panel edd15

Brussels, European Development Days, 04 June 2015 – Migration has been high on the agenda of the 2015 European Development Days edition. Both Presidents of the European Commission and of the European Parliament made strong points on Migration as crucial issue in the EU development discourse in their respective opening speeches. As member of CONCORD and its Migration&Development experts group, co-organizing the seminar “Migration matters for development: new actors and energies in the development agenda“, Terre des Hommes wanted to bring a focused contribution to the debates. Again, we gave the floor to Farah, a former child migrant from Somalia who “crossed the sea” three years ago.

“Through our EU development cooperation policy, we want to tackle root causes of irregular migration, so that migration must become a choice, this must be one of the aim of the EU development, and this is what we inserted as pillar in the new EU Agenda on Migration, said Matthias Ruete, Director-General for Immigration and Home Affairs at European Commission. Politicians must have the courage to tell the truth on the value of migration, and we must fight racism and xenophobia in Europe. We also need media to give migration a human face to move away from stereotypes. This is a huge and unfinished task for the European Commission. With the new EU Agenda on Migration, we have turned a page on the EU approach to migration, he added.

Youth migrants arriving in Europe are not parasite of welfare system”: this was the strong message that Farah repeatedly realised as panellist and during his various interviews with the press.

Listening to EC representative Matthias Ruete declaring that “European politicians talk the talk but don’t walk the walk”, Farah spontaneously reacted discretely in the room, “I completely agree with him when it comes to this from my experience of child migrant who crossed the Mediterranean Sea. As academics, leaders and smart business men and women, politicians clearly know the economic and social benefits of migration, and especially young adults migrant. Some politicians choose to take the anti-immigration propaganda instead, on the sole short term hopes of winning elections. They must take the high road and respect international law and human rights when it comes to refugees, migrants and asylum seekers. European politicians must be honest on the value of migration as a development source in Europe and in the world, and not as cost. We are not parasite of welfare.

The more we hear EU officials presenting, promoting and publicizing the new EU Migration Agenda, the more we, as Civil Society Organization specialized on protecting children on the move, activists, campaigners, services delivers and policy analyst we feel being “seduced” by a – finally – courageous and relevant new EU approach to make migration an human-rights driven opportunity rather than an “inflated” social problem in Europe.

But we stick to our demand, which is the one Farah expressed: we want to see European Heads of States, political leaders and decision-makers to turn words and policy paper into resourced public policy realities. We want to be able to see, measure and acknowledge real changes.

As NGO giving a public floor to children and youth migrants, our first and starting-point indicator is children and youth themselves, their life and their views: how much their reality will change, how much their testimony will indicate such changes, how much their rights to design legitimate life projects as “migrant” will become real, both in Europe and outside Europe, independently of their migration status, nationality, gender, culture or minority belongings.

Again, this is the anchor we have given to Destination Unknown campaign to protect children on the move:

the floor is given to children and youth migrants, first!


Euronews : “Former refugee urges ‘more positive debate’ on immigration”



Press Release on EU Migration Agenda by Terre des Hommes (12/05/2015)

Mediterranean Migrants: The EU non-response (28/04/2015)

FORTRESS EUROPE: NO MORE TIME – Position Paper by Terre des Hommes (23/04/2015)

Mediterranean Migrants: EU Political responsibility now (19/04/2015)