|3rd Preparatory Meeting: "The Role of Migrants in Euro-Mediterranean Relations"|
18 July 2007Annual ConferencesCERI, Paris, France
The CERI and the EuroMeSCo Secretariat organized on 18 July 2007 a meeting in Paris on the role of migrants in Euro-Mediterranean relations. This meeting was held in the framework of the preparations for a report on this same topic for the ministerial conference on migrations.
This is the 3rd meeting organized in the framework of the preparations for the EuroMeSCo annual conference, that would be held in Lisbon on 3-5 October, entitled A Common Agenda against Intolerance: Human Rights as a Shared Concern.
This meeting brought together nearly thirty researchers from the two shores of the Mediterranean.
The main three themes discussed during this meeting on the role of migrants were the deconstruction of the security approach (1), development (2) and migrants' rights (3).
The first session entitled the migrants are not a threat focused on the securitization of the migration phenomenon, or in other terms, on the European security policies and more particularly on the current practices towards the clandestine migrants. The fight against clandestine migration has resulted in the militarization of the EU Mediterranean borders, with the growing resorting to military forces and military technology (fixed-wing aircrafts, long-range patrol bombers and/or sophisticated radar systems), perceived to be more coercive and efficient than the «ordinary» police forces. These security measures are in fact disproportionate, especially that the rate of migrants entering illegally in Europe is still below 10% of the total number of illegal migrants. This hardening of frontiers is enforced by the involvement of South Mediterranean countries, or in other terms transit countries, in the protection of frontiers at long range.
The participants insisted, during the second session entitled migrants: a non capitalized potential, upon the importance of considering migrants as development actors. According to them, as well as development is a migration factor, migration is a development factor, both for the host country (the Spanish case is typical, considering the impact of migrations on the employment growth these last decades) and for the country of origin (thanks to the migrants' remittances, as well as to real and/or potential practices in co-development such as tourism projects). Some participants denounced the perversion of the co-development concept, which tends to be limited to the micro level and called on the experts to broaden the definition of this concept.
The third session entitled Rights in order to turn the migrants into actors of the euro-Mediterranean relationships stressed the need to create a new legal framework that would enable migrants to become actors, and even mediators, in the Euro-Mediterranean space. Participants urged to make way for residency citizenship (electoral and eligibility rights), so that migrants and foreign-born population could find suitable space of expression, associative participation, local, national and European representation for themselves, and could be established in the European space. Mobility should bring about more rights and not less rights.
To see the programme, please click here