Op-ed: Special Economic Zones for refugees – a postcolonial endavour for externalizing EU’s responsibilities towards refugees

Op-ed: Special Economic Zones for refugees – a postcolonial endavour for externalizing EU’s responsibilities towards refugees

Last week, GRS’ Martin Lemberg-Pedersen and external lecturer Mathias Søgaard wrote an op-ed for Point of View International criticizing the model of Special Economic Zones for refugees as being a continuation of the European postcolonial tradition.

In the op-ed, GRS’ Martin Lemberg-Pedersen and external lecturer Mathias Søgaard criticize Paul Collier’s analysis of European refugee politics, and Danish media’s uncritical use of him. Paul Collier’s specialty is within Development Economics and he is a strong proponent for closing the EU’s borders for refugees and instead advocates for the ‘creation of Special Economic Zones (SEZs)’ outside Europe and closer to the refugees’ countries of origin. His argument is that the refugee population should be helped to get jobs, which will assist the host country’s industrialization, while local and European companies can assist in fostering economic growth through export and investments.

The SEZs model, which is known in both India and Jordan, is sometimes referred to as Special Exploitation Zones, which instead of being a globalised capitalist endeavour to assist millions of vulnerable refugees has a track record of social dumping, with no unions, extremely low salaries and exploitation of workers.

Lemberg-Pedersen and Søgaard argues that the SEZs model is closer connected to a postcolonial continuation of the European tradition for creating economic growth through exploitation of communities from non-Western countries and thus have very little to do with the protection of migrants and has more to do with the EU’s self-interest in externalizing their asylum- and protection responsibilities.

Read the full op-ed here 

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