Doc. 11085
23 October 2006

Migration in Europe : a constant challenge

Motion for a recommendation
presented by Mr Çavuşoğlu and others

This motion has not been discussed in the Assembly and commits only the members who have signed it

1.       Worldwide international migration has reached about 200 millions, which is 3% of the world’s population, more than doubling the figure from 1980. Migrants make up about 8 % of the population of Europe, which equals some 60 million persons. In many countries it is the most important factor for population growth. Certain sectors of the economy are heavily dependent on migrant workers. Most European countries are countries of origin and/or destination of migrant movements and some are transit countries.

2.       Migration in Europe has two major components, i e migration among European countries and migration from non-European countries into Europe. The former is more and more becoming a question of mobility where migration to a first country can be followed by onward migration to a second or third country and where return migration is also playing an increasingly important role. Migration into Europe is, however, still dominated by traditional immigration for resettlement and the acquisition of a new citizenship in the host country.

3.       Over the last ten years, Europe has witnessed a yearly inflow of some 500,000 would-be-migrants. While originally a majority of these were asylum seekers, today they represent a minority, because of stricter asylum-rules. Due to limited possibilities for regular migration, the newly arrived increasingly opt for an irregular status. The number of irregular migrants in Europe is estimated to be between 3 and 5 millions, and their arrival often depends on criminal activities such as human smuggling and trafficking.

4.       The integration of migrants in their host country has proved to be more difficult than was originally anticipated. New policies and new approaches in this field are therefore urgently needed to reduce the tensions that have resulted from a lack of integration.

5.       The increasing migration push towards Europe has resulted in stricter border controls and the sending back of would-be-migrants. Europe is at present not able to host and integrate this large number of potential immigrants. Co-operation with countries of origin and transit is therefore increasingly needed to diminish the migration pressure and to address the root causes of this migration.

6.       The Council of Europe can assist in improving member governments’ policies and policy measures in dealing with problems linked to migration, refugees and asylum in different manners, focusing on its core areas of competence. The Parliamentary Assembly therefore recommends to the Committee of Ministers to use the Council of Europe to:

6.1.       strengthen the dialogue and encourage more cooperation between countries of origin, transit and destination of migrant movements;

6.2.       contribute to the integration of migrants in their democratic host countries, observing the rule of law;

6.3.       promote intercultural understanding, dialogue and tolerance;

6.4.       defend the rights of migrants, refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced persons (IDPs);

6.5.       continue the fight against trafficking in human beings and other forms of organised crime linked to irregular migration, while protecting the rights of the victims;

6.6.       give particular attention in this work to migrant children;

6.7.       pay more attention to the situation of migrant workers and their families and to migrant students.

Signed 1:

1     SOC: Socialist Group
       EPP/CD: Group of the European People’s Party
      ALDE: Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
      EDG: European Democratic Group
      UEL: Group of the Unified European Left
      NR: not registered in a group