The European Migration Dialogue (EMD) was a partnership of civil society organisations in 17 countries aiming to promote and facilitate a well-informed debate on migration and migration policies.
EMD partners met once a year in Brussels to review the migration agenda, to identify priorities and to develop and maintain working relationships with the European institutions. In each country, the partners also sought to link the European and national agendas by disseminating information about EU developments and by convening an annual national dialogue meeting. These meetings aimed to reach a wider group of stakeholders at the national level.
The European Migration Dialogue was a partnership of civil society organisations aiming to promote and facilitate a well-informed debate on migration and migration policies. Monitoring national developments resulted in a series of Migraiton Country reports containing information on immigration management in 18 European countries covering the terms of the policy debates on migration, the stakeholders, and national legislation in comparison with proposed Directives.
The partners included:
- NGOs with a strong track record in human rights and advocacy work
- Think tanks, academic institutes and foundations that combine research activities with an interest in policies, and have links with civil society
- Service delivering organisations providing advice and support to migrants while being active in policy development as well
- Coalitions of various stakeholders
MPG identified partner organisations in 16 countries during a series of roundtables in 2001-2002 and co-ordinated the EMD as the international partner. Switzerland joined the project in 2002.
The EMD built on the premise that to achieve effective EU migration policies, more non-governmental stakeholders should be involved in the debates. A well-informed debate about concrete policy initiatives and opinions is the best way to avoid technocratic decisions and to improve the quality of policies. Such a debate must take place at the national as well as at the European level, as European policies have national and local impact and as the decision-making process in the Union place national governments at the centre of responsibility.
In order to be effective at the national level, non-governmental actors therefore need to include a European dimension in their work. This includes stakeholders in new member states and associated states such as Norway and Switzerland. Non-governmental actors can best shape a debate if they are connected with key stakeholders in their own country and in other countries, and if they have direct access to information on European developments. Knowledge of legislative initiatives as well as of governmental and non-governmental positions on these initiatives can help organisations working in old and new EU Member States and associated states to influence the European policy agenda.
The European Migration Dialogue therefore sought to advance discussions by monitoring and disseminating information on European developments and exchanging information on positions taken by governments and key non-governmental stakeholders with regard to these developments. The partnership aimed to link European debates and national debates and to extend them to a wider group of stakeholders at national level. It facilitated working relationships between national organisations from different states and between these organisations and European institutions and actors.
The partners met once a year in Brussels to review the migration agenda, to identify priorities and to develop and maintain working relationships with the European institutions. In each country, the partners also co-ordinated a national network to disseminate information on EU policies, to link the European and national agendas and to strengthen the involvement of other non-governmental actors in the debates. This entailed the convening of an annual national meeting. MPG assisted the national partners by monitoring, assessing, and disseminating information about EU developments in the immigration field. MPG promoted interaction between the partners, as well as the dialogue between the partners and the European institutions.
The EMD produced and updated a series of country reports on immigration debates in Europe. The reports identify the main topics of discussion at the national level, analyse the positions taken by different actors in the debate, and assess the role of the European dimension. They also list and describe the governmental and non-governmental stakeholders involved in formulating and influencing immigration and integration policy. The first series of reports was published in 2003.
The European Migration Dialogue received funding under the INTI budget line for a period of 18 months starting on 1 April 2004. At the September 2005 meeting that concluded the INTI period, the updated country reports were presented as the ‘Current Immigration Debates in Europe’ publication.
In 2006, EMD partners continued their activities by organizing one national meeting per country and by meeting once in Brussels to set common priorities. The country reports were then updated. Working groups were formed within the EMD to pursue particular interests within the migration and integration field.