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Migration and development: security and economic interests prevail in EU’s policies

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Security and economic interests continue prevailing in the EU’s policy and institutional approach to migration and development, says CONCORD in their new policy paper “Coherence for migration and security – and what about development?”.

This paper addresses EU migration policies and Policy Coherence for Development, and the extent to which EU policies have effectively contributed to bring about sustainable development in developing countries.

CONCORD deeply regrets that the development goals, amongst which poverty eradication and the respect of human rights, are undermined by the emphasis on border controls and security concerns, both in terms of political priorities and financial and technical assistance.

“The EU and its members have signed up to the SDGs, acknowleding the positive contribution to migrants and migration to sustainable development. Its policies however shift towards reducing migration, preventing migrants from coming to Europe and encouraging their return" says Bob Van Dillen, Chair of the CONCORD Migration and Development Task Force.

CONCORD is convinced that migration can work for development and benefit the migrants, the EU destination countries and countries of origins. Therefore, CONCORD identified key recommendations to enhance the development perspective, translated in the integration of policy objectives that put humans, their rights and their legitimate aspiration for a decent life at the centre, while tackling the systemic issues as well as preventing forced migration and displacement in its external migration policies.

“Migrants are key development actors. Development potentials can evolve and be of benefit for both their residence and origin countries only when Human Rights are at the heart of migration policies” says Johannes Trimmel, CONCORD President. "CONCORD will keep advocating for rights-based migration and development policies to de-mystify misconceptions and avoid incoherence."

The current policies are pushing people towards irregular migration channels by, on one hand, building walls, following restrictive visa schemes, hardly offering opportunities for labour migration and on the other hand, contributing towards the conditions forcing people to move. The implementation of the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals is an opportunity to reemphasize the need for rights-based EU external migration policies and to promote coherence with longer-term development objectives.