Migration after the Arab Spring

This paper provides a statistical assessment of migration before and after the uprisings in the Southern Mediterranean and reviews European and Arab state policies regarding migration. It also encourages the factoring of the outcomes of the Arab Spring within migration policies.

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This paper's assessment is based upon the most recent statistical data gathered directly from the competent offices in European Member States; from policy documents emanating from the European Union and concerned States; and from first-hand accounts from surveys conducted in Spring 2012 by scholars in six Arab countries (within Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon) in collaboration with the Migration Policy Centre (MPC).

Notably, migration to Europe has not been accelerated by the Arab Spring, apart from a short-lived movement from Tunisia, but has simply continued along previous trends. In sharp contrast, migration within the Southern Mediterranean has been deeply impacted by the events as outflows of migrants and refugees fled instability and violence in Libya and Syria.

European and Arab states have responded to these movements, both to Europe and within the region, in several ways. In the Arab States, the topic of migration was simply eclipsed by social and political movements in the media and public debate. However, several newly formed governments took initiatives to better incorporate their diasporas in, not only economic, but also political processes.

The EU and its Member States viewed the monumental changes taking place in the Arab world as a unique political opportunity, not only for the Arab peoples, but also for the Mediterranean region and for Europe’s multifaceted links with these countries. In response, the EU expanded its focus on democracy promotion within the region.

Philippe Fargues,
Christine Fandrich

Publication Date:
Wed 08 Aug 2012
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