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Migration and refugee issues are on political and public agendas around the globe. The European Union is looking for sustainable solutions, international cooperation and joint responsibility. An international consortium coordinated by the University of Amsterdam will investigate the European migration issue and provide policy advice.

Migranten aan de noordgrens in Griekenland
Migrants at the Northern border of Greece (photo: European Parliament)

The international consortium Advancing Alternative Migration Governance (ADMIGOV) will investigate the conformity of European migration policy in practice with the basic principles of the United Nations. This project has received a subsidy of €3 million under the Horizon 2020 programme of the European Commission and has a duration of 4 years.

Basic principles of migration policy

The European Union is firmly committed to the 2016 New York Declaration and the 2030 United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals. In these treaties, states have agreed to cooperate and take common responsibility for migration and refugee issues, and work to end extreme poverty, inequality, injustice and climate change worldwide. What type of migration policy can contribute to putting these principles and priorities into practice?

Analysis of current migration

The international team will analyse current migration and focus on three basic situations in which EU and national policy are implemented:

  1. entry/access to the EU;
  2. leaving the EU (voluntarily or not);
  3. innovative possibilities for temporary and circular migration.

The team looks in detail at the implementation of two basic principles: the protection principle and the principle to support development goals. It also focuses on possible tensions between different policy solutions (such as the tension between protecting and controlling) as well as between existing policies and the unprecedented numbers of migrants in practice.

Research locations

The research will be carried out in the prosperous part of the EU (such as the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany) as well as at the edges of the EU (Greece, Turkey, Spain and Poland). In addition, the team will collect data from migrants en route, and investigate the situation in countries of origin and transit situations such as Lebanon, Niger and Ethiopia. By choosing these locations, the team hopes to gain insight into the most crucial and problematic processes around migration and migration policy that are currently at play.

Policy advice

ADMIGOV wants to obtain insight into the current gap between the principles of policy on the one hand and its practice on the other. The aim is to develop alternative forms of migration policy that are optimally aligned with its principles and consequently contribute to a future-proof migration policy.

The scientific insights will be converted into specific recommendations, thus supporting the EU in putting the New York Declaration and the Sustainable Development Goals into practice.

Consortium partners

The project is being coordinated by Dr Anja van Heelsum (principal investigator), Dr Jeroen Doomernik, Dr Polly Pallister-Wilkins and Dr Barak Kalir. The University of Amsterdam conducts the research together with the Maastricht, Aegean, Aalborg, Barcelona (UB), Brussels (ULB), Wrocław and Addis Ababa universities, as well as Koç University, the American University in Beirut, Clingendael Institute, the Centre for International Information and Documentation in Barcelona and the Danish Refugee Council.