Co-development policy as a positive measure to regulate migratory
plenary session 3 October 2005
I agree with the rapporteur, Mr Salles, that migration is an opportunity for co-development and co-operation between the former home country and the present home country of migrants. That can be a measure for regulating migratory flows – not because there is a threat to some western European countries, but because it is for the benefit of undeveloped countries to use the talents and skills of their own people.
The report makes some good proposals, but I want to make some critical remarks. I underline the critical remarks that Mrs Err made on behalf of the Socialist Group, and I want to make some more. The report speaks of “home countries” and “host countries”, but many migrants – certainly those who belong to the second and third generation – live in their home country, which once was the host country of their parents or grandparents. We cannot have a clear view of the immigration issue if we keep thinking and speaking in such terms as “host countries”.
That brings me to my next remark.
The emphasis on co-development and repatriation projects can conflict with a policy of integration, which is also necessary and profitable. Although a repatriation policy is not the hidden agenda of the report, the extreme right can use it as a tool to get rid of foreigners. However, such a policy cannot replace an integration policy, which shapes human living conditions for migrants in their home countries.
The successful integration of migrants in their new homeland can mean that less money is sent to their countries of origin, as investigations into Turkish immigrants in the Netherlands have shown us. As migrants become more integrated in their new homeland, there is less chance of a successful co-development policy based on the co-operation of migrants. That is understandable. When people choose to live in a new land, to raise their children there and to participate in society, they also choose to invest their skills, talent and money within those borders. They will have ties with their original countries, and perhaps they are willing to contribute in some way to the development of those countries, but they will not do that from the perspective of planning to return to the country of their parents. That is the contradiction between successful integration and the policy highlighted in the report.
Co-development can also be based on the involvement of local authorities or take place at a multilateral level. That is useful because there must be good governance and social policy in the so-called undeveloped countries as well as in the richer European countries, which have the historical and moral responsibility to make poverty history.