The Directorate General for Research and Innovation of the European Commission organised a two-day conference to explore and demonstrate how European research can support policy makers in designing effective and sustainable migration policies. To this end, past and current research on migration were presented and debated from a policy perspective. During the conference the evidence base of policies, research and innovation in support of refugees, integration and societal impact of migration, health and migration and climate change as a source of migration were discussed.

Re-occurring topics during the conference were changes in the nature of migration into Europe over recent decades (an increasing diversity of migrant populations and increasingly flexible responses of migrants to opportunities in destination countries, often facilitated by social media), a wish for an objective perspective to inform policies and political discourses (e.g. through a better understanding of histories of migration; a detailed understanding of sources of migration, the contribution of migration to demographic change and economic valorisation of immigration were ruled out as stable guidelines for policy making) and a need to understand current challenges from multiple perspectives.

An important topic that was discussed throughout the conference was a distinction among regular and irregular migration. The current acceptance/denial of migrants on the grounds of European regulations raised ethical concerns. That refugees entering European countries are not provided with basic health services was associated with a lack of political will to accept them, not with a lack of analytical knowledge about medical cures, for instance.

For conference presentations: see here

Image: Warren Richardson, winning entry World Press Photo 2016

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