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Project News: 3rd Euro-Mediterranean Communicator’s Workshop for a new balanced narrative on migration

16 November 2020

On 10-11 November 2020, the 3rd Euro-Mediterranean Communicator’s Workshop was held in the framework of the DG NEAR flagship initiative EUROMED Migration IV (EMM4). The event was organized in collaboration with the Club of Venice and follows the success of the previous editions held in Tunis in 2018 and Athens in 2019. This year, the event took place in an online format due to the travel restrictions imposed by the current COVID-19 pandemic.

The introductory remarks, given by ICMPD Deputy Director General Lukas Gerhke, were followed by a keynote speech by H.E. George William Vella, President of Malta. This high-level workshop gathered a prominent set of speakers, coming from the broad Euro-Mediterranean region and beyond, and from numerous international organizations, governments and academic institutes, for over 130 participants.

The event aimed at responding to the most current challenges to the implementation of balanced migration narratives, identifying the elements that determine effective communication on migration and the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic on migration narrative. In particular, the meeting focused on six main subjects:

  • The state of play of migration narratives in 2020 in the Euro-Mediterranean region; 
  • Effective communication on migration: a fundamental tenet for multilateral cooperation in the Mediterranean;
  • Analysing the elements of the migration narrative to forecast its development;
  • What policy communication works for migration? Using values to depolarize;
  • How to Perform Impact Assessments: Key Steps for Assessing Communication Interventions;
  • Disinformation and its impact on migration narratives

Participants expressed widespread consensus on the fact that the current health crisis has further exacerbated the polarization of the public debate on migration but also shed light on the positive contribution migrants make in the current crisis, thus opening new perspectives to change the current narrative.

The workshop provided practical recommendations from prominent experts in the field that will help practitioners be better aware and prepared for such upcoming strenuous tests. In particular, it was stressed, among other issues, using the right terminology, emphasizing the different aspects of migration such as the benefits of labour mobility for both origin and destination countries, focusing on value-based messaging that reveal common values and tackling misinformation.

The need for greater cooperation in a multi-stakeholders’ partnerships framework, to ensure more complementarity around actions and greater integration of the work of journalists, policy-makers and civil society organizations around this topic was also stressed.

Over more than 16 years, the EUROMED Migration programme has been supporting EU Member States and the European Neighborhood Instrument Southern Partner Countries in establishing a comprehensive, constructive and operational dialogue and co-operation framework on migration. The EMM4 project has long been at the forefront of efforts to re-balance the narrative on migration, providing a strategic platform for migration policymakers and communication specialists to share views and work out overarching strategies to steer the debate away from unproductive narratives and towards evidence-based policy-making.

The next phase of the EUROMED Migration programme, which will start on 1st December 2020, will serve at further improving migration related knowledge and data management, and fostering a realistic and fair narrative on migration promoting mutual dialogue and mutual understanding.

Further information on EMM4 can be found here.