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Migration and development: some concrete orientations

The Commission has put forward some new initiatives to improve the impact of migration on development. It has developed a package of practical measures to make remittances easier, enhance the role of diasporas * in the Member States as actors of home country development, encourage circular migration and return * to the country of origin and, lastly, mitigate the adverse effects of brain drain.

ACT

Commission Communication to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 1 September 2005 -Migration and Development: some concrete orientations [COM(2005) 390 final - Not published in the Official Journal]

SUMMARY

The Commission has put forward some new initiatives to improve the impact of migration on development. It has developed a package of practical measures based on various themes, namely:

  • remittances;
  • enhancing the role of diasporas in the Member States;
  • encouraging circular migration * and facilitating return to the country of origin;
  • mitigating the adverse effects of brain drain.

Remittances (Annexes 2 and 3)

The Commission plans to make remittances easier. They are to be treated as private transfers. However, remittances cannot be regarded as a substitute for Official Development Assistance.

With a view to facilitating remittances, the Commission advocates:

  • encouraging partnerships between micro-finance institutions and mainstream financial institutions;
  • providing funding to joint projects by diaspora organisations and local organisations so as to support local development.

With a view to promoting cheap, fast and secure ways of sending remittances, the Commission envisages:

  • improving data collection to better understand the size of migrant remittance flows. The Commission intends to launch studies in various fields (households, the remittance industry, cost structures, etc.);
  • improving transparency of remittances. The Commission is planning to adopt a proposal for a Directive on payment services with a view to requiring payment service providers to make charges more transparent for customers. With the aim of stimulating competition in the field, the Directive will oblige Member States to establish a register of authorised payment institutions (including money transfer operators);
  • creating a harmonised legal framework. By adopting the Directive on payment services, the Commission intends to establish a level playing field with harmonised licensing provisions throughout the European Union;
  • facilitating the introduction of new technology. To that end, the Commission proposes making financial support available to pilot projects;
  • improving access to financial markets.

Enhancing the role of diasporas in the Member States (Annex 4)

The Commission wishes to promote participation of diasporas in the development of their home countries by:

  • helping countries to map their diasporas. To that end, the Commission could support the setting-up of databases where members of diasporas interested in contributing to home countries' development can register on a voluntary basis and invite Member States to engage with diaspora organisations which could be representative interlocutors in development policy;
  • encouraging youth exchange schemes focused in particular on migrant communities;
  • promoting integration and citizenship. To that end, the Commission has presented the guidelines set out in its Communication of 1 September 2005 concerning a framework for the integration of third-country nationals into the European Union.

Encouraging circular migration and facilitating return to the country of origin (Annex 5)

The Commission wishes to foster the transfer of skills to the developing world. To achieve this end, it plans to:

  • encourage circular migration by giving priority for further temporary employment to workers who have already worked under such schemes and have returned at the end of their contract;
  • facilitate return migration with a view to ensuring the successful reintegration of migrants. It calls on the Member States to share their experience in managing short-term return programmes and proposes measures such as the transferability of pension rights or recognition of qualifications;
  • build upon temporary or virtual return programmes *, i.e. by setting up e-learning schemes, facilitating networking between foreign researchers working in the EU, supporting projects by migrants to set up sustainable economic activities in their countries of origin and identifying best practice in areas such as secondments or sabbatical leave.

Mitigating the adverse effects of brain drain in developing countries (Annex 6)

Brain drain has negative consequences for developing regions. To counter its effects, the Commission has proposed:

  • setting up databases for developing countries wishing to improve their knowledge of the labour market;
  • disciplining recruitment. It encourages the Member States to develop mechanisms such as codes of conduct to limit recruitment which could generate a brain drain;
  • fostering institutional partnerships (research institutes, universities, hospitals, etc.) between the European Union and developing countries.

Follow-up to the Communication (Annex 7)

Some of the practical measures envisaged by the Commission are ready to be implemented. Others will require further discussion and analysis.

However, the Commission emphasises the need for a dialogue:

  • between the Commission and the Member States. This must be a multi-disciplinary dialogue focusing on all the fields mentioned in the Communication. It should focus in particular on the coordination of national policies with Community policies;
  • between the European Union and developing third countries;
  • between the Commission and the relevant international organisations;
  • with other stakeholders (NGOs, social partners and civil society, with a special focus on diasporas).

Background

Migration and development offer significant potential for furthering development goals.
This text follows up a Communication dated 3 December 2002 clarifying the links between migration and development. It builds on the Communication by suggesting a number of key initiatives and promoting cohesion between the two policy areas.

Key terms used in the act
  • Diaspora: a migrant community which comprises persons with the nationality of the country of origin and persons who have acquired the nationality of the host Member State.
  • Return: comprises forced repatriation from the host Member State and voluntary return to the country of origin; however, this text focuses on voluntary return.
  • Circular migration: any arrangements which make it easier for migrants or former migrants to circulate, or travel back and forth, between the country of origin and the (former) country of residence.
  • Virtual return: any system whereby a migrant's country of origin can benefit from his skills or know-how without him returning to the country in person (i.e. essentially by virtue of information and communication technologies).

RELATED ACTS

Communication from the Commission to the Council - Contribution to the EU Position for the United Nations' High Level Dialogue on Migration and Development [COM(2006) 409 final - Not published in the Official Journal].
This Communication is the Commission's contribution to the United Nations' High Level Dialogue on Migration and Development, which took place on 14-15 September 2006. It sets out current EU policy in the different areas discussed and puts forward certain suggestions as regards the provisions proposed in the light of the Report presented by the Secretary-General of the United Nations on 6 June. Among the issues discussed, the Commission reiterates the EU belief that managing migration is a shared responsibility of countries of origin, transit and destination, and that the EU has developed comprehensive policy approaches to the integration of migrants, since effective integration policies are key to ensuring that migration works to the benefit of both host countries and the migrants themselves. As regards the follow-up to the High Level Dialogue, the Commission welcomes the Secretary-General's proposal to establish a Permanent Forum to share experiences; it believes that this Forum should take the form of an informal, voluntary and non-binding process. It also believes that the proposed forum would have greater added value if it were to concentrate its work as a matter of priority on those issues where there is a potential to achieve concrete progress for the development of countries of origin, based on the actual experiences of participating States and organisations.

Last updated: 09.07.2007
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