Despite the fact that between 19 and 20 million legal migrants arrived into the EU-27 between 2009 and 2018 (Eurostat data), irregular migration and asylum have been at the top of the news agenda in Europe for much of the last decade. Issues surrounding migration have caused major electoral shocks and redefined the political space of several EU Member States. Migration was also one of the major cited reasons as to why British voters chose to depart the EU in their 2016 Brexit referendum. And as we step into the new decade of the 2020s, migration as a major political, social and economic challenge will not disappear anytime soon.
A vitally important policy area for the EU
The European Commission recognises that migration and migrant integration are an important concern for European citizens and is committed to a sensible, knowledge-based approach that also firmly addresses the importance of migrant integration into host societies. Successful integration of migrants maximises the opportunities to host societies afforded by legal migration and helps to unleash the potential that migration has for the EU’s wider development. Alongside policies to exploit the very real benefits of legal migration and migrant integration, the Commission also recognises the need for effective policies to address the politically divisive issue of irregular migration into the EU. These include measures targeting employers who hire undeclared migrant workers, as well as human smuggling and trafficking networks that take advantage of undocumented persons. There is also the aim of developing a humane and effective return policy in line with the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights and of promoting dialogue and cooperation with non-EU countries, based on solidarity and shared responsibility, both essential pillars in the EU’s approach to migration.
A solid research-focused framework for better understanding and policy outcomes
To develop the fairest and most robust migration policies, innovative social sciences research that provides evidence, analysis and an accurate depiction of the situation ‘on the ground’ is absolutely essential. This is why the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme has made migration research a priority, with EUR 200 million being dedicated through 2018-2020 to support the investigation on the drivers of migration, migration management and migrant integration, with EUR 29 million alone being allocated to the latter. In this CORDIS Results Pack, we introduce 14 EU-funded projects from across the Horizon 2020 research family, from large multi-member consortia (through Horizon 2020’s Societal Challenges funding stream, specifically related to Society and Security issues) to single ambitious and driven researchers supported through either the European Research Council (ERC) or Marie Skłodowska-Curie programme. All of these projects have been driven by a dedication to expand our understanding and knowledge of migration and migrant integration with the hope that their research will help support future policy-making.