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Management of Human Movements and Migrations in the Euro-Mediterranean Region (7th edition)

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Guild, Elspeth, Ansems de Vries, Leonie, Schneider, Jan et al.
The European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed)
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The 7th Euromed Survey was conducted among 5,900 experts and actors from the 43 countries that are members of the Union for the Mediterranean. We received 807 responses, which constitutes a representative sample of this expert community. In addition to the descriptive report of the results and the annexes that set out the results in a comprehensive and visual manner, this publication also gives some space to more in-depth analyses of a few strategic issues related to the management of human movements and migrations. The objective of the “qualitative analysis” written by experts is to offer keys to better understand some of the main issues at stake.  

The Survey was conducted in summer 2016, after the Mediterranean witnessed the most important displacement of people since the Second World War. This situation resulted mainly from the outbreak of the war in Syria and the ensuing destabilisation of the region. In Syria, 4.8 million people left the country and are now refugees, mostly in neighbouring countries. At the same time, according to UNHCR data, almost 1 million refugees asked for asylum in the EU.

In the Mediterranean, sea crossings increased to an unprecedented number. After initial solidarity signals towards refugees, an intense debate followed on the ability of EU governments to cope with this crisis and provide effective protection to refugees, both in destination and transit countries. To this situation, the destabilisation of Libya brought about an increase in migratory flows from Sub-Saharan Africa, which overlapped with refugees fleeing war in African and Middle East countries. These flows were mainly concentrated on the Central Mediterranean route. The nature of these flows, mixing asylum seekers escaping wars and irregular migrants both following the same routes, challenged the existing regional framework of programmes, policies and cooperation mechanisms.  

The Euromed Survey was designed to capture all these elements. The questionnaire is structured around four main groups of questions. First, it tackles the general perception of the migration and refugee situation in the Mediterranean. In a second part, it focuses on the EU’s challenges, policies and instruments, before turning to the special situation of Southern and Southeast Mediterranean countries. The last group of questions relates to bilateral, regional and international cooperation mechanisms.   Overall, results very much illustrate the Euro-Mediterranean common dimension of the “refugee crisis” and the inter-dependency of policy responses.

The responses do not systematically follow Northern vs. Southern Mediterranean patterns and show how countries in both the North and South of the Mediterranean may face similar challenges. Results also call for enhanced Euro-Mediterranean cooperation on migration as the performance of current mechanisms is assessed as insufficient by respondents.