Discussion paper by Giles Merritt and Shada Islam

Friends of Europe is launching an ambitious programme of discussions, publications and events that focus on the policy issues raised by the refugee and migrant crisis. Migration Action will highlight official, private sector and civil society initiatives and explore new ideas on Europe’s role and responses.

Political realities versus economic priorities

The solidarity of EU governments has been badly shaken by the influx of refugees and economic migrants, raising the possibility of an unravelling of the free movement of people among Schengen countries. But the case for absorbing active young newcomers into the European workforce is also persuasive, not least because by midcentury the EU’s ratio of workers to pensioners is set to drop from 4:1 to only 2:1. Which policies are needed to speed up the integration of many millions of migrants and refugees into European society, and which measures could ensure that they quickly contribute to economic growth rather than put the brakes on it?

Meeting the challenges of a multi-cultural Europe

Multi-cultural Europe is not dead. But the social and cultural challenges involved in adapting Europe to mass immigration are daunting. The EU’s 20m-strong Muslim population is now less than 4% of the total, but is forecast to grow to more than 10% by 2050. With the rise of Europe’s xenophobic Far Right parties and ISIS terrorist attacks now exacerbating tensions over immigration, what political steps should EU policymakers take to ensure the future of a diverse Europe? If a “Fortress Europe” approach is impracticable and undesirable, what should be the contours of a European immigration policy and what reforms are needed as regards social benefits and employment rules?

‘Migration Action’ is our contribution to assist in forging a clearer picture of migration flows and impact, bringing together relevant actors to develop coherent policy recommendations

The goals of the Migration Action are to:

  • Gather all the relevant stakeholders for a comprehensive and balanced discussion;
  • Exchange of best practices and case-studies;
  • Identify challenges and quick wins;
  • Present up-to-date and verified facts and figures to create conditions for a fair and evidence-based debate;
  • Develop concrete policy recommendations for national governments, European institutions and international organisations;
  • Reach out to European and national policymakers as well as to citizens to communicate the findings and recommendations of the Forum and to create buy-in across society;
  • Develop a clear and realistic narrative about migration to inform citizens and their political leaders.

Read the discussion paper “Win-win solutions to Europe’s refugee crisis: A 10-point approach to tackling the EU’s immigration and integration challenges” below. If it fails to load, or if you would prefer to read it offline, then you can also download a PDF version.

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