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Project News: EMM4 and OPAM published new study “What policy communication works for migration? Using values to depolarise”

24 July 2020


In the framework of the EUROMED Migration IV programme, ICMPD has released, together with the Observatory of Public Attitudes to Migration (OPAM - EUI), the third and last chapter of the report entitled “Impact of Public Attitudes to migration on the political environment in the Euro-Mediterranean Region”.

The study provides a summary of key recommendations from existing best-practice guides for migration communication and policymakers. The aim of the study is to understand what values-based policy communication is and how they can communicate policies that are concordant with the values of their audiences in order to elicit sympathy.

The most common recommendation to communicate migration is to focus on values-based messaging. However, there is still a gap between what values-based messaging is and what type of value-based messaging is likely to be effective regarding migration. The study summarises the academic literature on values by focussing on Schwarz’s theory of basic human values. According to Schwartz, values are defined as cognitive representations of broad motivational goals and as stable metrics of the guiding principles in individuals’ lives. 

The second part of the study analyses examples of migration policy communication provided by an ICMPD’s campaigns inventory including both anti and pro-migration campaigns from both side of the Mediterranean. Using some illustrative examples of campaigns, the study confirms the alignment of the campaigns to the theoretical framework illustrated in the first of the part of study, and shows that few pro-migration campaigns contained values-based messaging, while all anti-migration campaigns did. 

This study represents the third and last chapter of the report entitled “Impact of Public Attitudes to migration on the political environment in the Euro-Mediterranean Region”. The first chapter focussed on the Euro-Mediterranean Region and considered how and why the dramatic changes in the salience of immigration in recent years have changed European politics. More information on the study can be found in a video interview to the author and project manager.

The second chapter overviewed public attitudes to migration in Southern Partner Countries (SPCs) and considered their effects on migration politics and policies in the region over the past 20 to 30 years, including a number of recommendations on how communicators on migration in the region can avoid polarisation. 

Download the study here 

Read more about the EUROMED Migration IV (EMM4) programme here