Migration to and through Europe: Challenges and Management

By

Migration to and through Europe: Challenges and Management

 

 

TIME:  13:00 – 14:00, Wednesday 7th February 2018

VENUE: Committee Room 2, House of Lords, Palace of Westminster, London SW1A OPA


SPEAKER:

Dr. Michael Spindelegger
Director General of International Center for Migration Policy Development
and Former Vice-Chancellor of Austria

 

 

00:00 – 01:21: Audience chatter.


The Rt Hon. The Lord Risby

Ladies and gentlemen, may I warmly welcome you here this afternoon to what I think is going to be a very fascinating discussion. And on behalf of everyone, I would like to thank the Henry Jackson Society for sponsoring this event. They do such a great deal to link us with interesting speakers, and of course we look forward to one of the most interesting today. I would particularly like to welcome his Excellency, the Austrian ambassador here today, it’s a great pleasure to see him again. We are also very lucky to have the Bulgarian ambassador who has the presidency, but you’re having the presidency next time so there we go. But it’s excellent and thank you so much for coming. It really is an immense personal pleasure for me to introduce Michael Spindelegger. He, of course, has been a public figure in the life of Austria with great distinction, having been foreign minister, vice-chancellor, and indeed we got to know each a few years ago when we did a project together in Vienna, called the modernization of Ukraine, which was a fascinating exercise, which Michael carried through for us. He is of course today, secretary-general the International Center for Migration Policy Development, and it’s worth saying it is supported by 15 member-states, it has the support of the European Commission, United Nations and others, and what it seeks to do is analyse and do the groundwork for one of the most important problems of this era, and particularly for those of us who live in Europe. And nobody is better qualified to have some thoughts on these subjects and indeed to offer some solutions. Michael it’s a huge pleasure for me to welcome you to the Palace of Westminster, and we very much look forward to what you have to say.

Dr. Michael Spindelegger

Thank you so much to Rigby, to Richard, Excellences, members of the House of Lords, ladies and gentlemen. It is a great pleasure for me to be guest of this wonderful Henry Jackson Society, and to be your guest, Richard in the House of Lords. And to talk you about one of the, I think, more interesting issues of our times of migration to Europe, through Europe, and all the challenges around this.

But first I would like to introduce myself and my institution, as you have mentioned I have been for a long time involved in politics in Austria, I have been serving as foreign minister, afterwards as a minister of finance, I was party leader before that also, and in the government as the vice-Chancellor. At that time I should inform you about the current government, I had the idea in 2011, to introduce a new post in the government, and this was the state secretary for migration. I thought it was necessary to have someone being really responsible for that and I have been choosing at that time a young guy, at 24 years old, his name is Sebastian Kurz, who is now the Chancellor of Austria. From that time I really know him, and I wish him all the luck you can have to lead a government now in Austria.

But about the organization, ICMPD, I now for two years am the director-general, and what we are doing is different issues concerning migration. Three pillars, one pillar is research work, of course it is necessary to know about the root causes, I will talk about this, the second pillar is capacity building, what we are doing is giving concepts to states helping them train the trainers. For example Lebanon, is a country where you have so much refugees from Syria. We are training all the people doing the services on the border side, be it border police, be it the army, be it also customs. So this is what we are doing in capacity building. And the third pillar us, we are running the dialogues, there are a lot of dialogues between Europe and Africa, Khartoum Process and Rabat Process. As well as with the East, Budapest Process and the Prague Process. We are the secretariat for these processes and dialogues. We are doing a lot of agenda and a lot of projects around these dialogues, and I think this is one of the most important things that we can do as European countries.

And so this brings me to the issue. I think what we can say today is, we as Europeans with our geography, with our political system, and social system, we can’t welcome everybody that wants to live in our countries. And on the other hand we cannot really restrict anybody to come. We need both. We need migration and, on the other hand, we need control. And this is the issue that we have to deal with, we may ask that we are discussing these issues now on the level of the United Nations. The global compacts on migration, the global compact on refugees. Yes we would like to come to an end in the December this year, it is foreseen that in Morocco this year the last session, and decision from the all member states United Nations. I think we should not underestimate this processes, because for the first time, all the states around the world are dealing together with fighting against smugglers, how to cooperate in the field of border management, all these issues that are so necessary are for the first time discussed on a real global level. That’s good. But we should not overestimate the process, whatever the outcome will be it will not solve the problems on the ground. And I think if you have a good to the map; Europe, Africa, the East. I think it is very clear that we have to meet the challenges as European countries. A lot will come to us, and I think if he have a look at facts and figures, and I have brought some with me from the last year. I think it’s very clear that we have to make-up our proposals on how to deal with the whole situation and the challenges.
About facts and figures. Of course, for the last year we have 258 million migrants all over the world. This is a percentage of 3.5 percent of the whole population on the Earth. 258 million this is a huge number. Of course if you have a look to the last ten years, of course, it’s in Greece, we always had about 2-3 percent, now we have for the first time about 3.5 percent of the world’s population being migrants. And if you look more at the detail of refugees. Being those of the Geneva Convention 1951, and all the internally displaced persons we had last year a number of 67 million, also I think this is number where we can see we have a lot of conflict all over the world, not only in Syria, but in Iraq and problems in Afghanistan. And so of course, this is also an increasing number of refugees.

And what are the real root causes, one of them is war, conflict in regions. I think all can understand this is happening in Syria and this made the flow come to Europe, but there is a second reason economic disparities, you can also imagine in times like this, you have every information on your cell phone – you can imagine how life is going on in different countries and this of course motivates some people going aboard and to start a new life somewhere else. But there are also socio-economic disparities in the countries, if you have a look, especially to African countries, we can see better economic growth rate than in Europe. So life is coming better and better, and exactly this is one of the reasons why people are leaving because now they have the money for the smugglers to live and so my institute has made a lot of research work for that. We are thinking about ten years you need when we have better life in all these countries, better economic situation. Ten years you will have more and more migration from these countries, because now you will have the opportunity to go. So after ten years you will have a change, but for the next ten years this will be a challenge.

And yes if you have look at all these different issues, there comes a fourth root cause that is demographic situation. If you have a look between the averages of people in the different countries, you have the country in Africa, which the country with the average age, the youngest one it is Niger, the average age is 15 years. And if you have a look to European countries like countries like mine, Austria, you have an average of 41. And if you have a look as what to come in 2050, you will have Niger with 15 years and you will have Austria with 48 years. Also this gives I think a lot of reasons that there is an exchange, that people with such a young population will suffer for chances or opportunities and some of them. I hope that a limited number will leave.

So what would I like to say to that? I think most important reason is when we look to the surroundings of European countries, in the south we have the African continent, with a forecast of much more people living there, 2050 they will have double citizenship than today. 2.4 billion people will live in Africa. And also if you have a look to the East, especially in countries like Afghanistan we will have an increase in people and of course this will also stay as a real challenge for European countries.

So with this you will ask, what is the solution? What could to be done? What are the measures we have to decide to take? And to be very clear, there is no measure you can have that we control the situation. What you do is better management of the situation. To start with partnership, to start with different measures, and I would like to summarise it, what we have found out is, what really could be a issue for the future. First of all is we have to think about our protection system, because at the moment to be very frank, somebodies are rewarded if they get to Europe, irregular immigration is rewarded with a procedure. If someone is paying a smuggler and putting a feet on European ground. Then everything start, not before. So this is really what we would like to have in the future? That you have to come, you have to pay a smuggler and then you get a procedure where people will find out if you are a refugee and if you can stay in or not. I think this is one of the main issues, where we have to think about and I would like to add, of course, from the situation from now it is really important, to have a better integrated border management.

Of course this not just about border control, what we have to do is cooperate between the different countries. What we have to do is inform each other. Intelligence services should exchange information from the ground. Cooperation of police, a better equipment, technical equipment is needed of course. If you have the finger print system at the moment, as you know there is a lot of falsification today. So, invention like, fingerprint is an very important way to see if somebody has this real identity is some of the technical equipment that we have to use in the future. So, technical equipment, integrated border management, a new system of protection is one of the main issues that we have to think about but there is not a solution where we have control from tomorrow, you have to start especially with the countries that don’t have any equipment at the moment.

If you take the example of Sudan, I was there just before Christmas time. They have at the moment they have a lot of refugee from South Sudan, because of the separation of the country, because of the conflict ongoing there is 800,000 South Sudanese people in the capital of Khartoum at the moment, more than 1.3 million in the rest of the country, 800,000 from Syria have come to Khartoum [fact-check: 100,000]. So, this is a challenge for the country, and if you look at what kind of measures they are going to take on the border side, there is really nothing, they have man-power, they don’t have technical equipment. On a daily basis so many people come from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia to go through Sudan up to Libya, and if I am right this figures are 2,000-2,500 on a daily basis. So imagine what kind of bottleneck Libya will be in the next years. So I think border management, helping those countries to get control who are entering the country is one of the main issues we have to establish.

The second issue is partnership in a new way. I think it’s really needed to think about a tailor made partnership along migration routes. We have seen a lot of migration routes from Africa to Europe. Through the so-called Balkan route which is not closed at the moment, of course along this route you need special partnership between countries because what I’ve seen is a direct channel of this organization – there is not so much trust to European countries. African countries being touched by this, often say, of course you would like to bring people back to our countries, but what are you offering for our people. What kind of education, what kind of jobs, what is the legal migration issue, and for that I think we have to be creative for the future especially along that route, it’s not so much a global compact, it’s more to find all these different countries along the route together. To give you an example, we are doing a lot of research work, as I told you, in Libya we brought together the mayors of the main cities along the migration route, and we asked them about their point of view, and after one day we found out that the only way to have income in these cities is to have refugees, so of course the motivation is not to keep them out. Of course this is a business, so we have to think how to offer something to them business in another way, but not with refugees, how to have infrastructure in these cities then you will convince them to be also on the side of cooperation, and this is just one example, I could give you a lot of them, about these countries along these migration routes – where you have to really put your research worker around to see what is going on, what is the real need, and how can you convince them to cooperate. So this special partnership is one of the main issues we have to think about, and where we have to put a lot of effort to convince them for a good cooperation in the future. Because if we are not convincing the transit countries to be with us, we will have all the refugees in front of our doors. And this will not be the situation we can handle in the future, so I am convinced we have to get them on board, and to find a kind of cooperation.

And the third point is a more long-term ambition, you know about the European Union having our programme, the external investment plan. This is I think a very good proposal, how to bring in the private sector helping us to get the right measures in the migration issue. What is this programme about? If you are a private company and you are ready to invest in the country of origin of many of the refugees, you can get from the European Commission a kind of guarantee for the political risk in this country, this is really necessary. I am going tonight to Nigeria, of course in this country you don’t have so much investment from the European side, why? Because every entrepreneur will have a certain look if his investment there is a business with security, or if maybe tomorrow, there will be a new legislation in this country and your investment is gone. Of course for that you need a guarantee from the European side, that you are on the safe side with your investment. This is a very good, new approach from the European Commission, and if these private companies are going to invest in the countries of origin they will start new businesses, they will have a lot of people in new work, of course this could, really ten years at least will be the time-period when you can change something on the ground. You will need ten years, with investment, with private sector in the countries of origin to change something. So people don’t feel they have the need to leave, but that they will stay. So, in the long-term private sector involvement is a new type of businesses dealing on a daily basis with workers, this could really change the situation, but of course, you will also ask, why is that?

What are we doing with all those coming to Europe that are not accepted, that have to go back. Just to give you the fact and figures for the last year, we had in Europe, 700,000 asylum seekers, 2017, so remember in 2015, and 2016, 1.2 million, 1.3 million people, and this was the end of the world. In all the countries you had a lot of discussions about it, and now we have 700,000. This is still a very high number, is more inhabitants you have in Luxembourg, so for that of course, we have to see, what we can do, at about average half those people are accepted as refugees, not more. Depends on the different countries, in Austria we have about 40 percent being accepted. So, out of these 700,000, more or less 350,000 have to go back. And how to manage that? Of course Frontex, one of the agencies of the European Union is starting to help these different countries, but this is really a challenge, and a very costly one, so I think we have also, to create new programmes. And I will give you an example for that, and end with that, we have created a reverse migration programme, and this is why I am going tomorrow to Abuja, the capital of Nigeria, we have seen we could use all of these people coming to our countries that are not accepted as refugees, but being really brave, you have to imagine, if you start from Nigeria you have to go through an entire continent, over the Mediterranean, and to start a new life in Europe, this is really, a big task, and for that I think, what we are doing for programme is to ask the investors from European countries, that are ready to invest in the countries of origin, the special case of Nigeria, to take from these not accepted refugees from the country, who could work for the company to train their company at home and to bring them back with a workplace. And this would give a lot of benefit for the people, of course, they are not coming back with nothing in their hands, they have a workplace, but it is also a big advantage for the company because they can select, they don’t have to find somebody in the labour market in the country or abroad, they have to select those people noted, and bring them to their company, they train them, they will find if they are in a position to do this work or not, and if they are successful, they will bring them back with this workplace. And we convinced the Austrian government, the ministry of interior to cooperate with us, and we are starting now this pilot project from Austria. And the ministry of interior is financing the training in the company, so to give a very concrete benefit to the company. And if you have a look at the end, to the costs, its much cheaper to invest in the training of the people, than to bring them back on forced return with an aeroplane you have to hire, with so many police people going with them back, and with a very image at the end. So, I think this is a benefit for everybody, and this could be a solution not for all those who have to be returned, but for some of them. And this is what, I would like to end, this is also a big chance for the countries of origin. I was not so much convinced at the beginning that Nigeria would accept but now I know, because I was invited, and I will sign tomorrow a contract with the country, they see for the first time that there is something that is happening for the benefit of them, because they get back skilled people, investment is a turning point also in their policy towards Europe, and especially towards Austria. So with that idea, I would like to leave you, and discuss with you, as you can really imagine really big challenge for me, it is most interesting to work in these field of migration, with all that is happening at the moment. And I am quite sure by next year we will end up with a solution, and that it stay a big big challenge for the future. But it is most interesting to discuss, and of course to see how to manage better migration in the future. Thank you very much for your attention.

[Audience applauses]

The Rt Hon. The Lord Risby

Well thank you very much Michael, and I welcome Alan Mendoza, who is the executive director of the Henry Jackson Society, I have been praising the Henry Jackson Society, and would you like me to do it again? [audience laughter].

Alan Mendoza

I think we have a recording [laughter]

The Rt Hon. The Lord Risby

Very good, I wonder if I could ask the first question, Lord Oxford and I sit on one of the Brexit committees and we look at Operation Sofia, which was bringing many migrants from Libya to Italy, and my understanding is that the numbers have diminished considerably, and I’m not quite why, we mentioned some of the discussions we had with some mayors, and that was constructive, but this was on a huge scale, and it would just be interesting to know your perception why this has happened, and a reason why I ask, apart from anything else is that some of the smuggling organizations were clearly linked to terrorist groups, and the money which they got from the smuggling activity was deployed in really pretty dreadful ways. So the fact that the numbers, do as I understand, fallen is something to be welcomed. Do you have an explanation for this?

Dr. Michael Spindelegger

Thank you very much for this interesting question, so I was in Rome to see, how they are going to operate, and I think the cooperation between Sofia, and especially the Italian forces together with the Libyan coastguard is one of the secrets behind. Because the Libyan coastguard is now doing a great job, in the beginning when people are leaving Libya, to stop these boats, and bring people back, and for that reason I think the numbers really have been going down. But still they had the last year, 120,000 crossing the Mediterranean Sea along this route, this is still the high number, but much below what we have expected. So I think this is a big issue, and a good example of success and of cooperation between Italian forces, Sofia Operation and the Libyan Coastguards. But by the way, let me explain also that 700,000 asylum seekers last year, if you now have, 120,000 along the Mediterranean route, and had about 150-160,000 along the Balkan route, what is the rest? And nobody knows. So there is no exact number where people really come from, it is the smugglers, who bring people, also beside of all of these routes we know. And this is why I say, we have to have more investigation, we have to get more research work, we know there is a moving between the countries of the European Union, especially from Spain to Germany, some, I think 100,000 people went from Spain, and they are not being registered not being accepted to Germany to start there asylum procedure so I think this big number of 700,000 has to be investigated, and we have to find out where people are coming from. Otherwise we will always be one step behind the smugglers and the organized crime, and this is a big business, which we have to fight against.


The Rt Hon. The Lord Risby

Well thank you, and I’m sure there will they be many questions. I would like to make just one tiny observation if I may, I remember witnessing a Heathrow Airport the attempt by the authorities to send three people to Turkey, and they were so violent, and it was an impossible situation, where the plane was delayed and in the end, the three individuals had to be taken off the plane. So it was just an example to me about how incredibly difficult it is, and the point you were making, that once people arrive and those that are illegal, it’s not just the point of the cost, but the physical difficulties of identifying and actually sending them back. So the question therefore is, to try pre-empt this all process in the first place. Would you like to mention your name, anyone you like to ask a question?

John Dobson

Thank you for that very elegant speech, I’m John Robson, and in my old age I write op-eds Indian newspapers and the Sunday Guardian, and by strange coincidence I filed a piece this morning, which I titled: ‘Immigration will destroy the European Union’, intentionally provocative, of course, but on the other hand, I looked at Berlusconi’s recent outburst and [inaudible] probably read his speech 600,000 [inaudible] in Italy, I looked at Visgrad Four, and wondered if Austria will join to make Visgrad Five, I don’t know, and I looked at the vulnerability of Italy and Greece, and the mass migration, which will inevitably start again next month, when the weather is better, and you can’t do anything about that, and I looked at the refusal of states to share immigrants throughout the European Union, and Donald Tusk the bishop of failure of the policy of the compulsory sharing, and I saw no hope, and I therefore concluded that the E.U. is doomed over migration. Am I wrong?

Dr. Michael Spindelegger

You have been touching a lot of issues, but I think at the end you are right. Of course this is the big challenge, you have a look about migration discussions in different countries of Europe, and the influence of the election results, there is a very strong link to that. So no real doubt about that. About the failure of Europe, I think we have to go a little bit more to the ground of the issue, I think that people arriving in Europe have a very clear plan early on where they want to go, so it is not just to reach the safe havens, even in Europe, I want to go to Germany, to Austria, to Sweden, to the Netherlands, and it is not to come to Europe, and this makes it so difficult also, because if you have the best plan to have separation between the different countries to send so-many 1000 here or there, they will not stay there because their ambition is to go to a specific place, and for that I think what Mr. Tusk said is very reasonable, because you can talk a lot about these plans to have a special number for every state, but the people will not accept and for that reason I think we have to create a new solution for that, what we can say as an institute is that if you have a better picture in mind for immigration you will find a better solution, and the bigger picture is to take into consideration, what the situation is in the country of origin, what can you do there, and what can you do in the countries of transit, and if you are going to contribute more, you are also doing a contribution to the whole migration issue, and so we shouldn’t be so much focused on the numbers, what kind of contribution every state has to do, but we should see more the bigger picture of migration. And I think the Visegrad Four will stay as Visegrad Four, I don’t think they will accept Austria, and Austria will not just run to be the fifth state there, but anyhow, I think this is the real challenge for us now. To see what we can do in the country of origin, and transit along the routes.

The Rt Hon. The Lord Risby

Thank you, this gentleman here.

Neil Diamond

Neil Diamond here, can I first of all thank you for the excellent talk first of all, and following the last question. The last time that migration from Libya was controlled was when Colonel Gadaffi was in charge. At the behest and encouragement of European countries, he had that been reduced by 96 percent, we are not sure how he did that. But on that thing of the action taken in Libya today, there is significant research which is asking questions about the conditions of which people are kept and their human rights, and price Europe’s reputation is paying for creating the bottleneck in from Libya. What are your views on the short-term steps from Libya, and if they ask difficult questions for the E.U.?

Dr. Michael Spindelegger

Of course, what has to be done in Libya in these detention camps is much more than is being done so far. And I think this first step that UHCR will take care of one of the detention camps is a very good starting point. I think we have to have control on what is going on there, also we have to bring people back from there to their country of origin. If they don’t have a chance with asylum you know, this is not a very kind message, but I think it’s the truth, if you don’t have any chance to come to Europe and have an asylum with a positive result. It doesn’t make so much sense to hire a smuggler to go there, and soon. This is one of the issues we have to work more. But in the middle term, Libya has to get control over the border side, so we would like to start as an organization with border management in Libya, that’s needed. There is no control at the moment, and for the future, we have to get control over these parts of Libya. And this is what I meant with these partnerships along the route. We need to get the equipment to give trainings to help them receive all the datas to see how they come along. And with the detention camps in Libya, UHCR should take control.

The Rt Hon. The Lord Risby

Right at the back there.

Allister Mann

Allister Mann, there is an example in the last 30 years of a country that has managed a gigantic migration, and that is China. The way they managed it was to establish Special Economic Zones, initially on the coast, but later when the model seemed to work. And the way migrants were treated by the locals in Shanghai was because they had a different card to our Western eyes quite brutal, but were nevertheless it has lifted the country up. Is there something we should do as the European Union, the West, maybe in concert with America, possibly with the U.N. is help with individual countries establish a series of special economic zones, where the rule of law is British law, and Canada provides the police force, there’s a level of trust in the institutions, and the local country pays a sort ground rent for the land, maybe 700/800sq miles where a large scale city can develop, local people will then gravitate locally to better opportunities. Because the dirt poor farmer in Zinghai will go to Shanghai on a three-day train because he can make a lot more money working in factory in Shanghai then he can on a poor farm in China. The Chinese are already doing this, there are gigantic industrial estates in Addis Ababa with millions of Ethiopians from the countryside now being drawn. This is a perfect example of where a European approach, because we cannot deal with people on our doorstep. We have to give them a better local alternative that isn’t so dangerous, that isn’t so risky, and one that will better their lives instantly, and then there can see a growth rate – basically like Rwanda, which has extraordinary economic growth and where they don’t see people leaving.

The Rt Hon. The Lord Risby

Thank you.

Dr. Michael Spindelegger

From my point of view of course, special economic zones could be a solution…

Allister Mann

Paul Rormer from the World Bank, has a written a book called Charter Cities, and proposed exactly this solution.

Dr. Michael Spindelegger

If you have a look at what Europe has done so far in Jordan, was exactly that. The refugees from Syria to Jordan, you know, big number, so European Union started a programme that for 200,000 refugees, Jordan could of course have a lot of entrepreneurs starting business with them with the goods they are producing, being free of charge into Europe. So this kind of cooperation is a very good one, but it will not solve the problems of all the countries because they don’t all have the right framework of economy for the country, then it’s starting really difficult, what we could do more as Europeans being so much knowledgeable in the field of economy, is to bring economic systems to the countries, with competition and not only with corruption and starting with small-medium sized businesses and not only the big ones. So this is what we have to create for the future.

Allister Mann

What I was thinking was pre-packed set off laws and institutions, that can be taken off the table and introduced also.

Dr. Michael Spindelegger

That’s good, but the laws are the first thing, to enforce the laws in the second thing, running that in the right way, you know this is the problem.

The Rt Hon. The Lord Risby

Right, at the front here. Thank you, yes.

Speaker 1

……from the Henry Jackson Society [inaudible] in Libya is transforming their business into like the coastal guards of Libya.

Dr. Michael Spindelegger

If you information about that, OK? Maybe it could happen, I think Libya and all the government institutional issues are of course, not the standard as we know. It is still I divided country, you have general — on the one side being the powerful person, and you have the government being recognised in Tripoli. Of course there is a big difference, one has the power, and the others have legitimacy to do something, but anyhow I think Libya as a whole, we have to think also to bring together to bring the country under one control, that there will be a democratic state in the future, this will not be an easy task, but anyhow, as long as we see it is especially what concerns the coast guard. This is a great job that they are doing at the moment, but still there will be criminal elements in there. We have a lot of smugglers, we had an organization, ICMPD, also research work about smugglers along the routes. We thought that this is organized crime, where we will fight against it. But there are so many different organizations, you know that makes it hard to fight against them. Because if you hit one, two others come up the next day. This is what the reality is about. So we have to fight against it, that’s right. We will have success in one state, like Libya, one government, one parliament, but we have to work on that.

The Rt Hon. The Lord Risby

This gentleman here.

Speaker 2

Thank you very very much indeed, I worked on an ICMPD project back in 2010, the information exchange between E.U. member-states on law enforcement, criminal intelligence matters. I’ve seen subsequently ICMPD work, where the ICMPD is very much one of the organizations that is a part the solution but my question is, following that point, are there any other organizations who seem to have got a particularly useful grip on the challenges, even if they haven’t been able to solve them. But who could particularly contribute to operational solutions and [inaudible]. And perhaps by saying that will give the audience ideas about organizations you haven’t mentioned who aren’t always very effective, and in one or two cases actually aprt the problem. Thank you. That’s based on some very sardonic comments made to me not on an ICMPD project by a border guard team in Narva, Estonia. People who are extremely professional, but who made some really strong points about certain organizations which perhaps too many people look at through rose tinted spectacles. But that wasn’t on an ICMPD project.

Dr. Michael Spindelegger

Ok, about global organizations, you have IOM, of course, International Organization of Migration under the umbrella of the United Nations. They are the big elephant, you know, we are a small mouse, you know, we have about 300 employees, they have 10,000s so… [Inaudible]

Speaker 2

You have the quality…

Dr. Michael Spindelegger

Thank you very much.

Speaker 2

[Inaudible]

Dr. Michael Spindelegger

Ok, well anyhow, there are a lot of national organizations like in France, in Italy, and of course you have a lot of NGOs also working on that. I’m not here just to comment on that, they of course will find their way, what we would like to be more as ICMPD is more the European organization. Because what I can see is that Europe needs also an organization for migration, IOM will not sure up the interests of Europe. They are worldwide, dealing with the issues, and I think what we need more is to focus on in Europe is about policymaking, building up the right structures, supporting countries also in the Western Balkans that is the next wave they are prepared well, this is what I have in mind with my organization.

The Rt Hon. The Lord Risby

Gentlemen at the back yes, please.

Speaker 3

Thank you very much, [inaudible] I had the occasion to work for Frontex agency many years ago. But my question will not be a technical one, because there are so many issues, so many technical issues in this area, so it’s a big picture question, you mentioned the consequences of migration on the political landscape of European countries, and notably of course, we have an example of this in this country, in that the Brexit vote was of course in part at least triggered what had happened in 2015, 2016. And in Germany and Central Europe joining which had the No vote in large part more than in what happened in Germany to the issue of E.U. citizens in the U.K. But that’s another issue, my question was, is the migration issue behind the recent vote in the Austrian legislative elections, and the new political landscape, had itself an impact on migration policies and on what’s going on in this field in your country in particular.

Dr. Michael Spindelegger

About Austria, I think if you have a look at elections and the results of course one of the main issues that have been discussed during the election campaign was the migration issue. And of course like in other countries, those parties who are very much dealing with the issue and proposing measures also have been the winners of these elections. That’s very clear. I think the Chancellor Mr. Kurtz also announced in the past as minister of the foreign affairs to close the Balkan Routes together will all the other countries along the Balkan Routes. And this is what people had in mind when voting in Austria for these parties and for him. They thought you can trust him, because it’s a very restrictive policy in this issue, now of course as it comes to daily politics in Austria, you know have to deal with the daily challenges. And this is on the one hand there is still the Balkan Routes not closed, and there are still hundreds of the thousands of people coming every year over the Balkan Routes with the help of the smugglers. One the other hand there is a need for the economy to bring up new people being skilled working for them, otherwise they cannot fulfil what you would like to do as a company for export. So for that I think one of the plans is to rethink the legal migration side, and I think for that a lot of proposes have to be made, how you can manage that for the future, how you can combine it with those countries where you have to win people back one the other, you can invite those that are skilled in the right way. For that I think you have to start as a company in the country of origin, otherwise you will never fulfil the criterias, you can see in practice if you have a need for workers. But in Austria, especially you can there is no need for very low skilled workers, those you have that have the technical skills you need, some have to take care of people but without speaking the language who can you ask them to take care of elderly people. All these are the practical issues, where we can see at the moment to start also with this in a very different way. Starting with education, especially training on the job in the countries of origin to fulfil criterias to bring those people on a legal basis in the countries. This is one of the challenges we also have as an organization to make the right proposals.

The Rt Hon. The Lord Risby

I wonder if I could, oh, this gentlemen here, please.

Speaker 4

My name [inaudible] I’m in the British Geological Survey, and I worked for a few years in Africa and one thing I start with is, whenever I worked in Africa and asked many questions I found that people sought towards the of their life to be returned to their home place, their own place, back home. Now that is one ingredient of people who spring from cultures in Africa, which I think is still true, but one could look to one might be able to combine with what people have been speaking about with that other countries like China with what you say in Europe would be to provide with people who do come from Africa will something which is not a full passport so you and all your family cannot be forever British or Austrian or whatever the case. But something like a code working 25 year certificate so people could see that they have a chance to train themselves, learn work, accumulate some capital, resources and then retire in their country of origin, their home country. That would be a kind of code citizenship certificate, so currently not a plain passport so it not a blank invitation to all countries and everything and everyone from the country of origin. So these thoughts occurred in my mind, it’s not exactly a question, it’s more of an observation.

Dr. Michael Spindelegger

Interesting of course to be for a certain time in the country to work there and go back, maybe also to start the business in the country of origin. This is a good idea. So I think we are at the moment not ready for that because nobody believes that someone will leave the country after some years really, but I think in the new type of concept we could start with something like that. I know that Switzerland has started with a countries like Nigeria and others to do in this way, but its running at this time so we don’t know. If this is successful it is worth to think about.

Speaker 3

The classic example is Georgia.

Dr. Michael Spindelegger

OK.

The Rt Hon. The Lord Risby   

Well I think we are running out of time, but can I just ask you a general question because as the gentleman at the back mention, there was no doubt about it that the referendum vote here was very much informed by the issue of identity and control of borders. And then we have the open door policy pursued by the German Chancellor, did not I think appear to have been done with the European Commission, but anyway it was done. And now we have some countries that are refusing to accept a sort of pan-European solution of quotas and that sort of thing. Do you have any sense at a macro-level within the European Union, apart from some of the matters you were talking about which is dealing with migration flows, is there any consensus at all, there appears not to be and perhaps not, are want do you think the consequences of that are?

Dr. Michael Spindelegger

That’s an interesting question, I think if you have a look at the discussion something has changed, this remark of President Tusk, this plan of separating people in Europe has failed, so this was a turning point from my point of view. But if you have a look at European Council, where they decided on this special, flexible solitary, also this was a turning point where not only have the numbers been discussed but also other issues, and I think this will be the direction for the future if you could convince other countries to contribute at the whole of picture of migration. To be more active in countries like Jordan and Lebanon because the refugee situation in Syria, being it, to be more active in Libya for the border management there, then of course we could come to a real solution, but at the moment from my point of view to be very frank there is also a discussion in the Commission there are the hardliners, saying that we have decided about special numbers for every country, and we have to be very strict with that, and there are those that are more open-minded so I think they have to discuss to present a real plan for the future then we can succeed about the asylum system comes to a new solution, also very very soon. I think the time is not ready to decide at the moment. We have to discuss more.

The Rt Hon. The Lord Risby

Well, again, ladies and gentlemen thank you so much for coming in, once again I thank the Henry Jackson Society. I think this has been incredibly instructive, this is one of the most important issues of our times and an impact of the whole topography of Europe, and indeed in countries in Africa. All of these things you have expressed and analysed, and offered some solutions some routes to some possible solutions and what it manages to be, and what it continues to be a fact of life for many years to come. So, thank you so much, and I really on behalf of everyone here warmly I want to express my appreciation for your being with us today.

HJS



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