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Project News: High-level event on public communication on migration for a new balanced narrative in Athens

29 November 2019

On 11-12 November 2019, the second Euro-Mediterranean Communicator’s Workshop and a high-level event on public communication and migration and were held in Athens, Greece in the framework of the EUROMED Migration IV (EMM4) programme. The joint event was hosted by the Greek Ministry for Citizen Protection, General Secretariat for Migration Policy, Reception and Asylum of the Hellenic Republic and co-organised with the Club of Venice.

The event aimed to respond to growing concerns amidst rising and widespread public misperception on migration in the Euro-Mediterranean region. The EMM4 programme has long been at the forefront of efforts to re-balance the narrative on migration. Along with the Club of Venice, it provided 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 high-level panel included Michael Spindelleger, ICMPD Director General, Giorgos Koumoutsakos, Alternate Minister of Citizen Protection, responsible for Migration Policy of Greece, Maciej Popowski, Deputy Director General, Directorate General for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations of the European Commission, Professor Andrew Geddes, Chair in Migration Studies and Director of the Migration Policy Centre at the European University Institute and Stefano Rolando, President of the Club of Venice.

During the panel, participants shared their views, opinions and policy recommendations in relation to the issue of tackling a distorted narrative on migration. They discussed concrete proposals for enhanced cooperation among the governmental and institutional actors involved in the region, future allocation of resources, bolstering relations with the media, production of solid analysis of digital channels and trends in order to fight disinformation and the dissemination of false news.

Julien Simon, ICMPD Regional Coordinator for the Mediterranean, moderated the event. He stressed the importance of implementing a comprehensive communication strategy in the Euro-Mediterranean region to prevent misperceptions, counter disinformation and properly address the challenges and benefits of strengthening migration policy recommendations.

The scope of the 2nd Euro-Mediterranean Communicators’ Workshop was to consolidate a community of practice for communicators, through deepening of knowledge and sharing of experience. The workshop served as platform of discussion to inform the development of concrete recommendations for governmental and institutional communicators. This was based on the findings of the work conducted by ICMPD and the Observatory of Public Attitudes to Migration (OPAM) in the framework of EMM4.

Among the main issues discussed in the workshop, prominence was given to:

  • Measuring attitudes and exploring determinants: Stability and polarization
  • Assessing the role of Public Communicators in shaping a new narrative: An unchartered path but clear potential ahead
  • Drawing a way forward for public Communication on Migration: next steps and practical recommendations for communicators

Further information on EMM4 can be found here.