Dossier European Governance of Migration



This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Challenges & Concepts

Europe faces major migration policy challenges. In many regions of the world, the pressure to emigrate is increasing, and more people than ever are attempting to escape political violence, oppression, lack of economic prospects and environmental changes and seeking a better future for themselves and their families in the EU member states. At the same time, due to aging and shrinking European populations, the need for immigration is growing. To date, however, there is no societal or political consensus on the management of this migration and the growing ethnic and cultural diversity. Uncertainty prevails in regard to the number of immigrants that are needed or wanted, the tools to be used to guide this migration, and the ways in which immigrants should be integrated.

What issues and problems should a European migration policy address? How can a common coherent European migration policy be developed?

Migration & Labor Market

In the EU member states, the regulations on labor migration lack transparency, legitimacy and efficiency. Due to demographic changes within the European Union the need for a foreign labor force is evident. However, Europe lacks the tools to manage labor migration based on the qualifications of the immigrants, without displacing its domestic work force. Receiving public acceptance of labor migration policies is crucial in order to successfully integrate immigrants into European labor markets.
Are there mechanisms in the European Union for a coherent policy management on human capital and labor migration in Europe? Do European governance bodies exist to coherently manage and control labor migration? Is a governance of labour migration possible in light of the different situations of the labor markets in the member states? Does the EU Enlargement have an influence on the labor migration policies within the European Union?

Migration & Development

The connection between migration and development is overlooked in migration policies. Yet this connection has positive potential through the monetary flows of remittances and the impacts of diaspora communities both for the host countries and the countries of origin. The effects of “brain drain” however can often harm countries due to the emigration of their most qualified workforce. Recently many countries of emigration are experiencing the return of the well-educated and highly qualified, creating the counter phenomenon of “brain gain”.

How can the potential of migration become an element of European and international development collaborations? How can remittances be specifically used for poverty reduction and development?

Forced Migration, Resettlement & Asylum

The fragmented and unsystematic migration policy of the member states and the lack of opportunities for legal immigration contribute to the abuse of asylum rights and the increase in irregular migration. The continuously declining absorbed refugee quotas in the European Union demonstrate that most EU member states are increasingly unwilling to fulfil their humanitarian obligations and shared responsibility to protect asylum ssekers, create new opportunities for the absorption of quota refugees and resettlement programs. The access to the asylum process for individual immigrants, arriving independently of the quota system, must be improved. These three approaches, refugee absorption quotas, resettlement programs and asylum processes, can help create a policy that will set an international standard.

How can a European asylum, resettlement and humanitarian policy be developed within the framework of a common European migration and asylum policy? Which governance structures already exist in order to coordinately manage migration between Africa and Europe? Which conflicting and common interests can be identified (i.e. remittances vs. brain-drain)? What effect do campaigns for legalization have on immigrants and the European migration policy? How can the issue of security of the vulnerable as well of the sovereign states be addressed accordingly? How can human rights and humanitarian organizations be involved in the European migration and development policy?