Just like the Roman emperor Nero who (at least euphemistically) fiddled while Rome burned, the EU continues to look to conquer new lands while it’s very infrastructure is collapsing.
The abject failure of the EU to deal with the migrant crisis and the banking crisis as well as a total unwillingness to face the fact that people don’t want “more EU” are forgotten as the EU seeks to form new closer relationships with Algeria.
An interesting choice of bedfellow you might think, until you read that
Algeria is one of the most relevant suppliers of natural gas to Europe
– ah, things suddenly become clearer. When you couple this with the fact that Algeria also has one of the
largest militaries in Africa and the largest defence budget on the continent; most of Algeria’s weapons are imported from Russia, with whom they are a close ally
you can see why a deal with Algeria would be a double slap in the face to Putin.
This move is driven by political machinations not sensible analysis.
Apart from the desire to reduce reliance on Russian gas and open up potential defence contracts for EU companies, does Algeria seem like a good fit for Europe in general terms?
Well, according to Wiki (with my emphasis);
Algeria has struggled to develop industries outside hydrocarbons in part because of high costs and an inert state bureaucracy. The government’s efforts to diversify the economy by attracting foreign and domestic investment outside the energy sector have done little to reduce high youth unemployment rates or to address housing shortages. The country is facing a number of short-term and medium-term problems, including the need to diversify the economy, strengthen political, economic and financial reforms, improve the business climate and reduce inequalities amongst regions.
Unemployment particularly affects the young, with a jobless rate of 21.5% among the 15–24 age group
Hmm, high youth unemployment, inert state bureaucracy, housing shortages, needing economic and financial reforms – sounds like they’ll fit right in!
But what is Algeria like? Honestly, I don’t know as I’ve never been there but here are some pointers;
On the Corruption Perception Index they rank 99th in the World – behind Mexico and Iran for example.
On the Human Development Index they rank 83rd in the World, being deemed less well developed than places like Cuba and the Lebanon.
In terms of GDP again they rank 99th in the World with a nominal GDP per capita of 4,206 USD – that’s lower than Libya and less than one tenth of the UK which is 43,734 USD.
And here’s what the Foreign Office advises.
So, on balance, are you just that little bit happier that we voted Leave back in June? I know I am.
And if you were a Remainer – is this really the sort of thing you were so desperate to sign up to?