Italian Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio, who also leads the populist coalition government’s left-wing Five Star Movement, hit at one of the structural roots of large-scale illegal African migration to Europe by declaring that it’s partly because “some European countries like France never stopped colonizing Africa in their heads”, elaborating that “there are dozens of African states in which France prints its own currency, the franc of the colonies, and with that, it finances the French public debt.” He added that “if France did not have the African colonies, which it is impoverishing, it would be the 15th international economic power and instead it is among the first for what it is doing in Africa.” Di Maio’s provocative and likely solely rhetorical solution to this problem is for the EU and UN to sanction France, something that will probably never happen but nevertheless succeeded in making his comments international news.
While cynics might charge that he was only doing this for publicity ahead of this May’s European Parliamentary elections that his coalition ally Salvini is trying his best to turn into a continental-wide EuroRealist revolutionary victory, the fact of the matter is that responsible leftists – which differ from the identity-politics-obsessed liberals of the EU’s ruling EuroLiberal Establishment like Macron – understand the need to address the structural roots of poverty and migration, ergo his criticisms of France’s neocolonial CFA Franc and the broader policy of what is commonly described as “Françafrique”. Paris’ employment of inter-elite diplomacy between the imperial center and its nominally post-imperial African periphery has enabled it to dispatch its military forces at will to protect commercial, resource, and energy interests all across its former colonial domain in the continent.
The decades-long extraction of wealth from these many developing countries has severely disadvantaged them to the point where their systemic poverty became a naturally occurring “push” factor that combined with the EU’s economic “pull” to convince many desperate people to make the dangerous cross-Mediterranean journey to the northern continent. That’s not to say that there aren’t any freeloaders and criminals mixed in with the larger bunch, but just that it should be assumed that many of the illegal migrants are regular folks who simply can’t survive in their home countries due to the proverbial deck being stacked against them because of “Françafrique”. France never could have imagined that its Italian neighbor would be leading the anti-imperial charge against the treatment of its “former” colonial possessions but that just goes to show how quickly European politics is changing as the EuroRealist-EuroLiberal fault line moves from East to West.
By Andrew Korybko
Source: Oriental Review