Dossier European Governance of Migration

Dossier European Governance of Migration

Migrantas Plakat

Within the public debate the positive potential of immigration is often overlooked. Instead, it is treated as an “imminent threat”. Due to insufficient policies and the neglect of humanitarian obligation, the European Union is becoming less and less of a safe harbour for refugees. There are policy problems around the topic of illegal migration, which is developing into a severe humanitarian and political crisis.


Cover European Governance of Migration

A dossier about issues and problems that a common coherent European migration policy should adress.


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?

Demonstratiin in Hamburg am 2.11.2013 - "Rights for the Libyan Refugees"

In the policy paper commissioned by the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung Steffen Angenendt analyses the state of the current European migration policies and suggests principles for a common coherent migration policy in Europe.

Demonstration of migrants "sans papiers" in Paris

Umberto Melotti compares the immigration policies in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Italy to demonstrate a recent tendency towards a more common migration policy.

More Papers and Contributions

Refugee demonstration in Berlin, June 2013

Jakob von Weizsäcker identifies high-skilled immigration, irregular migration, and asylum as the main concerns and challenges of a European migration policy and formulates policy recommendations.

Logo IOM

Bernd Hemingway discusses the role of the International Organization of Migration in global migration, highlighting its involvement in the governance of European migration.

Conflicting policies affect migrants’ lives in the sending as well as receiving countries

Michele Wucker illustrates the consequences of conflicting policies which affect migrants’ lives in the sending as well as receiving countries.

European flags

Thomas Huddleston discusses the MIPEX project as a means to evaluate European migration policies and illuminate aspects of policy impacts.

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?

Demonstration for the human rights of the Libyan Refugees in Hamburg (June 2013)

James Wickham explores the conditions to design a European policy for skilled migration that also contributes towards social equity and social cohesion.

More Papers and Contributions

Protest sign for worker's rights

Martin Ruhs, member of the UK's new Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), introduces the committee's analysis and recommendations on "Labour shortages and immigration policy".

Migrants from Western Africa selling umbrellas on the central plaza in Torino, Italy

Emanuele Galossi and Maria Mora analyze discriminatory structures toward immigrants in the Italian labor market.

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?

Migrant workers picking broccoli

Jeff Dayton-Johnson, Denis Drechsler and Jason Gagnon from the OECD Development Centre discuss how low- and middle-income countries should manage migration to serve their own economic goals.


Kerala police at Vembanad lake in Kerala, India

Irudaya Rajan and K.C. Zachariah present the results of the new survey about the impact of emigration flows in Kerala, India.

Plus Minus

Hans Werner Mundt trades off positive against negative effects of migration and argues why a cooperative management of migration is needed.

Demonstration against racism in Ontario (2012)

Oded Stark analyzes the work effort given by illegal immigrants toward their jobs in their host country as an economic factor based on the prospect of expulsion and the risk of losing the host-wage which is higher than the home-country wage.

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?

The fence arround the Spanisch enclave of Melilla in 2006

Jean-Pierre Cassarino evaluates the increasing involvement of Maghreb countries in negotiations with the EU about migration policy highlighting that readmission policies remain problematic and demonstrate the unequal relationship between the EU member states and the Maghreb countries.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police Emergency Response Team (front) and the Canadian Coast Guard patroling the surroundings of a mock migrant vessel in Sydney

Don DeVoretz asks what are the appropriate and inappropriate uses of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, and religion in order to enhance border securityand proposes a group profiling based on a pedigree system.


Doris Peschke highlights the shared responsibility and the strategic use of the resettlement of refugees in the EU.