While Mediterranean sea-crossings have decreased in recent years, mass flows of people towards European countries remain of strategic concern. In policymaking circles, managing these flows has often been framed as a zero-sum game between state security and humanity, between 'stopping the boats' versus 'rescuing the migrants'. Migration, therefore – especially when undertaken through irregular and disorderly channels – has emerged as both a national security and a human security issue. To date, this phenomenon continues to generate real concerns and dilemmas for nation-states, while also exposing migrants themselves to insecurity, vulnerability and abuse.
Against this background, the Hub has conducted a research project to examine the present-day drivers and consequences of contemporary migration, as well as the potential challenges associated with future migratory flows. As part of this project, the Hub also held an online workshop with external experts from North Africa and the Middle East. The event enabled the Hub to take stock of local and regional perspectives, to validate and enrich its research findings, and to outline strategic options for policymaking authorities.
While recognizing that there are no easy or immediate solutions in the present global context, this particular project considers this salient topic in a forward-looking manner, highlighting the risks and opportunities that lie ahead.
More specifically, this study draws attention to the fact that irregular migration tends to undermine state security in largely unconventional ways, while the accompanying securitization process may create additional challenges across countries of origin, transit and destination.
Securitization of migration
Furthermore, this study emphasizes the need for policymakers to capitalise on the lessons learned so far and to increase resilience to other potential migratory "crises". Among other recommendations, it urges policymakers to incorporate critical insights on the securitization of migration, to take into account the complex links between development and migration, and to balance short-term responses with long-term policy objectives on leveraging the benefits of regular migration.