Migration and the EU: A long-term perspective

Briefing 19-05-2016

Policy debate on migration understandably focuses on short-term challenges and costs, given the refugee wave that arrived in the EU in 2015. This briefing by contrast addresses challenges and opportunities for the EU of migration in the long term, and builds on foresight work within the European Strategy and Policy Analysis System (ESPAS). It identifies three areas which call for robust policy responses, at different levels, in the period to 2030 and beyond: demographic change and its implications for the supply of labour; the integration of migrants; and the international dimension of migration, including the prevention and management of refugee crises. The underlying assumption is that anticipatory policy (management by foresight) is preferable to, and more effective than, responsive policy (crisis management). Because the challenges posed by migration cross many sectoral and institutional boundaries, a comprehensive and coordinated response is needed. This in turn underlines the case for shared and strategic policy analysis across the EU institutions. Continual dialogue, sharing many different perspectives and with a focus on the medium and long term, is a path towards a common understanding of both challenges and choices.