The ‘New Pact on Migration and Asylum’ initiative is perhaps the most holistic attempt that the European Commission has ever undertaken to address Europe’s migration challenges.
Despite the difficult migration situation in many Member States, this proposal focuses more on the external dimension. As most of the EU’s migration challenges have their roots outside Europe it is extremely important to address and eliminate - as much as possible - the effective root causes of migration to our continent.
One measure that the EU can focus on to achieve this is the appropriate use of the new Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) – ‘Global Europe’ instrument.
This can be a key tool for the EU in reducing migration flows by stimulating the economic growth and development of partner countries. Multilateral cooperation, aimed at stimulating economic growth based on stability, resilience and creating employment opportunities in developing countries, can help significantly reduce the drivers of forced and irregular migration.
A more coherent and effective multilateral development cooperation is also needed to help stabilise and prevent conflicts and facilitate peacebuilding in developing countries.
Addressing the root causes and drivers of forced and irregular migration is not only in our interests, but also in the interests of our partner countries, as it contributes to the sustainable and long-term development of their nations too.
I would also like to draw attention to the problem of brain drain. Legal emigration of highly qualified citizens drains countries of their human capital and seriously hampers their economic and social development by depriving them of an educated workforce.
“Migration is a challenge, but we have the tools, which we should use wisely, to take a step in the right direction”
The future EU Talent Partnerships – an initiative within the New Pact on Migration and Asylum - should address this issue, and we should take on board lessons from the recent EU pilot projects on legal migration to ensure that qualified workers do not have to leave their home countries, as they are needed there to build a better future for coming generations.
We should also focus on strengthening our efforts in tracing and combatting criminal smuggling networks. We need to develop a comprehensive approach, in cooperation with the governments of third countries, and strengthen our international law enforcement cooperation.
Last, it is very important that we involve parliaments, civil society and NGOs, local authorities and the private sector in both Europe and our partner countries, as well as diaspora organisations, in defining and evaluating new and existing strategies.
Particularly important in this context are religious entities, which play a key role in partner countries, including in conflict resolution. Religious actors and faith-based organisations are now present at every stage of the conflict transformation cycle.
They work in peace education and conflict prevention, in mediation and conflict resolution, in interreligious dialogue, in building networks of local leaders for peace, in social reconstruction and trauma work, and in the academies and courts where human rights are given theoretical depth and cross-cultural grounding.
Migration is a challenge, but we have the tools, which we should use wisely, to take a step in the right direction.