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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Gov’t urged to seize prospects for better migration deal with new provincial government in Germany

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By Alagie Manneh

The government of The Gambia has been advised to grab “a rare opportunity” and re-negotiate a better migration deal for its citizens in Germany’s Baden-Württemberg state.

Following a state election last month, the Greens and Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU are expected to form the next coalition administration of Baden-Württemberg on 12 May.

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The Greens, who formed the majority following the elections, have set out a number of “progressive humanitarian policies” that the Gambia must take advantage of to push for a better migration deal for its citizens in Baden-Württemberg, according to Yaya Sonko, a Germany-based Gambian activist and the newly-elected speaker of Refugee Council of Germany.

Baden-Württemberg, one of the richest states in Germany, is home to some 15,000 Gambian migrants.

“This is good news and I am calling on the Barrow government to take advantage of this development and restart some positive, transparent and fruitful negotiations with this incoming government of Baden-Württemberg,” Mr Sonko told The Standard from his base. “They are going to bring humanitarian refugee policies that will protect and help integrate migrants’ stay in Germany.”

The activist largely blamed the deportations on the current interior minister of Baden-Württemberg, Thomas Strobl, who he described as the “stumbling block”.

“Thomas Strobl wanted to deport as many Gambians as possible,” said Sonko, adding a shift in policies is now inevitable.

“If you look at the way deportations were carried out previously and how it will be carried out under this new government here, it will be different. This new government would want to bring a more humanitarian migration policy that will help increase the prospects for stay for the already integrated migrants. They plan to do this by reaching out to migrants in jobs, or in vocational trainings. They believe those people should be given a chance to stay in Germany since they have been here for years,” he stressed. 

“What our government in The Gambia can do is to come to the negotiating table and have a discussion with the authorities because clearly, these lofty ideals are not just going to come into effect like that. Yes, they are a programme of this new government but our government can take advantage of it and have a serious discussion with the Germans. Our technocrats should come and talk with them. Other countries will take advantage of this to negotiate a better deal for their citizens,” the Niumi FM proprietor stated.  

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