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Foreign Relations & Migration

Governmental and non-governmental actors in the fields of foreign affairs and development on the one hand, and migration and mobility on the other hand, have consistently found it difficult to come to a common understanding of international migration. The view that migration is harmful rather than beneficial, and should be restricted rather than facilitated, has dominated the policies of the EU and its Member States.

However, there are areas of overlap between the migration and development agendas, including remittances, ‘brain circulation’, migrant philanthropy and investments by migrants in their home countries. Here, the emphasis is on maximising the benefits that migration can bring to sending and receiving countries as well as individual migrants. Migration has also become an area of negotiation between states, in the framework of regional agreements or of the WTO GATS negotiations.

MPG has promoted these ideas on various occasions, for example at the European Parliament on 20 February 2003 at the Parliamentary Group of the Party of European Socialists’ conference on ‘Migration & Development – The Missing Link’ a paper on GATS mode 4 was presented by Jan Niessen at the EPC-KBF Migration Dialogue on 28 October 2003.

On 9 June 2004, MPG organised a Transatlantic Dialogue on Migration and Foreign Relations in Brussels. The seminar discussed policy options for linking migration and development, including remittances and the circulation of skills. Participants included members of the European Migration Dialogue, policymakers and representatives of development organisations.

The Transatlantic Dialogue on Migration and Foreign Relations was based on a series of country reports, available in the MPG publication ‘International Migration and Relations with Third Countries: European and US Approaches’, May 2004.

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