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Migration is a centuries-old phenomenon which has brought nations and people together throughout history, contributing to the development of culture, science, mathematics and governance models. Today – as ever – migrants bring talent, skills, business and art to the countries which welcome them. Most are peaceful, industrious and proud of their adopted homelands. And yet, in many nations, the debate on migration has become entangled in often-toxic and negative diatribes disseminated by Far Right populists and increasingly embraced by mainstream political parties. As human mobility in the 21st century increasingly calls for managing migration flows, can a new narrative be written?
The New York Declaration of 2016 has been a start in the right direction. By agreeing to negotiate two new global compacts on migration and refugees, the world has agreed on the importance of regulating migration under a set of guiding principles. While the focus in Europe has very much been on its own ‘crisis’, this intergovernmentally-negotiated agreement shows that the challenges of dealing with human mobility are global in scope.
With the global compacts in mind, over 30 senior stakeholders in the fields of migration and refugees gathered on the side-lines of Friends of Europe’s annual State of Europe high-level roundtable, in October, under the chairmanship of His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan to identify recommendations for dealing with the key challenges. This summary report highlights key recommendations made at the meeting.