International migration is one of the most prominent challenges of societies today. According to official statistics of the United Nations, in 2005 nearly 200 million people were classified as international migrants - 56.1 million of them live in the European Union (7.7 percent of the entire European population). These figures make quite clear the significance that the issue of migration has for countries with considerable emigration, as well as for countries encountering heavy immigration. In particular, western European and North American nations could barely sustain their national economies and the standard of living of their current societies, without a specific and continuous quantity of skilled labour and manpower.
In the course of global trends towards mobility and freedom of movement, the limits on cross-boarder transport of goods and capital have been abolished in the European Union. Above all, the highly qualified workers profit from the increased freedom of mobility and circulation. This new freedom and freedom of movement, however, is accompanied by intensified control of the EU's outside borders.
The decreasing population size, the aging of societies as well as the declining workforce in many European countries have pushed the question of immigration higher up on the political agenda. The EU migration policy needs urgently to be reformed more than ever before in the past years. Migration can deliver some of the answers to Europe's pressing questions concerning the labour market, demographic changes and securing the social welfare system. Due to the complexity of the issue, nation states and governments are extremely overburdened with the challenges of managing migration as single actors. A contemporary migration and integration policy can therefore only be a European one. The European Union's migration policy must be integrated into the European economic and social agenda.
The international conference "European Governance of Migration" takes place in the run up to the second UN conference Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD). The Berlin conference in September 2008 should develop further ideas and impulses for the GFMD debate in Manila in October. The conference "European Governance of Migration" will bring together well known experts and actors in politics, academics, economics, and civil society from Europe and North America as well as from the sending countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. High level representatives in politics particularly from the European Commission and the UN are expected to be in attendance. During the three day conference, the participants will have the opportunity to exchange perspectives, to create options and strategies for co-operation and to formulate concrete recommended actions for a European migration policy.
- Opening Speech by Ralf Fücks, Co-President of the Heinrich Böll Foundation
- Dossier European Governance of Migration