Open the Borders! – Boosting Euro-Mediterranean Economic Mobility

Written by | Wednesday, February 15th, 2017
@Eubulletin

Ageing population, sectoral labor shortage, high unemployment, financial transfers, investment and decrease in active population are among the major reasons behind the need for more mobility throughout the Euro-Mediterranean region. Except for economic and demographics drivers, there are also political reasons – a deep multi-layer integration is possible only when economic mobility is made easier.

According to some policy makers, there should be a distinction between mobility and access to the labor market from border control and the fight against illegal immigration. Some observers think that the needs of partner countries must be taken care of instead of purely focusing on European priorities especially regarding migratory flows. In addition to fighting illegal immigration, the EU must propose an attractive Euro-Mediterranean policy of economic mobility so that Northern and Southern countries, and migrants themselves, can benefit from mobility. At the same time, all partner countries must create the conditions for a renewed trust in order to attack diaspora and mainly high-skilled migrants.

Moreover, the Southern countries – in particular Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and others – are beginning to change their opinion regarding their diasporas abroad – they are no longer seen as just a source of money but also as a powerful pool of skilled workers and “ambassadors“ who can contribute to the development of their home countries. In order to economize on diasporas, some countries are implementing different policies to strengthen economic, cultural and political bonds with their nationals abroad. To make most of the migrants’ remittances that are otherwise mostly invested in real estate, the governments and local banks should also promote different financial tools that would facilitate their injection into other sectors of the economy.

The EU countries should, however, recognize the importance of the economic dynamics of the Mediterranean diaspora living in Europe and their contribution to job creation. Northern countries, and particularly Spain, France and Italy, should therefore encourage more mobility and easier access to the labor market, making it easier for migrants to pursue a professional career in Europe. Migrants’ skills must be involved in the economic development both in the South and in the North, having “one foot in the North and one foot in the South”.

‘Boosting Euro-Mediterranean Economic Mobility’ – a Report by Philippe Fargues, Herve? Le Bras and Farida Souiah – L’Institut de Prospective Economique du Monde Méditerranéen – IPEMED (The Mediterranean World Economic Foresight Institute)

(The study can be downloaded here)

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