High time for a strategic rethink

07 June 2017 - 19:00 - 07 June 2017 - 22:00

Europe’s conversation on the complex relationship between migration and development has become a simple, one-sided affair with development assistance often highlighted as a means to stop migration. Studies have shown, however, that immigration generally rises with economic development until countries reach upper-middle income status. The movement of people across borders is also a force for economic growth in host countries – Europe, for example, needs young migrants to compensate for its ageing population – while remittances help boost living standards in developing countries. The current political context and the increasing numbers of migrants and refugees arriving in Europe have sidelined such a nuanced and far-sighted discussion, however. The focus has shifted instead to stopping large-scale migrant flows, including through agreements with third countries, reinforced border controls and returning those who are found to be illegally in Europe. As development cooperation comes to be viewed as an important tool in efforts to manage migration flows, critics warn that the EU is departing from some of its long-standing principles, such as poverty eradication as the main objective of development cooperation, towards a new interest-based approach.

  • Is the EU right to focus on migration-related objectives in its development policy or is it time for a strategic rethink of EU approaches to migration and development?
  • What is the state of play of the European Agenda on Migration and how effective has it been in ensuring better migration management?
  • Beyond short-term fixes and emergency brakes on migration, how will an ageing Europe and a youthful Middle East, Africa and Asia co-exist in the long-term?
  • What sectors would reap the most economic rewards from migration flows into Europe?
  • With the World Bank warning that remittances are on the decline, what impact will this have on countries who have relied on them the most?
  • Are policy initiatives such as the German government’s “Compact with Africa” and “Marshall Plan with Africa” correct responses to Africa’s development needs?

IMAGE CREDIT: CC/Flickr — European Commission DG ECHO

19.00 – 19.30

Welcome and registration of participants

19.30 – 22.00

Policymakers’ dinner

Participants include:
Mina Jaf, Founder and Director of Women Refugee Route (WRR), Denmark
Anna Knoll, Head of Migration Programme at the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM)


End of dinner

Shada Islam
Director Europe & Geopolitics
Shada Islam is responsible for policy oversight of Friends of Europe’s initiatives, activities and publications. She has special responsibility for issues related to the Future of Europe, Migration, the Asia Programme and the Development Policy Forum. Shada is Visiting Professor at the College of Europe (Natolin) where she teaches Asia-Europe relations and has been selected as a fellow by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). She has been named as one of twenty most influential women in Brussels by Politico. Shada is the former Europe correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic Review and has previously worked on Asian and Migration issues at the European Policy Centre. She is one of the authors of Friends of Europe’s much-read “Frankly Speaking” commentary and is sought after as a speaker, commentator, columnist and moderator at high-level European and global events. Shada also continues to write on EU foreign and security policy, EU-Asia relations and trade and development issues for leading Asian, European and international publications and academic journals.
Development Policy Forum:
Amanda Rohde, Programme Executive
Tel: +32 2 893 98 11
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