The strategic importance of the development of the Sahel 

Hannelore Kußerow/Arno Meinken/Nikolaus Scholik


The long-lasting and intensifying situation in the Sahel represents one of the most challenging problems for the African continent itself as well as for the European Union on the opposite cost – or, depending on the approach – for the European national states. After correspondent preparation in the framework of the CNSS (Clausewitz Network for Strategic Studies in Hamburg at the Führungsakademie of the Bundeswehr), the authors of this interdisciplinary essay have intensively dealt with this problematic nature on the levels of resources stringency, population explosion, extremism and their security-political relevance for Europe. Especially because of the sustained refugees surges and migrations, together with the terroristic dangers, the development in the Near and Middle East and in Northern Africa represent a potential of dangers which cannot be negated or belittled any longer. Beginning with a scientifically sound analysis of the local circumstances in terms of living and development, including the factors population growth and the development of terrorist activities in the Sahel states, this essay gives the basics for an overall picture which is completed by a correspondent security-political analysis of the consequences. Thus, in this way, the strategic importance of this Region for Europe/the European Union is proven distinctly, and a serious political discussion together with distinct methods of resolution in the core areas is demanded. Overcoming the rapidly increasing refugees surges on the southern flanks of Europe is a humanitarian obligation, which certainly cannot replace the necessary improvement of the causes existing in the states of the Sahel. Neither the National European states affected by the rapidly increasing humanitarian challenges, nor the Union itself, seem to be aware of the comprehensive problematic nature, and to be willing to confront it in the framework of a European strategy which ought to surpass the Sahel plan mentioned above. This, however, ought to cause an antecedent and comprehensive alteration of the EU-Treaties in the direction of an integrative political lead. Thus, it must be stated clearly that, from experience, problems of such magnitudes and importance – apart from other problems on the north-eastern and eastern flanks of the Union – cannot be solved neither by the national member states of the EU on their own nor by a politically un-united Union, neither today nor in the near future.