business and intellectual elites of Russia and the Asian countries. It will be useful to pool efforts with the Asian neighbors to study and compare the value systems of Russians and Asian peoples. It looks like there is a great deal more in common in this respect than one may anticipate. Likewise, efforts should be made to intertwine Russia’s central and Siberian-Far Eastern elites to let the former better understand the needs of Russian Asia, and the latter, feel its involvement in shaping and implementing Russia’s Eurasian policies. The sooner Asia, including Russian Asia, comes into vogue for Russians, the better for the country.

Lastly, some final remarks.

First. Time is overripe for ending the artificial bureaucratic division of Russian land lying east of the Urals into Siberia and the Far East. All the way Siberia developed as an integral region. It has similar human resources and mentality. Central Siberia, suffering from what some describe as “continental curse,” that is, its remoteness from the markets, will benefit a lot from such unification and the use of advanced economic instruments, which are now being used to boost the development of the Far East. The latter will derive its own tangible benefits from integration with the powerful industrial and scientific potential of Central Siberia.

Second. For the sake of economic development, for bolstering morale and for rejuvenating Russia’s entire governing class it is an imperative of the day to set up a third and, possibly, fourth capital city east of the Ural Mountains and on the Pacific Ocean and to move there some of the federal agencies and head offices of major corporations. Such decisions were taken a while ago, but nothing has been done to act on them to this day.

And third. It is a bitter irony of history that we still refer to Pacific Russia as the Far East, using a name coined by the British. For them this part of the world was surely a faraway one. Also, in their scheme of things, there was the Near East and the Middle East, sandwiched in-between. In the meantime, for us the Far East is the closest…

The article originally was published in “Rossiyskaya Gazeta” (#7585 (122) on June 06 2018.

Europe’s data regulation conundrum

12 June 2018

Prince Michael of Liechtenstein, GIS

Since last month the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has been in force. It is clear both that digital privacy must be protected and that new technologies need a new approach. Data protection is extremely important, but the question is what kind of regulation does it need, and how much?

In principle, we should be glad that the European Union sees data protection – and therefore individual privacy – as important. But is that concern the only reason for the new regulation, or are there other agendas at work?

Government data collection

In recent years, diverse new regulations have required local, national and supranational authorities to collect individuals’ financial and personal data. Huge amounts of financial information are stored and exchanged between fiscal authorities, without any consideration for the individual’s right to privacy. Municipalities and local governments also collect a lot of personal data of various types. Such files are vulnerable to hacking, but also misuse by the authorities.

In 2006, the European Union issued the Data Retention Directive, which required countries to store all their citizens’ telecommunications for between six and 24 months. Such measures might help prosecute crimes, but do not necessarily help prevent them. Moreover, they are a deep intrusion into personal privacy and leave a lot of room for abuse.

There is no shortage of examples. Some of the least worrisome instances include policemen checking ex-girlfriends’ communication records. The much bigger danger is that the data may be exploited for political reasons. History shows that even democratic governments have made use of such opportunities. The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled the Data Retention Directive violated fundamental rights and declared it void. However, most member states still enforce this law.

Commercial data collection

Another facet receives a lot of attention: information stored by companies like Google and Facebook. In the case of Google, behavior can be monitored, but people are still not forced to give the company this information. In practice, however, it is difficult to avoid. With Facebook, nobody is forced to enter their information and its use is not essential. Still, many are tempted to use it, especially the young and inexperienced. Here, it is necessary to educate people on the danger of potential data misuse. It is obvious that Facebook must handle the commercial use of data responsibly, and should receive the specific consent of those entering information when using it. Companies like Amazon and Apple also collect a lot of data.

The danger of misuse by governments is much bigger; they have the power to introduce repressive measures

However, the danger of misuse by governments is much bigger, because they have the power to enforce data collection and introduce repressive measures. The GDPR is not really applied to data held by public institutions because they are subject to special laws, as is the automatic exchange of information between financial services and tax authorities. Data collection should be safe, but cases of data theft, leakage and loss are abundant and damage the spirit of the GDPR. It becomes extremely dangerous when tax and financial data are exchanged with countries where crime and/or corruption rates are high.

Unfortunately, despite the huge bureaucratic processes created by the GDPR, the regulation is widely useless as long as public authorities do not limit their data collection to a necessary minimum. It could, however, also be considered a European measure against American firms’ dominance in digital commerce, especially companies like Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon. But as long as Europe is unable to present credible alternatives to these businesses, the GDPR will also remain inefficient in this area.

Toward a More Democratic Europe?

 

Project Syndicate

The rise of extreme populism in Europe is coming at the expense of traditional center-right and center-left parties and putting the European Union at risk. But the populist threat could induce a restructuring of European politics that ultimately bolsters the EU’s legitimacy.

WASHINGTON, DC – A year ago, Emmanuel Macron’s decisive victory in the French presidential election, and his party’s subsequent success in legislative elections, caused many to breathe a sigh of relief. The rising tide of extremist populism in the West, it seemed, had finally turned. That has turned out not to be the case. But the stunning emergence of a populist majority government in Italy, a founding member of the European Union, does not necessarily spell disaster.

True, populists’ growing strength is threatening traditional center-right and center-left parties and making it very difficult for EU-level governance, in its current form, to function. But what if populist movements’ continued electoral success helps to drive forward a broader political restructuring that ultimately strengthens European democracy?

This reading is reinforced by the experience of Macron himself. Having never held elected office, Macron created a new party centered on himself, with support from both center-left and center-right voters. He seems to have restructured French politics in the process.

Next year’s European Parliament election is likely to reveal more about the potential for such political restructuring. The European Parliament has never generated the same level of interest as other European institutions, such as the Commission, the Council, or even the Court of Justice. European parliamentary debates rarely make it far outside Brussels or Strasbourg, and voter turnout to fill the body’s seats has typically been low. Such facts have long been cited as evidence that the EU suffers from a democratic deficit, with citizens inadequately engaged with European-level governance.

But as a series of crises have hit the EU – affecting most acutely Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, and Italy – these dynamics have been changing. Gone are the days when Europeans quietly accepted the EU, despite some complaints. Now, the EU is at the center of domestic political debates, which increasingly include existential questions about the survival of the eurozone and the entire European project.

This means that candidates in next year’s election are unlikely just to focus on domestic issues. While there will be some of that, there is likely also to be, for the first time, extensive discussion about Europe’s future and policies, especially in areas like migration, defense and security, energy and climate, and relations with major powers like the United States and Russia. After all, despite their differences, virtually every country in Europe is currently grappling with the question of how much Europe it wants, how open and optimistic it should be about new forms of technology-enabled globalization, and how much social solidarity is appropriate.

These discussions – and thus the European Parliament that emerges next year – are unlikely to adhere to standard party lines. After all, sticking to traditional political groupings is highly difficult nowadays, as exemplified by Macron’s party – La République En Marche ! – which does not fit neatly into traditional ideological categories. Macron has put out feelers for a pan-European party. Though truly supranational politics in Europe remains uncharted terrain, it makes sense that a strongly pro-EU politician should be one of its pioneers.

Right-wing populists, as nationalist and anti-European as they may be, also seem eager to support one another at the European level, taking advantage of their common platforms on most issues, particularly immigration, cultural identity, and trade. This will be more difficult for the far left, at least in France, which combines traditionally liberal views on immigration with protectionist economic policies that look at lot like those espoused by the populist right.

Of course, the traditional center-right and center-left parties – which have lost a large share of the electorate over the last five years, particularly in Spain, Italy, France, and, to a lesser extent, Germany – will try to regain their own footing. The problem is that these parties seem outdated to many younger voters, regardless of their leaders’ age. If they are to succeed, they will need to provide an inspiring new platform that convincingly addresses the issues of the today – all while contending with new political forces.

It is possible, however, that new political forces will in some cases absorb traditional center-right and center-left parties. In France, for example, Macron’s party could absorb the center-right Les Republicains, or it could shift further to the left, with a social solidarity program to accompany the liberal market measures it has already taken. The question is whether the party’s leaders think they can secure a simultaneous victory against Les Republicainsand the center-left Socialists.

Although the details remain unclear, a thorough restructuring of the European political scene – shaped largely by attitudes toward Europe – seems certain. If the European Parliament election next year helps to advance this restructuring, this may end up constituting a large step forward for democracy in Europe.

Youssef Amrani : La paix en Afrique viendra d’un vrai processus politique

Publié le 19/06/2018

Par LNT

Les défis multidimensionnels auxquels fait face l’Afrique, qu’il s’agisse de la persistance des conflits, la multiplication des acteurs non étatiques, du terrorisme, de la migration ou encore des changements climatiques, doivent être traités en profondeur, a souligné, lundi à Rabat, M. Youssef Amrani, chargé de mission au Cabinet Royal.

M. Amrani, qui présidait un panel intitulé « Le maintien de la paix en Afrique : tendances et défis », dans le cadre de la conférence organisée par « l’African Peace and Security Annual Conference » (APSACO), aux côtés de l’ancien ministre espagnol des Affaires étrangères, Miguel Angel Moratinos, et de l’ancien chef de la diplomatie tchadienne et envoyé spécial du Secrétaire Général des Nations Unies pour le Mali, Mahamet Saleh, a affirmé que « la prise de conscience par les pays africains des défis majeurs liés aux crises, à la sécurité et au développement, a permis de substituer le principe de non-indifférence au principe de non-ingérence ».

Selon M. Amrani, la complexité et l’amplification de certaines crises sur le continent ont démontré que les opérations de maintien de la paix et les réponses militaires à elles seules, ne peuvent être des instruments efficaces de lutte contre l’instabilité, l’insécurité ou l’extrémisme violent, jugeant fondamental d’inscrire les opérations de maintien de la paix dans le cadre d’un processus politique, qui s’accompagnerait à long terme, de réformes politiques, socio-économiques et de développement à tous les niveaux.

« La spécificité et la fragilité de l’espace géographique sahélien, aujourd’hui confronté à de multiples menaces chroniques d’ordre sécuritaire, démographique, mais aussi environnemental », appellent à « une lutte ferme contre les groupes terroristes, au renforcement de l’Etat de droit et ce, en créant les conditions d’une croissance, d’un développement et d’une sécurité durable pour l’ensemble des pays sahéliens », a relevé M. Amrani, faisant remarquer que « seules des actions africaines collectives, articulées autour d’une approche inclusive, partenariale et solidaire, sont à même de permettre le renforcement des capacités nationales et la consolidation de la paix et de la sécurité en Afrique ». « Pour que le continent soit au rendez-vous du développement et de l’innovation, l’Afrique est appelée à réadapter et renouveler ses institutions panafricaines, notamment l’Union Africaine à travers la réforme de son Conseil de Paix et de Sécurité et ce, pour une meilleure coordination des méthodes de travail et une meilleure gestion des crises sur le continent », a-t-il insisté.

Dans ce contexte, M. Amrani a rappelé que le Royaume est membre du Conseil de Paix et de Sécurité de l’Union Africaine, ce qui constitue une reconnaissance indéniable des efforts de notre pays en matière de paix et de sécurité au niveau du continent au cours des dernières décennies, notant que le Maroc ne saurait dissocier la sécurité du triptyque (intégration régionale, développement et prospérité partagée).

« Le Maroc fort de ses expériences en matière de développement humain, au centre de la vision africaine de SM le Roi Mohammed VI, a favorisé la mise en place d’un véritable socle de partenariat avec l’Afrique, dans lequel le Royaume continue de s’investir pleinement aux côtés de ses pays frères, à travers des actions concrètes, tel que la participation à plusieurs opérations de stabilisation et de maintien de la paix en Afrique, une politique migratoire en phase avec les besoins des migrants ou encore la promotion de projets structurants, initiés par le Souverain, au service du développement durable, de l’intégration économique et de la création de richesses sur le continent », a encore souligné M. Amrani.

Et d’affirmer que « le Maroc continuera à s’investir de manière constructive et productive aux cotés de l’ensemble des pays africains pour la réduction des facteurs d’instabilité dans leur pluralité, tout en poursuivant ses efforts pour insuffler un nouvel élan à la dynamique de l’Union Africaine, renforcer l’unité et la solidarité africaine et permettre au continent de relever les défis auxquels il fait face, notamment, dans les domaines de la paix, de la sécurité collective et du développement durable ».

Organisée par le Think Tank marocain OCP Policy Center les 18 et 19 juin, cette conférence se penchera sur de nombreuses questions liées à l’évolution des opérations de maintien de paix sur le terrain depuis le processus de réformes entamé par l’ONU ces dernières décennies, les leçons à tirer de ces expériences et les moyens permettant aux pays de l’Union africaine d’accéder à l’autonomie en matière de gestion du maintien de la paix sur le continent.

Elle jettera aussi la lumière sur toutes les questions relatives à une meilleure compréhension des enjeux de ces opérations, à leur gouvernance, à la protection des populations vulnérables ainsi qu’à l’implication de la société civile dans ces missions.

Joschka Fischer : « L’Europe doit enfin devenir une puissance indépendante »

Publié le 20/06/2018,

Propos recueillis par Pascale Hugues, Le Point

Dans « Le déclin de l’Occident », Joschka Fischer, ancien ministre allemand des Affaires étrangères, s’interroge sur la place des Européens dans le monde.

Le Point : Vous dites dans votre nouveau livre qu’une « comète nommée Donald Trump s’est écrasée sur la Terre ». Qu’est-ce que cela signifie pour nous, les Européens ?

Joschka Fischer : Que rien ne sera plus jamais comme avant. Les relations transatlantiques telles que nous les connaissions depuis des décennies n’existent plus. Ne nous faisons pas d’illusions : en matière de sécurité et de défense, notre protection dépend de l’humeur d’un président. Les Etats-Unis se tournent vers le Pacifique. Prenez la rencontre entre Donald Trump et Kim Jong-un. Et regardez la façon dont, lors du sommet…

Lire la suite

Olivier Blanchard

A citizen of France, Olivier Blanchard is a macroeconomist who has spent his professional life in the U.S. He first taught at Harvard, then at MIT, where he was chairman of the economics department from 1998 to 2003. From 2008 to 2015, he was on leave as the chief economist of the IMF. He is now the Fred Bergsten Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute in Washington. He also remains Robert M. Solow Professor of Economics emeritus at MIT. He is the author of many books and articles, including two textbooks in macroeconomics, one at the graduate level, and one at the undergraduate level. He is a fellow and past council member of the Econometric Society, president-elect of the American Economic Association, and a member of the American Academy of Sciences.

The Singapore Summit’s Uncertain Legacy

Donald Trump’s depiction of his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as a great success that solved the nuclear problem could make it tougher to maintain international support for the economic sanctions that are still needed to pressure Kim. Weakening the prospect of achieving one’s goals is not the mark of a strong negotiator.

NEW YORK – US President Donald Trump returned from his short summit meeting in Singapore with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in an exultant mood. “Everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office,” Trump tweeted. “There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea.” He subsequently told reporters, “I have solved that problem.”

There is only one catch: what Trump claimed was untrue. The nuclear threat posed by North Korea remains undiminished. The joint statement issued by the two leaders was as brief – just 391 words – as it was vague.

The statement was far more about aspirations than accomplishments. North Korea committed only “to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” Missing was any definition of what denuclearization might entail, a timeline for implementation, or a reference to how any actions would be verified. Other issues related to nuclear weapons, including ballistic missiles, were not even mentioned. Thus far, at least, the agreement with North Korea compares unfavorably to the Iran nuclear deal that Trump denounced – and then renounced a month before meeting Kim.

This is not to argue that the Singapore summit had no value. At least for now, bilateral relations are in a better place than they were a year ago, when North Korea was conducting nuclear and missile tests, and observers (including me) were busy calculating the chances that the two countries would be making war rather than peace. And, looking forward, there is, in principle, the possibility that the United States and North Korea will be able to reach agreement on the many relevant issues and details that the Singapore summit statement left out.

But turning this possibility into reality will be extraordinarily difficult. There are many reasons to doubt whether North Korea will ever give up weaponry that, more than anything else, explains America’s willingness to take it seriously and treat it as something of an equal. In addition, the experience of Ukraine, a country that gave up its nuclear weapons, only to see the world do nothing when Russia annexed Crimea, hardly provides a reason for Kim Jong-un to follow suit. Much the same could be said of Libya, given Colonel Muammar el-Qaddafi’s fate.

There is also good reason to doubt that North Korea, arguably the world’s most closed and secretive country, would ever permit the sort of intrusive international inspections that would be required to verify that it had complied with undertakings spelled out in some future pact.

Trump seems to think that Kim can be swayed not simply by threats and pressure, but by flattery and promises as well. The White House released a four-minute video that showcased Kim as someone who could be a great historical figure if only he would fundamentally change. The video also went to great lengths to show what North Korea could gain economically were it to meet US demands. The president even spoke of the North’s potential as a venue for real-estate development and tourism.

What seems not to have occurred to Trump is that such a future holds more peril than promise to someone whose family has ruled with an iron grip for three generations. A North Korea open to Western businessmen might soon find itself penetrated by Western ideas. Popular unrest would be sure to follow.

Trump emphasizes the importance of personal relationships, and he claimed to have developed one with Kim in a matter of hours. More than once, he spoke of the trust he had for a leader with a record of killing off those (including an uncle and a brother) he deemed his enemies. All of this turned Ronald Reagan’s maxim – “trust, but verify” – on its head, to something like “Don’t verify, but trust.”

In fact, some of Trump’s post-summit remarks have actually weakened the prospect of achieving his goals. His depiction of the summit as a great success that solved the nuclear problem will make it that much tougher to maintain international support for the economic sanctions that are still needed to pressure North Korea. Trump also did himself no favor by unilaterally announcing that the US would no longer conduct what he described as “provocative” war games, also known as military exercises meant to ensure readiness and enhance deterrence. In so doing, he not only alarmed several US allies, but also gave away what he could have traded for something from North Korea.

The danger, of course, is that subsequent negotiations will fail, for all these reasons, to bring about the complete and verifiable denuclearization of North Korea that the US has said must happen soon. Trump would likely then accuse Kim of betraying his trust.

In that case, the US would have three options. It could accept less than full denuclearization, an outcome that Trump and his top aides have said they would reject. It could impose even stricter sanctions, to which China and Russia are unlikely to sign up. Or it could reintroduce the threat of military force, which South Korea, in particular, would resist.

But if Trump concludes that diplomacy has failed, he could nonetheless opt for military action, a course John Bolton suggested just before becoming national security adviser. This would hardly be the legacy that Trump intended for the Singapore summit, but it remains more possible than his optimistic tweets would lead one to believe.

Merkel and Macron Try to Save European Union, and Themselves

June 19, 2018

Katrin Bennhold and Steven Erlanger, The New York Times

BERLIN — It was supposed to be the day when President Emmanuel Macron of France received a long-awaited response from Germany on his big ideas on how to rekindle Europe as a force for liberalism in the world.

And he did, sort of.

But his meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany on Tuesday was overshadowed by the urgent issue of how to put out the growing number of populist fires over migration on the Continent — including in Germany itself.

Ms. Merkel, faced with a rebellion by Bavarian conservatives that nearly brought down her government on Monday, is staring at a 10-day deadline to reach the kind of European accord on limiting migration that has eluded the European Union for many years.

On Tuesday she came one small step closer. When Mr. Macron was asked whether he would take back asylum seekers who were first registered in France if Germany refused them at the border, as demanded by the Bavarians, Mr. Macron obligingly said he would. “I confirm,” he said.

France would be obligated to do so under the bloc’s current regulations, but they have proved hollow as Europe has been confronted with millions of migrants and refugees from war-torn Syria, Libya, northern Africa and Afghanistan in recent years.

More than 200,000 migrants sought asylum in Germany last year, and it is on pace to receive as many requests this year, according to Germany’s Federal Office for Migration and Refugees. In 2016, more than 700,000 migrants and refugees asked for asylum in Germany.

Ms. Merkel’s coalition party in Bavaria would like to send back any asylum seeker who has first registered in another European country. But that would mean creating a border in the border-free Schengen zone, which Ms. Merkel thinks would mean the breakdown of free travel, a jewel in the European crown.

In part because Ms. Merkel needs French support in her effort to find a new European consensus on how to address migration, she reached several agreements with Mr. Macron on Tuesday.

Ms. Merkel agreed to a joint budget for the countries that share the euro, which would be separate from the larger European Union budget and would be established as soon as 2021. She also assented to a European reinsurance arrangement for unemployment. Both measures were once unthinkable for Ms. Merkel’s fiscally conservative country.

Their meeting at the Meseberg palace outside Berlin, which took place in advance of a European summit at the end of June, was intended to address broad European issues, but it was marked as well by each leader’s domestic political challenges.

Mr. Macron, who had first laid out his ambitious plans for Europe last September in a rousing speech of 100 minutes at the Sorbonne, needed movement on his eurozone budget proposal from the German chancellor that he could sell at home.

Ms. Merkel, in turn, needed support for fixing Europe’s fractured asylum and migration policies.

“The Europe that we know is too slow, too weak, too ineffective,” Mr. Macron said in September, before reeling off a list of ambitious proposals.

On Tuesday, Mr. Macron did not get nearly as much as he hoped for. He had lobbied for a budget of hundreds of millions of euros to be overseen by a European finance minister. German officials, long suspicious of anything that smacks of a transfer union, agreed finally to the idea of a eurozone budget, but in the tens of millions of euros and overseen by the European Commission.

But Germany did agree to a proposal to coordinate its corporate tax rate with France and to an overhaul of the European Stability Mechanism, the eurozone’s bailout fund, which would expand its mission and allow it to provide emergency loans to countries in recession.

On balance, Mr. Macron probably got a little more than he had expected, given Ms. Merkel’s current political predicament.

“The domestic pressure Chancellor Merkel is currently under makes it easier for the French President to get more money for the new budget,” said Thomas Jäger, a professor at the University of Cologne.

If she is unable to reach agreements with other European countries within about two weeks, her interior minister, Horst Seehofer, has threatened to act unilaterally, turning back any migrant to Bavaria whose asylum process is pending in another European Union country.

Under these circumstances, analysts said, the leaders’ joint declaration, which also covered support for closer military cooperation and foreign policy, was more substantive than might have been expected.

The agreement “is an important step in the right direction,” said Marcel Fratzscher, head of the German Institute for Economic Research, though he added that it would not be sufficient to make the eurozone sustainable and to avoid future crises.

Timothy Garton Ash of Oxford University concurred. “In time-honored fashion they will try to cobble something together that looks like a major joint initiative,” he said. “The question is: Is it enough for Europe?”

“Not yet,” he added.

On migration, the current crisis appears to have focused minds.

“The topic that worries us all at the moment is migration,” Ms. Merkel said, standing beside Mr. Macron at a lengthy joint news conference after their meeting.

Both Ms. Merkel and Mr. Macron hope to fashion deals with the front-line countries receiving the most migrants, like Italy or Spain, similar to one reached with Turkey.

They also want to create a larger and more efficient European border force, adding 10,000 officers, and hope to discuss ways of processing asylum claims in North Africa, notably Libya, before migrants can arrive in Europe. Once migrants are on the Continent, it has proved very difficult to send back those who do not qualify as refugees, especially since many destroy their documents at sea.

Following a tumultuous few days, with President Trump joining the fray in Europe by firing off hostile tweets and banding together with nativists from Hungary to Slovenia, Ms. Merkel’s meeting with Mr. Macron felt at times like a defiant counter summit — an attempt by Europe’s two main centrist leaders to close ranks.

Mr. Macron, who has emerged as Europe’s most energetic leader, has made an urgent case for a liberal Europe. On Tuesday his government’s spokesman responded sharply to President Trump’s tweets by criticizing American policies toward migrants.

“President Donald Trump’s policy of separating migrants entering the U.S. from Mexico from their children shows that the United States and Europe do not share the same ‘model of civilization,’” said the spokesman, Benjamin Griveaux.

“I don’t want what’s happening in the United States to happen in Europe,” he told France 2 television, adding that “clearly we do not share certain values.”

The main responsibility of this generation, he said, “is to defend European solidarity against populism, against all forms of populism, the far left and the far right.”

“If everyone retreats behind their national borders, we won’t succeed,” he said.

The question is how much support Mr. Macron and Ms. Merkel command elsewhere in Europe for their proposed reforms of the eurozone and migration. Some nations, including Austria and the Netherlands, do not favor a separate eurozone budget, while Italy, with a new populist government, has vowed to get tough on migration.

“In that sense,” Mr. Jäger said, “this compromise will be a litmus test of whether the French-German engine can still pull the European train.”

Katrin Bennhold reported from Berlin and Steven Erlanger from Brussels. Melissa Eddy contributed reporting from Berlin.

Sommet franco-allemand : un budget de la zone euro pour 2021

Publié le 19/06/2018

Virginie Robert, Les Echos

Français et Allemands sont tombés d’accord sur la création d’un budget pour les dix-neuf. Des changements de traité sont indispensables.

C’est historique. Le deuxième pilier de l’Union économique et monétaire comme l’avait rêvé Jacques Delors devrait voir le jour.  Emmanuel Macron et Angela Merkel se sont mis d’accord sur un budget qui va promouvoir la compétitivité, la convergence et la stabilisation dans la zone euro. Ce projet, qui montre à la fois de la solidarité et la volonté de croître ensemble, doit encore être approuvé par les dix-sept autres membres.

« C’est un premier pas important pour l’Europe […] Nous nous engageons pour un budget de l’euro », a déclaré la chancelière allemande Angela Merkel lors de la conférence de presse mardi au château de Meseberg. Il s’agit d’une étape significative pour l’Allemagne, très longtemps réticente à doter la zone euro d’une capacité de financement propre tant elle craignait de devoir financer des pays moins vertueux qu’elle. Cette avancée majeure est  le fruit du travail acharné des ministres des Finances, Bruno Le Maire, et Olaf Scholz, ces trois derniers mois.

Objectif : investissements dans l’innovation et le capital humain

« Le but du budget de la zone euro est la compétitivité et la convergence », stipule la déclaration franco-allemande. Cela nécessitera des « investissements dans l’innovation et le capital humain ». Sur la fonction de stabilisation de l’un des Etats de la zone en cas de récession, le document indique que sera « étudiée la question d’un Fonds européen de stabilisation de l’assurance-chômage, pour l’éventualité de graves crises économiques », mais « sans transferts ». La France et l’Allemagne « mettront en place un groupe de travail en vue de faire des propositions concrètes pour le Conseil européen de décembre 2018 ».

Une enveloppe à décider

Aucun montant n’a été encore défini pour ce budget qui doit voir le jour en 2021. Il appartiendra aux Etats membres de discuter des modalités lors des négociations du prochain cadre financier pluriannuel (2021-2027), et cela avant la fin de l’année. Si  Emmanuel Macron avait évoqué plusieurs points de PIB et par là des centaines de milliards d’euros, la chancelière avait de son côté préféré évoqué des montants à deux chiffres.

A défaut d’être d’accord sur le montant, les deux dirigeants se sont accordés sur des pistes de ressources qui « proviendraient à la fois des contributions nationales, de l’affectation de recettes fiscales et de ressources européennes. » Angela Merkel a mentionné une taxe européenne sur les transactions financières.

 Ce sont des réformes importantes, des engagements politiques que nous prenons ensemble.

« Ce sont des réformes importantes, des engagements politiques que nous prenons ensemble […] qui supposent un travail technique au niveau ministériel jusqu’à la fin de l’année, ensuite, sans doute l’année suivante, des changements de traités qui sont indispensables », a ajouté Emmanuel Macron.

Selon le projet franco-allemand, ce sont les dix-neuf pays de la zone euro qui assureront la gouvernance de ce budget et assumeront les décisions stratégiques. Et c’est la Commission européenne qui en assurera l’exécution.

Virginie Robert

« Immigration : arrêtons l’appel d’air européen ! »

18 juin 2018, FigaroVox

Dimanche 17 juin 2018, l’Aquarius, un navire européen affrété par les Organisations non gouvernementales (ONG) SOS Méditerranée et Médecins sans frontières, a donc débarqué dans le port espagnol de Valence 630 immigrants clandestins venus d’Afrique, repêchés une semaine auparavant au large des côtes de Libye. Deux navires appartenant à l’Etat italien (l’un de la marine de guerre, l’autre du corps des garde-côtes) y ont le même jour débarqué un nombre moins important de clandestins.

Auparavant, ces migrants, pour la plupart originaires de pays lointains d’Afrique noire comme le Nigéria, la Côte d’Ivoire ou la Guinée, avaient chacun payé un minimum de 3000 euros par personne à des réseaux de passeurs, lesquels sont structurés comme des mafias, avec des ramifications dans tous les pays parcourus par les routes menant vers le prétendu « eldorado » européen. A la tête de ses mafias, on trouve les descendants des Barbaresques. Aujourd’hui, ce sont les mêmes réseaux mafieux qui procèdent indifféremment au trafic d’armes (destinées aux djihadistes), à l’acheminement de la drogue vers l’Europe, au trafic des êtres humains.

Les passeurs – ces nouveaux Barbaresques – ont une méthode éprouvée. Ils entassent les candidats aux voyages dans des canots pneumatiques de fortune ; ils les poussent jusqu’aux eaux internationales à 12 nautiques du rivage libyen ; ensuite ils émettent un SOS ou appellent un centre de secours italien pour indiquer qu’un naufrage est imminent ; puis ils s’en retournent dans leurs repaires, abandonnant à leur sort leurs malheureux passagers, souvent sans eau douce ni nourriture. Le reste du voyage ne coûte plus rien aux passeurs, puisqu’il est pris en charge par les navires des marines ou des ONG européennes. Pourquoi ces derniers ne ramènent pas simplement les naufragés vers les ports les plus proches du littoral libyen ? Parce qu’ils considèrent qu’il s’agirait d’un refoulement contraire au droit humanitaire international. Les nouveaux Barbaresques le savent bien, qui sont passés maîtres dans l’art d’exploiter le vieux sentiment de charité chrétienne de cette Europe si riche, si bien organisée, si sociale.

Sans le vouloir, les ONG participent, de manière gratuite, à un immense trafic, qui a dépassé depuis longtemps en chiffre d’affaires le trafic de stupéfiants. Evoquant les naufragés, une représentante de SOS Méditerranée a affirmé à Valence que l’Europe avait « quatorze mille morts sur la conscience ». Quelle incroyable calomnie, visant à réveiller la vieille culpabilité de l’homme blanc ! Car en quoi les Européens sont-ils responsables que de jeunes hommes africains se jettent dans de dangereuses expéditions pour fuir leurs pays ? Cela fait soixante ans, soit deux générations, que les puissances européennes n’administrent plus l’Afrique, qu’elles en sont parties, dans la liesse des élites et des foules africaines mues par l’idéal de leur indépendance, et avec l’approbation des bonnes consciences de gauche de l’époque. Sont-ce les Européens ou les nouveaux Barbaresques qui ont créé ce trafic honteux ?

Ce trafic est profondément délétère à la fois pour les Etats africains et pour les Etats européens. Il prive l’Afrique d’une jeunesse intelligente, entreprenante et débrouillarde. Car 3000 euros y représente une somme considérable à rassembler. Dans les pays du Continent noir, c’est un beau capital de départ pour créer une affaire, pour creuser un puits dans un village, ou pour monter une installation photovoltaïque. Dans les pays de transition comme le Niger, le trafic attire des jeunes pressés de faire fortune, les éloignant de l’élevage, de l’agriculture, de l’artisanat. Il n’est pas sain que les villages africains vivent dans l’attente des mandats qu’envoient ou qu’enverront les migrants une fois arrivés en Europe, plutôt que de chercher à se développer par eux-mêmes. Il est vital que les aides financières de l’Union européenne pour le Sahel et l’Afrique centrale aillent dans des actions qui combattent l’économie de trafic, mais aussi dans des projets agricoles ou énergétiques capables de fixer les populations sur leurs terres ancestrales.

L’arrivée incontrôlée et en masse de migrants peu au fait de la culture européenne déstabilise profondément les Etats de l’UE, comme on l’a vu avec le vote référendaire britannique et le vote législatif italien. Dans les années cinquante et soixante, les peuples européens se sont exprimés par les urnes pour accepter les indépendances des ex-colonies. En revanche on ne les a jamais consulté démocratiquement sur l’immigration, qui le phénomène social le plus important qu’ils aient connu depuis la seconde guerre mondiale.

Il faut d’urgence arrêter cet appel d’air délétère, sauf à vouloir appauvrir humainement l’Afrique et détruire cette Europe libérale patiemment construite depuis les années 1950…

Our Infant Information Revolution

Joseph S. Nye, 15 June 2018

In the middle of the twentieth century, people feared that advances in computers and communications would lead to the type of centralized control depicted in George Orwell’s 1984. Today, billions of people have eagerly put Big Brother in their pockets.

CAMBRIDGE – It is frequently said that we are experiencing an information revolution. But what does that mean, and where is the revolution taking us?

Information revolutions are not new. In 1439, Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press launched the era of mass communication. Our current revolution, which began in Silicon Valley in the 1960s, is bound up with Moore’s Law: the number of transistors on a computer chip doubles every couple of years.

By the beginning of the twenty-first century, computing power cost one-thousandth of what it did in the early 1970s. Now the Internet connects almost everything. In mid-1993, there were about 130 websites in the world; by 2000, that number had surpassed 15 million. Today, more than 3.5 billion people are online; experts project that, by 2020, the “Internet of Things” will connect 20 billion devices. Our information revolution is still in its infancy.

The key characteristic of the current revolution is not the speed of communications; instantaneous communication by telegraph dates back to the mid-nineteenth century. The crucial change is the enormous reduction in the cost of transmitting and storing information. If the price of an automobile had declined as rapidly as the price of computing power, one could buy a car today for the same price as a cheap lunch. When a technology’s price declines so rapidly, it becomes widely accessible, and barriers to entry fall. For all practical purposes, the amount of information that can be transmitted worldwide is virtually infinite.

The cost of information storage has also declined dramatically, enabling our current era of big data. Information that once would fill a warehouse now fits in your shirt pocket.

In the middle of the twentieth century, people feared that the computers and communications of the current information revolution would lead to the type of centralized control depicted in George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984. Big Brother would monitor us from a central computer, making individual autonomy meaningless.

Instead, as the cost of computing power has decreased and computers have shrunk to the size of smart phones, watches, and other portable devices, their decentralizing effects have complemented their centralizing effects, enabling peer-to-peer communication and mobilization of new groups. Yet, ironically, this technological trend has also decentralized surveillance: billions of people nowadays voluntarily carry a tracking device that continually violates their privacy as it searches for cell towers. We have put Big Brother in our pockets.

Likewise, ubiquitous social media generate new transnational groups, but also create opportunities for manipulation by governments and others. Facebook connects more than two billion people, and, as Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election showed, these connections and groups can be exploited for political ends. Europe has tried to establish rules for privacy protection with its new General Data Protection Regulation, but its success is still uncertain. In the meantime, China is combining surveillance with the development of social credit rankings that will restrict personal freedoms such as travel.

Information provides power, and more people have access to more information than ever before, for good and for ill. That power can be used not only by governments, but also by non-state actors ranging from large corporations and non-profit organizations to criminals, terrorists, and informal ad hoc groups.

This does not mean the end of the nation-state. Governments remain the most powerful actors on the global stage; but the stage has become more crowded, and many of the new players can compete effectively in the realm of soft power. A powerful navy is important in controlling sea-lanes; but it does not provide much help on the Internet. In nineteenth-century Europe, the mark of a great power was its ability to prevail in war, but, as the American analyst John Arquilla has pointed out, in today’s global information age, victory often depends not on whose army wins, but on whose story wins.

Public diplomacy and the power to attract and persuade become increasingly important, but public diplomacy is changing. Long gone are the days when foreign service officers carted film projectors to the hinterlands to show movies to isolated audiences, or people behind the Iron Curtain huddled over short-wave radios to listen to the BBC. Technological advances have led to an explosion of information, and that has produced a “paradox of plenty”: an abundance of information leads to scarcity of attention.

When people are overwhelmed by the volume of information confronting them, it is hard to know what to focus on. Attention, not information, becomes the scarce resource. The soft power of attraction becomes an even more vital power resource than in the past, but so does the hard, sharp power of information warfare. And as reputation becomes more vital, political struggles over the creation and destruction of credibility multiply. Information that appears to be propaganda may not only be scorned, but may also prove counterproductive if it undermines a country’s reputation for credibility.

During the Iraq War, for example, the treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay in a manner inconsistent with America’s declared values led to perceptions of hypocrisy that could not be reversed by broadcasting images of Muslims living well in America. Similarly, President Donald Trump’s tweets that prove to be demonstrably false undercut American credibility and reduce its soft power.

The effectiveness of public diplomacy is judged by the number of minds changed (as measured by interviews or polls), not dollars spent. It is interesting to note that polls and the Portland index of the Soft Power 30 show a decline in American soft power since the beginning of the Trump administration. Tweets can help to set the global agenda, but they do not produce soft power if they are not credible.

Now the rapidly advancing technology of artificial intelligence or machine learning is accelerating all of these processes. Robotic messages are often difficult to detect. But it remains to be seen whether credibility and a compelling narrative can be fully automated.

Geoffrey Bouquot

Group Vice President Corporate Strategy & External Relations VALEO. Previously, he was technical advisor for Industrial Affairs at the Office of the French Minister of Defense, Jean-Yves Le Drian (2014-2016). He was also project manager at the Aerospace & Defence Unit, French Government Shareholding Agency (2011-2014), advisor for Industry at the Office of the Chairman and CEO of OCP Group (2009-2010). He graduated from the Ecole Polytechnique and the Ecole des Mines, Paris.

La poignée de main entre Donald Trump et Kim Jong Un, “un événement très important”

Pour Hubert Védrine, ancien ministre des Affaires étrangères, la rencontre entre Donald Trump et Kim Jong Un pourrait amorcer une mutation du régime nord-coréen, sous l’égide notamment de la Chine.

L’image a fait le tour du monde : le dictateur de Corée du Nord a serré la main du président des Etats-Unis, après 70 ans de guerre. “Ça n’est pas une opération de relation publique, c’est un événement très important”, a salué Hubert Védrine, l’ancien ministre des Affaires étrangères de François Mitterrand, au micro de la matinale d’Europe 1 mardi. Avec une nuance toutefois : “On ne peut pas l’évaluer précipitamment : il faut attendre les vrais résultats, la mise en œuvre. Y a-t-il un vrai calendrier de dénucléarisation ?”, a-t-il interrogé.Un calendrier de dénucléarisation… L’ancien responsable de la diplomatie française estime ainsi qu’à ce stade, Donald Trump “n’a pris aucun risque”. “C’est une opération réussie s’il y a un calendrier étalé de dénucléarisation dans le temps, avec deux ou trois gestes au début”, répète-t-il, alors que mardi matin, le contenu précis du document que le président américain a annoncé vouloir signer avec le leader nord-coréen n’était pas encore connu.… impossible à mettre en place ? Hubert Védrine ne croit pas cependant que le régime de Pyongyang puisse à court terme se priver de “l’assurance vie qu’il s’est donnée au fil des décennies” en développant l’arme nucléaire. “Je n’imagine pas ce régime y renoncer demain matin, ça n’a aucun sens. Personne ne pourrait l’imposer”.

Le modèle chinois en exemple. Cette poignée de main fait également de Kim Jong Un le gagnant du bras de fer qui l’a opposé à Washington ces derniers mois, sa propagande pouvant désormais expliquer que c’est grâce à son leadership et à l’arme atomique qu’il a pu obtenir ce tête à tête avec le locataire de la Maison Blanche. “Il peut dire ça, mais la propagande fonctionnera s’il arrive à faire évoluer la vie des gens, ce qui veut dire une politique économique à la chinoise ; il garde le contrôle politique, stratégique et policier, mais le pays se développe”, relève encore Hubert Védrine.

“La Corée du Nord veut survivre en tant que régime, tout en évoluant”, indique-t-il. Pour lui, le système communiste dictatorial de la péninsule pourrait désormais suivre la trajectoire empruntée par la République populaire de Chine à partir de la fin des années 1970. “Ils vont développer une économie à la chinoise. Mais la Chine ne veut pas d’une réunification trop rapide. Ils seraient incapables d’assumer ce poids. Ce serait trop lourd, ça les ferait couler”, avertit Hubert Védrine.

LE CERCLE/TRIBUNE – Un collectif de personnalités appelle à un avenir commun entre l’Europe et l’Afrique.

Dans un monde chaotique où il est difficile d’avoir confiance dans le long terme, nombreux sont les chefs d’Etat qui pilotent à vue. La Chine, pourtant, achèvera en 2049  les routes de la soie qui relieront l’Europe et l’Afrique aux intérêts asiatiques.

En Afrique, certains Etats se donnent une perspective de long terme : le Maroc a réintégré l’Union africaine l’année dernière et développe des projets d’envergure, tels que la rocade atlantique d’Agadir à Dakar ; l’Algérie, avec le projet de dorsale transsaharienne qui relierait Alger-Cherchell à Lagos au Nigeria ; l’Egypte, avec  la modernisation du canal de Suez ; le Ghana, avec son président qui affiche sa volonté de rupture avec le passé et trace le chemin d’une Afrique ambitieuse, autonome, liée à l’Europe, dans un rapport équilibré.

Le président Macron a donné une vision de l’ancrage de la France à l’Europe, à l’Afrique et au monde, le 29 août 2017,  devant les ambassadeurs de France : « La stratégie que je veux mettre en oeuvre consiste à créer un axe intégré entre l’Afrique, la Méditerranée et l’Europe… C’est en Afrique que se joue largement l’avenir du monde. »

 

Nous adhérons avec une profonde conviction à cette vision car elle est à la fois ambitieuse et réaliste :

 L’Europe est déjà le premier investisseur en Afrique et son premier client. Plus des trois quarts du commerce international des pays de l’UE se réalise en Europe, avec la Russie, avec les pays sud-méditerranéens et l’Afrique – même si les positions commerciales de l’Europe en Afrique se dégradent face à l’offensive chinoise.

 L’internationalisation des échanges conduit à une globalisation, mais aussi à une régionalisation de certaines activités qui bénéficient de l’avantage de la proximité géographique et de la complémentarité économique. C’est ainsi que l’Alena a rapproché les économies des Etats-Unis et du Mexique, et que l’ensemble des Amériques du Nord et du Sud font, désormais, 56 % de leurs échanges commerciaux. C’est ainsi que l’intégration des pays de l’Asie orientale est passée en trente ans de 30 à presque 60 % de leurs échanges commerciaux.

 Avec 500 millions d’habitants vieillissants, l’Europe doit faire le choix du développement accéléré de l’Afrique qui comptera 2,5 milliards d’habitants en 2050. Les marchés sont et seront de plus en plus au Sud.

 Enfin, cette vision est réaliste au regard des défis communs tels que le terrorisme, l’immigration non contrôlée, le réchauffement climatique et la défense des valeurs morales communes, qui imposent la mutualisation des objectifs et des moyens.

Nouveau traité

La stratégie à mettre en place doit puiser dans un certain nombre de mécanismes et d’institutions qui ont fait leurs preuves en Asie orientale et dans les Amériques. On y trouve d’abord une fondation qui rassemble experts, intellectuels, représentants des sociétés civiles et chefs d’Entreprise travaillant à l’accélération des interconnexions, des réseaux techniques (eau, transport, électricité), financiers et culturels (reconnaissance des diplômes universitaires, échanges d’étudiants…).

A ce jour, il n’existe entre l’Europe et l’Afrique aucun organisme comparable à la Cepalc (700 chercheurs, 40 millions de dollars par an) pour les Amériques ou à l’Eria (15 laboratoires et 30 millions de dollars par an) pour l’Asie orientale.

On y trouve ensuite une institution d’instruments financiers pour le développement, dont disposent déjà les Amériques (BID) et l’Asie orientale (ADB et BAII) pour assurer la mobilité des capitaux Nord-Sud dont la BAD et la BEI pourraient être la plate-forme de base. Le troisième mécanisme serait un partenariat économique entre les pays du Nord (EU) et les pays du Sud (AU). Enfin, il faudrait un lieu de concertation politique comparable à l’Organisation des Etats américains (OEA) et aux Sommets de l’Asie orientale.

L’ensemble de ces quatre outils devrait prendre la forme d’un nouveau traité entre l’Europe et l’Afrique qui prendrait la place des accords de Cotonou qui viennent à échéance fin 2020. Ce « New Deal » donnerait du sens à l’avenir de l’Europe et de l’Afrique.

Aliko Dangote est président du groupe Dangote Industries Limited, Piero Fassino est ancien ministre, député de la République italienne, Talal Abu Ghazalehest chairman de Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Organization (TAG-Org), Jean-Louis Guigou est président de l’Ipremed, Mehdi Houas est ancien ministre en Tunisie, Mo Ibrahim est président de Mo Ibrahim Fondation, Miguel Angel Moratinos est ancien ministre en Espagne, Pascal Lamy est ancien directeur général de l’Organisation mondiale du commerce, Stéphane Richard est président-directeur général d’Orange

Autres signataires :

Pierre Beckouche, professeur des universités, Paris-I Panthéon-Sorbonne

Khater Abi-Habib, président de Kafalat

Didier Acouetey, président du cabinet Africsearch

Mounir Abdelnour, ancien ministre

Iqbal Gharbi, directrice de la chaire d’anthropologie religieuse, université Zitouna de Tunis

Jalloul Ayed, ancien ministre

Abdessalem Ben Ayed, président-directeur général de Pireco

Joachim Bitterlich, ancien ambassadeur

Roland Branquart, président d’Euro2C

Jean-Louis Chaussade, directeur général du groupe Suez

Shermine Dajani, présidente de PanMed Energy Ltd.

Khalil Daoud, président de Liban Post

Nathalie Delapalme, directrice exécutive de la Fondation Mo Ibrahim

Kemal Dervis, ancien ministre

Eric Diamantis, avocat partner du cabinet Clyde & Co.

Elias Doumet, président du groupe Matelec

Moulay Hafid Elalamy, président-directeur général du groupe Saham – Maroc

Isidro Fainé, chairman de la Caixa Banking Foundation

Elisabeth Guigou, ancienne ministre, présidente de la Fondation Anna Lindh pour le dialogue des cultures en Méditerranée

Christian Hiller von Gaertringen, consultant sur le financement de projets d’investissements en Afrique

Noureddine Hajji, président d’Ipemed Tunisie

Marc Hoffmeister, président de Classe Export

Alfonso Iozzo, président du Centro Studi sul Federalismo

Alain Juppé, ancien Premier ministre

Jean Kacou Diagou, président-directeur général du groupe NSIA

Ridha Khadher, artisan-boulanger

Fadia Kiwan, directrice honoraire de l’Institut des sciences politiques de l’université Saint-Joseph de BeyrouthVenance Konan, écrivain

Eneko Landaburu, ancien chef de la délégation de la Commission européenne en Espagne

Denis MacShane, ancien ministre

Alexandre Maymat, responsable de la business unit région Afrique & outre-mer, Société Générale

Radhi Meddeb, président-directeur général du groupe Comète Ingénierie

Gérard Mestrallet, président du conseil d’administration d’Engie

Elie Nkamgueu, président du Club Efficience

Fathallah Oualalou, ancien ministre

Romano Prodi, ancien président de la Commission européenne

Jean-Pierre Raffarin, ancien Premier ministre

Jean-Louis Reiffers, doyen honoraire de la faculté des sciences économiques de l’université d’Aix-Marseille-II

Carmen Romero, ancienne députée européenne

Arnaud Rousseau, président-directeur général du Groupe Avril, président-directeur général du groupe de la Fédération des producteurs d’oléagineux et de protéagineuxJean-Michel Severino, président d’Investisseurs & Partenaires (I & P)

Jemal Taleb, ambassadeur itinérant de Mauritanie

Fouad Trad, directeur général délégué de Byblos Bank Europe

Jean-Jacques Van der Slikke, senior vice-president for North Africa and the Middle East at Safran Group

Hubert Védrine, ancien ministre

Douraid Zaghouani, chief operating officer, Investment Corporation of Dubai

Dr Fouad Zmokhol, président de l’Association of Lebanese Business People in the World (RDCL World)