At present there is a wave of legal and illegal migration from North African countries into the EU. Such migration has a number of humanitarian, economic, social and political repercussions, affecting the migrants themselves as well as the host country. One major effect is the fuelling of racial hatred in the host countries. Another relates to the heavy pressure on the Mediterranean EU members to provide temporary food and shelter for the thousands of illegal migrants that manage to land through Europe's Southern borders in makeshift boats.
The flow of illegal migration has led to calls and plans to strengthen border security, and a "European security zone" for protection against illegal immigration via the Mediterranean Sea was proposed. There is an urgent need for governments to cooperate on this issue. Migration, legal and illegal, occurs to a large extent as a result of bad economic prospects and political instability in the countries of origin, and the issue is therefore not just one of improving border security, but also of promoting economic development and good governance in the North African Countries. The Euro-Med process could be an important factor in this regard.
Another consideration is that the EU member states need migrants, given the slow population growth rates, work preferences, and economic growth in EU member states. The issue of a properly thought out EU migration policy is therefore called for.
The Panellists will be asked to contribute papers on humanitarian, economic, social and political issues related to legal and illegal migration, and on the role that the Euro-Med Process can play in this regard. It is envisaged that there will be six panellists including the conveners.