Migration in Europe

Caritas urges EU to see migration as opportunity for development

Caritas Europa has pleaded with EU policy-makers to see migration not just as a challenge, but as an opportunity for development.

Driving the news

The Church aid organisation, which brings together agencies in 46 European countries, presented Wednesday in the European Parliament “Common Home:  migration and development in Europe and beyond”.

That report brings together case studies on the integration of migrants from 11 European countries – Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Sweden – as well as analysis of other European and international statistics.

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The principal conclusion of the new Caritas report is that migration can have highly positive aspects for both sending and receiving nations.

“In Caritas’ view, under the right conditions, migration can contribute to the integral human development of migrants and of members of both countries of destination and countries of origin”, said Maria Nyman, Secretary General of Caritas Europa.

That is, provided that politicians create the right conditions to defuse any tension around new arrivals in host countries.

“We need policy-makers that are willing to stand up and to be bold, to really make sure that migration is not only seen as a challenge but also as an opportunity for the sustainable development of all”, explained Davide Gnes, Caritas Europa Policy and Advocacy Officer.

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Why it matters

In the report, Caritas gave EU politicians a series of 27 recommendations designed to ensure the dignity and rights of migrants and to guarantee asylum protection standards, aid effectiveness and sustainable development principles.

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Those recommendations are grouped under three headings:

  1. Change the negative discourse on migration, counter rising hostility and harmful attitudes toward migrants and migration.
  2. Maximise the development potential of migration and enhance migrants’ integral human development in countries of destination.
  3. Maximise the development potential of migration, enhance opportunities for migrants to be able to contribute in countries of origin, and ensure a virtuous circle between migrations and development.

Among other goals, Caritas said it is important to “foster a culture of encounter and promote a positive narrative on migration”.

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