2018 Documentary - Reportage - A joint production of ARTE and Deutsche Welle

Director: Jan M. Schäfer, Simone Schlindwein and Christian Jakob
Audio: Pascal Capitolin
Format: STEREO
Running Time: 51min 43" anb 42min 34"
Production: MobyDok - ZDF-ARTE - DW


Outsourcing border controls to Africa Europe is paying African states billions of euros to act as its new border police. Development aid is being used as a bargaining chip to control immigration. What price do refugees hoping to seek asylum pay and who is benefiting from this policy?

The EU is copying a policy pioneered by Spain over a decade ago. When boats full of refugees from West Africa began landing in the Canary Islands in 2004, the country reacted by paying countries like Senegal millions of euros to stop the wave of refugees. The Spanish coast guard began patrolling Senegalese beaches thousands of kilometers away from Europe. Now the same idea is being implemented in big way in almost two dozen African countries. The name of the game: development aid in return for stopping migration from Africa to Europe. The EU is offering several billion euros for cooperation on migration controls. Whoever agrees to act as a gatekeeper for Europe is rewarded financially.

Police and soldiers from European countries are being sent to more and more African countries to help tighten up their border controls. Even dictatorships in Sudan and Eritrea are being made into European partners in the business of sealing off migration routes. The new policy is opening up new markets for European security and armaments firms looking to sell border control technology. African governments are using development funds to invest in cutting-edge equipment that they would otherwise be unable to afford. The African Union has criticized the measures. They are incompatible with its plans to establish freedom of movement across the continent — similar to the EU's Schengen Area.

Between November 2017 and February 2018, Jan M. Schäfer, Simone Schlindwein, Christian Jakob, the cameraman Thomas Schneider ("The Congo Tribunal") and sound engineer Pascal Capitolin in Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Niger, Senegal, Uganda, Sudan, Poland, Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Germany. The Berlin-based production company mobyDOK has produced. ZDF broadcasts the documentary in a slightly modified version on 16 August at 10:15 pm.

The book on which the film is based has been published by Ch. Links Verlag in 2017 and has been distributed as a special edition by the Federal Agency for Civic Education since April 2017. The authors summarize the results of their research project "Migration Control", which has been ongoing since 2016. (Taz)