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Imagining Europe from the outside. On the role of democracy and human rights perceptions in constructing migration aspirations and decision towards Europe

Final Report Summary - EUMAGINE (Imagining Europe from the outside. On the role of democracy and human rights perceptions in constructing migration aspirations and decision towards Europe)

Executive summary:

Imagining Europe from the Outside (EUMAGINE) set out to understand why people in Europe's neighbouring regions may or may not want to migrate to Europe. The project paid particular attention to people's perceptions of human rights and democracy-both in Europe and in their home country. Data collection was carried out in Senegal, Morocco, Turkey and Ukraine. In each of these countries, the project team selected four research areas representing diverse socioeconomic and migration contexts.

The results of the EUMAGINE project demonstrate the relevance of perceptions on human rights and democracy in the home country and the migration destination in explaining migration aspirations. Perceptions of human rights and democracy status were operationalised by looking at people's views on job opportunities and corruption levels, educational opportunities and gender equality. The analysis showed that negative views on job opportunities and corruption levels in the country of origin on the one hand and positive perceptions of employment and corruption levels in Europe on the other positively affect migration aspirations. It should however be noted that perceived corruption levels at home and in Europe were not found to have significant effects on the migration aspirations of respondents in Morocco, while respondents in Turkey and Senegal were not significantly affected by perceived corruption levels in Europe.. Interestingly these results indicate that perceived job opportunities in the own country and in Europe play a more important role in shaping migration aspirations than perceived corruption levels.

The qualitative cross-country analyses underpinned these findings. Informants in all four countries explicitly linked job opportunities with migration aspirations. Although they often complained about corruption in their own country and felt that corruption was less wide-spread in Europe, this was rarely explicitly mentioned during the interviews as a motivation to migrate. The qualitative cross-country analyses also informed about the relevance of other human rights and democracy-related factors. Both men and women frequently motivated their desire to migrate by referring to better educational opportunities in Europe than in their own region. In addition, perceived gender equality in Europe - for both men and women - emerged as an explicit incentive for migration. Both insights were confirmed in a multi-regression analysis.

In addition, it was assumed that at the meso level several factors would influence the aspiration to migrate. The qualitative cross-country analyses informed about the relevance of belonging to transnational family networks for considering migration. Women in particular explicitly mentioned the relevance of the presence of family members abroad when considering migration. These results were again confirmed in a multi-regression analysis. It was further hypothesised that the specific community to which a person belongs affects his or her migration aspirations. Under the research design, each country was represented by four regions that are affected to different degrees by migration and/or democracy and human rights-related issues. Regions characterised by a 'culture of migration' - the high-emigration area in our research design - were expected to record the highest migration aspirations. The qualitative analyses demonstrated that this was specifically the case for Morocco, where migration aspirations were very outspoken in the high-emigration area. In Turkey, however, the opposite was observed.

The results of the EUMAGINE project confirm the relevance of perceptions in explaining migration aspirations, and ultimately, migration decision-making. The findings show that people are motivated not only by the economic opportunities that migration promises, but also by perceived educational opportunities, gender equality and absence of corruption in Europe. At the same time, individuals' migration aspirations are affected by factors at different societal levels: at the macro level, the overall socioeconomic situation of the country comes into play; at the meso level, evidence is found of the relevance of living in a migration-impacted region and belonging to transnational family networks, possibly through feedback mechanisms; and at the micro level, the wealth of the household, age, gender, marital status, having children, previous migration experience and educational level all impact on migration aspirations. In respect to gender, there are indications that it affects perceptions differently, for example in relation to the relevance of transnational family networks for women. Further research is however required in order to gain a deeper understanding of these issues.

Project Context and Objectives:

The ultimate goal of the EUMAGINE project was to gain insight into how migrants and non-migrants from source countries perceive human rights and democracy-related issues at the local, regional, national and international levels on the one hand, and how these perceptions affect their migration aspirations and decision-making on the other. These perceptions, motivations and decisions are invariably constructed within the settings of the source countries. People draw from a variety of local, national and international sources as they gather information about and shape their perceptions of human rights and democracy-related issues. Hence, these perceptions, aspirations and decisions are socially and culturally embedded. This observation is especially relevant to regions with a long tradition of emigration, where migratory flows have reached a certain momentum through network and other effects and, consequently have become self-sustaining.

The main hypothesis underlying the project was that the perceptions of the human rights and democracy status in the home country and in Europe impacts on individuals from so-called 'cultures of emigration', where migration has become deeply rooted in people's behavioural repertoire. This culture of emigration - operationalised through popular discourses, media discourses, cultural artefacts and social networks - weighs heavily on potential migrants' perceptions, aspirations and behaviour. For this reason, the EUMAGINE project set out to operationalise perceptions of human rights and democracy issues, which are socially and culturally constructed, in a process mediated by, among other things, various discourses on and representations of Europe and migratory flows in the regions of origin. The term 'discourse' was understood in a broad sense, so as to encompass representations, practices and performances through which meanings are produced and legitimised.

This social constructivist conceptualisation of migration-related perceptions also defined the way in which Europe - and other possible destinations - were approached. There was no a priori objectified and agreed conceptualisation of Europe as such. Europe and other destinations were conceived as socially and discursively constructed locations, thereby leaving room for the respondents to elaborate their perceptions. For the population under study, this also held for other possible destinations, which most individuals had never actually visited, so that they usually possessed only limited information about them. Media discourses and discourses of returned migrants as well as friends and relatives abroad proved to be important information sources for the shaping of perceptions and imaginations in relation to the democracy and human rights situation in prospective asylum and migration destinations. This limited, second-hand information, often responding to locally emerging social and material needs, may be assumed to either appeal or not to potential migrants to specific destinations. In this context, the EUMAGINE project set out to specifically explore how persons in source countries perceived human rights and democracy-related issues at home and in destinations countries with a view to assessing how these perceptions are linked to migration aspirations and decision-making in particular.

The core notion underlying the project was that macro- and meso-level discourses on human rights and democracy affect micro-level perceptions of such topics in countries of origin and transit, and that this will in turn help shape migratory aspirations and decisions. This central idea encompasses two major assumptions. First, it was assumed that these perceptions, aspirations and decisions are socially and culturally embedded, i.e. largely influenced by the context in which they are structured. Within this framework, the main hypothesis was that policy, media and popular discourses on human rights and democracy impact on the imagination of migration as a valuable life project ('migratory imaginations') as well as on imaginations of specific destination countries ('geographical imaginations'). Second, it was hypothesised that these perceptions and imaginations correlate positively with migratory aspirations and migration decision-making. Hence if attitudes towards and conceptions of emigration countries or regions are positive, they are more likely to feature in migration aspirations and to be chosen as migration destinations. Conversely, if individuals hold negative views of migration as a life project or of regions as emigration destinations, they are less likely to aspire to migration or to opt for emigration to such places.

By assigning a potentially influential role to prospective migrants' perceptions in the shaping of their migration aspirations and decisions, it was assumed that migrants' individual choices and their capacity to act upon their aspirations were also important. At the same time, it was fully acknowledged that various factors in the migration environment can interfere with the direct relationship between motivations and behaviour, including the existence of social networks, the availability of economic resources, trafficking and other migration-inducing factors, etc. Therefore, while the agency of potential migrants was taken as a starting point for the research project, much attention was also dedicated to processes unfolding in the person and the direct environment of the migrant. This micro-level approach breaks with macro-structural international migration theories and world system theory, where migration is seen as the outcome of a 'black box' of macro-historical and structural conditions such as 'globalisation', 'population pressure', 'dual labour markets', etc.

In contrast, the EUMAGINE project explicitly set out to focus on migrants' agency and individual choices. It was assumed that focusing on the identities, perceptions, motivations and actions of the actors inside this box would be revealing about and lead to new insights in migratory processes. The spotlight on micro level processes and individual decision-making was never intended as a return to neo-classical economic theories, where migrants are assumed to be rational-choice beings, comparing the relative costs and benefits of remaining in the area of origin and moving to various alternative destinations. In fact, the EUMAGINE project expressly calls into question the supposed rationality and context-non-specificity on which neoclassical theories rely by hypothesising that the impact of perceived human rights and democracy status and the context of the emigration environment is prominent in migration decision-making.

The project was composed of the following main research objectives and sub-objectives:

1. To enhance understanding of human rights and democracy-related imaginations in migrant-sending countries, with a specific focus on gender. This objective was attained through a conceptual elaboration, data collection and comprehensive data analysis, cross-cultural comparisons and refinement of the initial theoretical framework. Moreover, the findings and conclusions were distributed through the Project Papers, annual scientific reports and scientific dissemination.
1.1. to grasp migration as a gendered, socially and culturally constructed project ('migratory imaginations');
1.2. to reveal the social and cultural construction of countries of destination, more specifically EU Member States, on the basis of perceived human rights and democracy status ('geographical imaginations');
1.3. to acquire insight into the relative popularity of Europe and of specific European destination countries as compared to other major emigration destinations such as the US, Russia, Canada and Australia, and the importance that perceived human rights and democracy status plays in this respect;
1.4. to understand how perceptions of human rights and democracy are related to migration aspirations and decisions.

2. To study how perceptions of human rights, democracy, migration and possible destination countries are affected by various macro and meso-level (contextual) as well as individual factors. This objective was achieved by a separate focus on these three levels in the course of the research project. The following factors were considered:
2.1. Macro level: human rights, democracy and emigration policies in source countries, political, juridical and socioeconomic situation, EU policy, and media;
2.2. Meso level: households, popular discourses, local and transnational networks, local culture;
2.3. Micro level: gender, social networks, educational level, migration history and political-juridical and socioeconomic status.

3. To study how perceptions of human rights and democracy and 'geographical imaginations' relate to migration aspirations and migration. The fieldwork, data analysis and cross-cultural comparisons were the key information sources in the research project for understanding this relationship.
3.1. To demonstrate how perceptions inform specific aspirations to migrate, to aspire for specific modes of migration, and to aspire for moving to certain destinations;
3.2. To demonstrate how perceptions and imaginations relate to migration decisions.

4. To contribute to better informed migration policymaking, with due consideration to human rights and democracy-related issues as important determinants of migration. On the basis of the data analyses, recommendations were formulated providing information towards adapting these policies through country-specific as well as cross-country policy briefs
4.1. To analyse how European human rights and migration policies affect perceptions outside Europe of the human rights and democracy status of both Europe itself and of the home countries, and, consequently, how they impact on migration aspirations and decision-making;
4.2. To analyse whether and how non-state actors' activities affect perceptions on migration-to-Europe decision-making;
4.3. To provide policy recommendations towards a more balanced and sustainable EU human rights and migration policy in relation to and in cooperation with sending countries.

5. To contribute to local capacity building in third countries, in order to prepare the ground for locally based research initiatives in the future. This objective was achieved through the involvement of source country institutions, policy think tanks and researchers throughout the project. Moreover, all partners participated in meetings, and were involved in the organisation of an international conference on the topic at hand, which was held in Brussels in January 2013.
5.1. To closely collaborate with research institutes and policy think tanks in various sending countries;
5.2. To involve students of relevant disciplines in the project.

Project Results:

Imagining Europe from the Outside (EUMAGINE) set out to understand why people in Europe's neighbouring regions may or may not want to migrate to Europe. The project paid particular attention to people's perceptions of human rights and democracy-both in Europe and in their home country. Data collection was carried out in Senegal, Morocco, Turkey and Ukraine. In each of these countries, the project team selected four research areas representing diverse socioeconomic and migration contexts.

A detailed survey of 8,000 individuals was conducted. Quantitative data were collected by means of a survey covering 500 respondents in each Research Area, yielding a project-wide total of 8000. Plans for random sampling were worked out for each research area in accordance with local conditions. A detailed questionnaire was developed over a ten-month period, including through extensive pilot testing in each research area. Questions covered household migration histories, individual migration aspirations, perceptions of human rights and democracy, and a range of other topics.

Qualitative interviews were conducted to obtain deeper insight into the issues at hand. The qualitative data were collected through in-depth interviews and observation. In each of the sixteen research areas, the national research team conducted twenty interviews. The qualitative material obtained from the total of 320 interviews provided an opportunity to contextualise the quantitative results and to gain a better understanding of the social processes behind observed statistical patterns. The qualitative interviews also enabled us to take into account possible impacts of the financial crisis in Europe, which was unfolding while data collection was under way.

I. Multivariate cross-country analysis

I.1. Linking perceptions of corruption and job opportunities to migration aspirations in four countries

Following the conceptual and theoretical framework of the EUMAGINE project, it was hypothesised that perceptions of human rights and democracy, and migratory and geographical imaginations, play a crucial role in shaping migration aspirations. From this, two basic hypotheses were drawn for the purpose of a first multivariate analysis. First, it was assumed that there is a negative relationship between the perceived human rights and democracy situation in the current country of residence and migration aspirations. And second, there was assumed to be positive relationship between the perceived human rights and democracy status in Europe and the aspirations to migrate. The dependent variable in the analysis was 'having aspirations'. In the survey, the following question was asked: 'Ideally, if you had the opportunity, would you like to go abroad to live or work some time during the next five years, or would you prefer staying in this country'. The key independent variables proxy the perceptions on the human rights and democracy situation in the country of residence and in Europe. EUMAGINE applies a broad definition of human rights and democracy, comprising concepts of 'negative' as well as 'positive' freedom. Perceived 'negative' rights were estimated by using variables that measured perceived democracy and corruption, safety and security, individual liberties (freedom of expression and cultural freedom), and women's rights. Similarly, perceived positive rights were measured by means of variables that estimated perceived quality of and access to employment, social security, health care and education.

In this first analysis, the perception of corruption was chosen as a parameter because it represents the most frequently mentioned dimension of 'negative rights' violations in the four research countries covered in the EUMAGINE project. On average, more than 80% of the population in the research areas agreed or strongly agreed with the statement that corruption is common in their country of residence. The average scores on this variable ranged from 75.2% in the research areas of Senegal to nearly 92% in Morocco. Corruption and bribery undermine the rule of law and can affect access to basic human rights such as health care and education. Among the surveyed communities in the four research countries, quality of and access to employment was the most frequently cited 'positive human right'. There were however striking differences between the four countries. Nearly 79% of the respondents in the Turkish regions disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement that it is easy to find a job in the country of residence, compared to less than half of respondents from Morocco (47.5%), although there was considerable variation between the research areas, with 32.2% disagreement in Tangier and 71.2% in the Central Plateau. These differences in perceptions are undoubtedly due to variations in (un)employment rates across countries and research areas. Across countries, access to and quality of employment was among the most commonly cited negative perceptions, hence it was selected as the focus of the first multivariate analysis.

It was hypothesised that household wealth plays a significant role in shaping both the capacities and the aspirations to migrate of household members. Household wealth may be assumed not only to partly determine the ability to afford the nominal and opportunity costs as well as risks of migration, but also to help shape feelings of internal and international relative deprivation. If such household-level factors indeed play an important role in migration decision-making, quantitative (and qualitative) assessments of the impact of the perceived human rights status of countries of origin and destination ought to control for the effect of household wealth on migration aspirations and intentions. For instance, while poor people may have more negative perceptions of opportunities in origin countries, they may not aspire to migrate, simply because they consider it to be beyond their means (i.e. the capacity to aspire). On the other hand, relatively well-off individuals may aspire to migrate because they see it as a realistic option, even if they have more positive outlook on job opportunities in their countries of origin. Not controlling for the effect of wealth on migration aspirations and intentions could therefore inadvertently create insignificant or otherwise distorted estimates of the effects of household wealth. Based on a series of household asset variables from the survey, an asset index was devised as a proxy for household wealth using principal component analysis.

I.2. Results

The results appeared to partially confirm the initial hypothesis that perceptions of human rights and democracy status, and migratory and geographical imaginations play a significant role in shaping migratory aspirations. However, the observed effects of perceived human rights and democracy status of the country of residence and of Europe were not equally significant in the four countries.

For Morocco, the two initial hypotheses were partially confirmed. Negative perceptions of job accessibility in the country of residence resulted in higher migration aspirations, while positive perceptions of job opportunities in Europe had the opposite effect. However, perceptions of the level of corruption in respectively Morocco and in Europe were found not to have significant effect on migration aspirations. It is not entirely clear why this should be the case. It could be seen as an indication that cross-country comparisons of economic opportunities dominate in the construction of migration aspiration, or it may be due to interrelations between the two variables. For instance, a high level of corruption may obstruct access to the formal job market for non-elite groups, in which case the two variables may be seen to measure the same concept. Further research is needed to understand these results.

In Turkey, perceptions of employment opportunities in respectively Turkey and Europe were found to have the expected significant effects. Unlike in Morocco, high perceived corruption in Turkey also impacted significantly and positively on migration aspirations, while perceptions of corruption levels in Europe had no significant effect.

Senegal was the only country where neither perceptions of employment opportunities nor of corruption levels in Europe had a significant effect on migration aspirations. The perceptions of the situation in Senegal did have a significant impact, though not necessarily in the expected direction. It was established that negative perceptions of employment opportunities in Senegal had the expected, significantly positive, effect on migration aspirations. However, negative perceptions of corruption levels in Senegal were found to have a negative effect on migration aspirations, which is counterintuitive, and difficult to explain. It is unclear whether the absence of significant effects of perceptions of Europe may be due to a relatively limited knowledge on the part of the respondents in Senegal (as compared to respondents from the other survey countries) about the situation in Europe. Further research is required for a better understanding of these findings.

Ukraine was the only country for which all the hypotheses were confirmed. Negative perceptions of corruption levels and job opportunities in Ukraine were found to have a significantly positive effect on migration aspirations; positive perceptions of the same issues in Europe were likewise found to have a positive and significant effect.

I.3. Other potential determinants of migration aspirations

Household wealth was found to have a highly significant negative effect on migration aspirations in the Moroccan and Turkish regions, whereas the effect in Senegal was negative but barely significant. Separate analyses that investigated a possible nonlinearity of this relationship did not yield significant results. This would seem to contradict the assumption that the poorest migrate less. On the other hand, the explanation could lie in the gap between migration aspirations and capabilities. Although the poor may have higher migration aspirations as a result of relative deprivation (partly influenced by the confrontation with the relative wealth of migrants), it is conceivable that they migrate less due to a lack of resources or fewer contacts with previous emigrants. In Ukraine, no evidence was found of a relationship between household wealth and migration aspirations, and non-linearity tests did not yield significant results either. Perhaps this is due to the fact that the profiles and most common destinations (Russia) of Ukrainian migrants differ from those of migrants from the other countries, though further study is required to corroborate this assumption.

Female gender was identified as having a significant negative effect on migration aspirations in all four countries, as expected, while the effects of the age and marital status variables highlight the importance of lifecycle factors on migration aspirations. In almost all research areas, age was found to have a negative effect on migration aspirations, although in Turkey this effect was not significant. Having a partner also reduced respondents' likelihood of having migration aspirations in all countries except Turkey.

The relationship between education and migration aspiration appears to be less unequivocal. Turkey was the only country where education had a positive effect on migration, even if it was not linear. One possible explanation is that the higher-educated in Turkey feel they face better social and economic prospects in the booming economy of Turkey than they would had they migrated. At the same time, the lowest-educated may have lower capabilities and aspirations to migrate, while persons with an intermediate level of education may have the highest migration aspirations. However, these explanations are tentative and again require further research. Similar patterns emerged in Morocco and Senegal, though the results were not significant. Again, the observations for Ukraine diverged from those for the other countries, but they were not found to be significant.

Although personal experience with internal or international migration did seem to result in higher migration aspirations (as expected), the results were not significant, except for Ukraine, where the effect of internal migration experience was found to be strong and highly significant. The results indicate that the presence of migration experiences among relatives had a positive effect in all four countries, but only significantly so in the Moroccan research areas. This suggests that it should not be taken for granted that migration experiences lead to higher migration aspirations. After all, negative experiences of acquaintances or relatives might conceivably result in lower migration aspirations.

In the case of Morocco, after controlling for all other factors, migration aspirations were found to be significantly lower in Tangier (the immigration research area), in Tounfite (the human rights research area) and the Central Plateau (the low-emigration research area) than in the Todgha Valley, the high-emigration region. This finding would appear to make sense. Tangier is a fast-growing region, with large ongoing infrastructure projects and a booming housing sector, and it attracts investment by foreign companies that seek to outsource labour-intensive activities. These circumstances have translated into better job opportunities for local residents and internal migrants. Hence, Tangier has become an internal migration destination. Despite the proximity of Europe and the fact that Tangier is a major transit hub to Europe, the booming local economy and prevailing negative perceptions of crisis-ridden Europe, combined with negative perceptions of the circumstances of Moroccan migrants in Spain (the main destination of emigrants from Tangier), may explain why migration aspirations are relatively low in this location. While the Todgha valley has a long tradition, arguably even a 'culture' of emigration, the regions of Tounfite and the Central Plateau are geographically and economically more peripheral. Another possible explanatory factor is that, considering their high poverty rates and low access to education, these men and women possess neither the resources nor the kind of information that may help shape migration aspirations..

I.4. Conclusion on the effects of perceptions of corruption levels and of job opportunities on migration aspirations

Hence, the first multivariate quantitative analysis only partially confirmed the hypotheses regarding the impact of perceptions of the human rights and democracy status of the countries of residence and Europe on migration aspirations. While all hypotheses were confirmed in the case of the Ukrainian research areas, the results obtained across the other countries varied. Overall, the results pointed in the expected direction, with negative perceptions of job opportunities and corruption levels in the own country and positive perceptions of Europe generally producing positive effects. However, perceptions of corruption levels at home and in Europe were not found to have significant effects on the migration aspirations of respondents in Morocco, while respondents in Turkey and Senegal were not significantly affected by perceptions of the corruption levels in Europe. This finding would also seem to suggest that perceptions of job opportunities in the home country and in Europe are more instrumental in shaping migration aspirations than perceived corruption. This would appear to make sense, as the relationship between job opportunities and personal advancement would appear to be more direct. However, corruption may conceivably affect access to jobs, suggesting that the two variables might be interrelated.

This analysis also highlighted the importance of gender and lifecycle-related factors (e.g. age and marital status). In addition, household wealth and education seem to play a significant role, though the extent to which this is the case may vary considerably across countries and regions.

Overall, these initial analysis results provided confirmation of the EUMAGINE project's principal hypothesis: in a previously underexplored area of study. It was empirically demonstrated that perceptions do matter in shaping migration aspirations and, ultimately, migration decision-making. This highlights that migration is more than a rational, utility-optimising individual decision-making process. However, the other main conclusion was that the role of aspirations and other migration determinants, such as education, wealth and prior migration experience, differ quite significantly across countries and regions. This observation illustrates how crucially important it is to take into account the particular context in which migration occurs, as well as the particular types of education (e.g. low or high-skilled) and the specificities of the migration destinations. For this reason, it would be inappropriate to assume that the experiences of Senegalese and Ukrainian migrants are the same. While this does not mean that they cannot be compared, the different contexts in which migration occurs can clearly help explain the different outcomes of this analysis. This conclusion underlines the importance of combining quantitative and qualitative research approaches, as the latter can provide contextual insights that lead to a better understanding of the results obtained.

II. Qualitative evidence leading to additional insights

As previously mentioned, the multivariate quantitative data analysis focused on two key variables as indicators of perceptions of human rights and democracy status: perceptions of the quality of and access to employment and perceptions of corruption levels, both in the country of residence and in Europe. Corruption was selected because it was the most frequently mentioned instance of 'negative rights' violations in the four research countries covered in the EUMAGINE project. And among the surveyed communities, quality of and access to suitable employment emerged as the dimension of 'positive human rights' most frequently alluded to by respondents. The multivariate analysis concluded that negative perceptions of job opportunities and corruption levels in the home country have positive effects on migration aspirations and positive perceptions of these aspects in Europe have positive effects on migration aspirations. The analysis also suggested that perceptions of job opportunities in the home country and Europe play a more important role in shaping migration aspirations than perceptions of corruption levels. Furthermore, the outcome of the multivariate cross-country survey analysis underscored the importance of combining quantitative research with qualitative work, as argued above.

Taking this conclusion into account, the next step in the EUMAGINE project was to conduct additional cross-country qualitative data analyses with a view to better contextualising the previously presented results of the quantitative multivariate analysis. Given the centrality of the variables 'perceptions of corruption levels' and 'perceptions of job opportunities' in the EUMAGINE hypotheses, the first focus of the qualitative analysis pertained to these key perceptions as indicators of perceptions of human rights and democracy. Although, in all four research countries, qualitative evidence was found among the informants of a strong presence of migration aspirations to Europe, the qualitative cross-country analysis revealed that there was greater 'enthusiasm' for migration to Europe among informants from Morocco and Senegal than among those from Turkey and Ukraine.

II.1. Perceptions of job opportunities in the home country and in Europe

The qualitative cross-country data analysis revealed a general tendency among the informants in the four research countries - irrespective of the research area and the main socio-demographic characteristics of the informants - to perceive the domestic economic situation in general and the availability of jobs in particular quite negatively, while they perceived these aspects more positively in Europe. There is ample qualitative evidence in all four countries to illustrate the prevalence of pessimism when it comes to finding work in the home country. Lack of employment opportunities was frequently mentioned by informants in discussions of the domestic economic situation during the qualitative interviews. By contrast, informants talked in a distinctly more positive way about job opportunities in Europe.

II.2. Perceptions of corruption levels in the own country and in Europe

As in the case of perceptions of job availability, the qualitative cross-country data analysis revealed a general tendency among informants from Morocco, Senegal, Turkey and Ukraine to perceive the level of corruption in their own country much more negatively than corruption levels in Europe, i.e. they regarded corruption to be far less common or even almost non-existent in Europe.

There was a broad consensus among informants in Ukraine that horizontal and vertical corruption is widespread in their country.

In sum, the qualitative cross-country analysis revealed (1) a general tendency among the informants in the four countries to be pessimistic about levels of corruption and job opportunities in their own country and optimistic about these aspects in Europe; (2) an explicit link between informants' perceptions of job availability and their migration aspirations; and, (3) no clear relationship between informants' perceived prevalence of corruption and their migration aspirations. Hence, these qualitative cross-country findings are in line with the multivariate analysis conclusions that 'perceptions of job opportunities in the home country and Europe play a more important role in shaping migration aspirations than perceptions of levels of corruption. '

II.3. Other democracy and human rights-related determinants of migration aspirations

As previously mentioned, the EUMAGINE project applies a broad definition of human rights and democracy, comprising concepts of negative as well as positive freedom. Incorporated as 'negative rights' into the project are democracy and political rights (democracy and state/police corruption), safety and security, individual liberties (freedom of expression and cultural freedom) and women's rights. The 'positive definition' of human rights and democracy applied by the project encompasses not only quality of and access to employment and social security, but also fairness in other domains of societal life, such as access to education and equality between men and women. Therefore, it was deemed necessary also to look for qualitative evidence regarding the potential influence of other democracy and human rights-related determinants of migration aspirations. Further analysis of the qualitative data revealed that perceptions of education opportunities and equal gender opportunities impact on migration aspirations.

II.3.1. Educational opportunities

Cross-country qualitative data analysis pointed at a substantial impact of perceptions of educational opportunities in the own country and in Europe on respondents' migration aspirations. Informants in all four research countries tended to perceive educational opportunities in their own country more negatively than educational opportunities in Europe.

II.3.2. Equal gender opportunities

Qualitative data analysis revealed that migration aspirations are shaped not only by perceptions of educational opportunities in Europe, but also by perceptions of gender equality in the home country and in Europe. In general, gender equality was perceived to be lower at home than in Europe.

II.4. Other determinants of migration aspirations

The EUMAGINE project set out to analyse how perceptions of human rights and democracy-related aspects affected migration aspirations, and to compare their impact with that of other determinants of migration. The multivariate quantitative analysis took into account the effect of other factors that were deemed likely to affect migration aspirations, such as individual and household-level socioeconomic background variables, as well as the migration experience of the respondents and their relatives. The analysis results highlighted the importance of gender and lifecycle-related factors such as age and marital status. Also household wealth and education appeared to play a significant role, though to varying degrees across countries and regions. All these factors may be regarded as strongly family-related. Qualitative evidence was sought of their potential influence on migration aspirations. It emerged from the data analysis that three family-related variables were relevant: (1) belonging to transnational family networks, (2) marital status and (3) having children. Strikingly, the qualitative evidence for the influence of these family-related variables on migration aspirations was stronger among female than among male informants.

II.4.1.Transnational family networks
Qualitative evidence supports the existence of a positive impact on migration aspirations of having relatives abroad. Informants - mainly women - in the four research countries mentioned transnational family networks as a condition for migration.

II.4.2. Marital status and having children
Two further family-related variables were identified in the qualitative data analysis as important to the shaping of migration aspirations, namely marital status and having children. The relevance of these variables had already been suggested by the multivariate quantitative analysis. Hence, the qualitative data provide support for the results of the multivariate analyses. Informants - mainly women - in the four research countries mentioned matrimony and parenthood as reasons not to aspire to migration.

II.5. Europe's economic crisis: a factor in assessing one's 'life satisfaction'

According to EUMAGINE's initial hypotheses, an individual's migration aspirations are shaped not only by perceptions of human rights, defined as access to economic and social justice, but also by a number of other determinants, including family-related considerations. A further determinant that was assumed to come into play was the individual's degree of 'life satisfaction'. The survey questions on the respondent's life satisfaction comprised an important comparative element, both in time and in space. Respondents were encouraged to compare their present situation with the past and with their expectations for the future, as well as with the situation of other relevant persons in other places.

One of the most striking characteristics of Europe today is its ongoing economic crisis. It may be safely assumed that this macro-economic phenomenon impacts on how people currently assess their degree of 'life satisfaction', especially among those who find Europe a relevant point of reference. The EUMAGINE data were collected during and within the context of this global economic crisis, which has hit Europe particularly hard. Consequently, and rather importantly, the qualitative research was able to provide insight into the impact of the economic crisis on migration-related perceptions and aspirations, which would not have been possible on the basis of quantitative data alone.

More specifically, the qualitative data analysis revealed that the economic crisis in Europe has impacted negatively on perceptions of Europe and hence also on aspirations to migrate to Europe. Such indications are found in the data collected in Turkey, Ukraine and Morocco. An informant interviewed in Morocco, for example, explained how his perception of Europe had changed due to the downturn. Before, he had regarded Europe as a kind of 'paradise', where jobs were plentiful. But now, since Europe had been hit by the crisis, he felt life was easier in his home region than it was in Europe.

II.6. Conclusions from the qualitative cross-country analyses

The qualitative cross-country analyses yielded some important insights. First, they showed that, especially in Senegal and Morocco, respondents were particularly outspoken in considering migration to Europe. Second, the qualitative data in the four research countries provided indications of an important and direct impact on migration aspirations of perceptions of job opportunities in the home country and in Europe. Third, the qualitative data revealed that, although perceptions of corruption levels in Europe and in the home country were relevant to many statements, rarely was an explicit connection made with migration aspirations. Moreover, two further democracy and human rights- related variables - namely perceptions of educational opportunities and perceptions of equal gender opportunities - emerged as relevant migration incentives from many interviews. The qualitative data also revealed the relevance to migration aspirations of other variables, such as marital status, having children and transnational family networks, especially among female informants. Finally, the qualitative data analyses provided insight into the impact of the economic crisis on migration-related perceptions and aspirations.

III. Confirming the qualitative findings through additional statistical analyses

The qualitative analyses yielded new insights that, in turn, required closer quantitative scrutiny. First, evidence was found that migration aspirations are affected not only by perceptions of job availability and of corruption levels, but also by perceptions of specific other human rights and democracy-related aspects: i.e. educational opportunities and equal gender opportunities also impact positively on migration aspirations. Second, gender-specific family-related determinants were identified as relevant in the qualitative study. More specifically, being married and having children appeared to have a relatively significant negative influence on migration aspirations. The qualitative analyses also found that having relatives who have previously migrated is relatively more important to women than to men as an incentive to migrate . Third, the qualitative data demonstrated that particularly in Senegal and in Morocco informants were outspoken in considering migration to Europe.

In a subsequent step, the project considered additional quantitative evidence for these new qualitative findings. The dependent variable in this part of the research is 'aspiration to migrate to Europe'. Europe is the chosen destination of most individuals covered by this study. Moreover, the on-going economic crisis in Europe sets the continent apart from other possible destinations. Hence it is relevant to single it out in this way. Of the 8,000 respondents in the four countries (Morocco, Turkey, Senegal and Ukraine) 3,605 reported having aspirations to migrate to 'Europe' (compared to 3,626 who expressed no migration aspirations, the remainder aspiring to migrate elsewhere). Individuals who reported a desire to migrate to a destination other than Europe were excluded from this part of the analysis.

The following independent variables were used to test the new qualitative findings in a statistical analysis of the whole sample: 1) age, 2) marital status, 3) children, 4) previous family migration experience, 5) perceived corruption level in the own country and in Europe, 6) perceived job opportunities in the own country and in Europe, 7) gender, 8) years of education, and 9) position on the wealth index. In addition, a new variable was constructed for the purpose of measuring perceptions of social opportunities in Europe. The presence of gender-specific family-related motivations for European migration aspirations was also examined statistically.

III.1. Hypotheses

In respect of perceptions of corruption levels in Europe and in the own country, the previous qualitative analysis found that these factors were frequently mentioned during interviews, yet rarely were they explicitly linked to migration aspirations. In the earlier multivariate cross-country analysis, the effect on migration aspirations was observed of a negative perceptions of corruption level, which was found to be the strongest in Ukraine. However, the influence of perceptions of job opportunities on migration aspirations was found to be more apparent, an observation that was subsequently confirmed in the cross-country qualitative analyses: a more positive perception of job opportunities in Europe resulted more often in an aspiration to migrate.

III.2. Analysis

The analysis applied binary logistic regression with migration aspiration to Europe as the dependent variable and the following independent variables: 1) age, 2) marital status, 3) children, 4) family migration experience, 5) perceived corruption levels in the home country and in Europe, 6) perceived job opportunities in the home country and in Europe, 7) gender, 8) years of education, and, 9) perceived social opportunities.

In the following sections, three models are presented, (1) a full model covering all respondents, (2) a model focusing on female respondents only and (3) a model focusing on male respondents only. All models were calculated for all four countries combined. Although in reality the decision to migrate can be a collective decision by males and females, it was decided that the focus should be on migration aspirations of men and women separately.

III.2.1. Description of the full model: all respondents
The first model reports on the analysis of the full sample: it suggests that the qualitative findings of the previous section are confirmed in the quantitative data. Turkish respondents have the lowest probability to aspire to migration to Europe, followed by respondents living in the Ukraine, Morocco and Senegal. Senegalese respondents have the highest probability to aspire to migration.

III.2.2. Description of the models with female and male respondents
When divided by gender, the analysis results reveal gender-specific determinants of migration aspirations to Europe. It is important to emphasise at this point that women in one country are compared to women in the other countries (and similarly for men). The positive effect of previous family migration experience appears to be stronger among women than among men. Also, the negative effect of being married and having children is stronger among women than among men. Male respondents, on the other hand, are more likely to have migration aspirations to Europe if they hold more positive perceptions of social opportunities in Europe. Although this positive effect is stronger among men than among women, it is positive for both groups. Interestingly, the impact of material wealth, age and perceived job opportunities in Europe does not change dramatically when male and female respondents are analysed separately.

III.3. Conclusions on the additional quantitative analyses

From the foregoing, it follows that quantitative confirmation was obtained for the new qualitative findings. Under hypothesis one, a positive perception of social opportunities in Europe was assumed to lead to a higher probability to aspire to migration to Europe. Family-related determinants (having children, being married, belonging to transnational family networks) were assumed to be particularly relevant in modelling migration aspirations among women. Finally, Senegalese respondents were assumed to be most likely to hold migration aspirations, followed by Moroccan, Ukrainian and Turkish respondents. In order to test these hypotheses, the quantitative survey data were analysed using binary logistic regression. All three hypotheses were confirmed.

IV General conclusions
The aspiration to migrate to another country may be influenced by different considerations, and determinants of migration aspirations can be analysed at three distinct levels: the macro, meso and micro levels. Under the EUMAGINE project, the hypothesis was formulated that migration aspirations are affected by perceptions of democracy and human rights – broadly defined - while controlling for other relevant factors that are situated at the macro, meso and / or micro levels. On the basis of the analyses of data collected in accordance with quantitative (survey) and qualitative (in-depth interviews and observations) methodologies, we were able to (partially) confirm our hypothesis.

In a first multivariate analysis, we operationalised perceptions on human rights and democracy by looking at people's perceptions in relation to job opportunities, corruption levels, educational opportunities and gender equality. The hypotheses concerning the impact of perceptions of job opportunities and of corruption levels were fully confirmed in the case of the Ukrainian research areas. For the other countries, the results obtained were in line with expectations, as negative perceptions of job opportunities and corruption levels in the home country were found to have positive effects on migration aspirations, while positive perceptions of job opportunities and corruption levels in Europe were also found to have positive effects on migration aspirations. It should however be noted that perceptions of corruption levels at home and in Europe were not found to have significant effects on the migration aspirations of respondents in Morocco, while respondents in Turkey and Senegal were not significantly affected by perceptions of corruption levels in Europe. Interestingly these results suggest that perceptions of job opportunities in the own country and in Europe play a more prominent role in shaping migration aspirations than perceptions of corruption levels do.

The subsequent qualitative cross-country analyses underpinned these findings. Informants in all four countries explicitly linked job opportunities with migration aspirations. Although they often complained about corruption in their own country and believed that corruption was less widespread in Europe, this was rarely explicitly mentioned during the interviews as an incentive for migration. The qualitative cross-country analyses also informed about the relevance of other human rights and democracy-related factors. Informants often motivated their desire to migrate by referring to better educational opportunities in Europe than in their own region. In addition, gender equality in Europe was cited by men as well as women as an explicit motivation to migrate. Both insights were confirmed through multi-regression analysis.

As expected, migration aspirations are codetermined by additional factors situated at different social or societal levels. At the outset of the project, it was assumed that the general macro contexts of the countries of origin and destination influence people's migration aspirations. The overall social, political and economic context of the four countries is very different, with Turkey having made most progress over the past decades in terms of economic growth. Turkey is today one of the fastest growing economies in the world. On the other hand, Europe - despite its high scores on a variety of economic and development indicators - is in the midst of a huge economic crisis. Migration aspirations appeared to be the highest in Senegal, followed by Morocco and Ukraine, and they were the lowest in Turkey. This finding was also corroborated in the qualitative cross-country analyses.

Potential Impact:

The project's impact is situated at several levels:
(1) the project has advanced the state of the art in the field with the contribution of various disciplines and area studies
(2) the project has enhanced cooperation between researchers in Europe and in the regions and countries studied
(3) the project has enabled the scholarly community to prepare future steps towards a significant collaborative international research drive
(4) the project has contributed to the improvement of the formulation, development and implementation of European and national policies

The research project has integrated several areas of inquiry and, in so doing, has touched upon a number of EU policy concerns:
(1) EU human rights and democracy policies;
(2) EU migration policy in general, and especially policy strategies relating to undocumented migration, asylum, victims of human trafficking, unaccompanied minors, labour migration, marriage migration, pendulum migration, return migration, migration of students, seasonal migration, etc;
(3) EU human resources policies in general and labour market policies in particular, insofar as they relate to the enhancement of Europe's competitiveness in the context of globalising economies;
(4) integration policies targeting immigrants in the EU, coping with the challenges posed by the human rights standards of integration, (irregular) labour market participation, multicultural and multireligious interactions with profound implications for Europe;
(5) EU international policies in relation to its political, economic, social and cultural cooperation with sending and transit countries;
(6) EU policies concerning potential EU enlargement, specifically with Turkey, but conceivably also with Ukraine and Morocco; and,
(7) EU strategies towards development policies in Southern countries.

Five policy briefs were drawn up on the basis of the research results, both at country and cross-country level, and presented to the public at the Round-up conference in Brussels on 23 January 2013. At cross-country level, the policy considerations were formulated as follows:
1) Negative perceptions regarding the existence of high levels of corruption in the home country as compared to Europe are important factors in the high levels of migration aspirations towards Europe. Promoting respect for human rights and democracy in terms of corruption and political transparency in emigration countries may induce a reduction in the level of migration aspirations.
2) The EUMAGINE project shows that - except in Turkey, which has experienced remarkable economic growth over the past decade and where migration aspirations are on the decline - migration aspirations continue to be high, not least because of a (perceived) lack of access to and quality of social institutions in the home country.
3) The EU is encouraged to promote gender equality in third countries. In the EUMAGINE survey, two-thirds of respondents (68%) consider women in Europe to have equal opportunities to men, while only 42% consider gender opportunities in the home country to be equal. Analysis has indicated that these perceptions induce migration aspirations among both men and women in all four research countries.
4) Promoting job creation and development policies in third countries is important. Migration aspirations continue to be high due to the (perceived) lack of job opportunities in all research countries with the exception of Turkey.
5) The EUMAGINE project advocates that 'mobility' be promoted as a human right for all, contrary to the current juxtaposition between 'mobility for EU nationals' and 'migration for Third Country nationals'. Circular migration should also be encouraged.

The policy considerations coming out the Moroccan research are the following:
1) Making migration policy less security-based is an essential approach to migration;
2) Revisiting the co-development policy by moving towards a policy generalisation instead of the current case-by-case country approach;
3) Morocco and Europe must change their views on the migrant;
4) Consolidating Morocco's achievements in the field of democracy and human rights;
5) Accompanying female seasonal migration; and,
6) Informing youngsters about the hazards of illegal immigration and encouraging exchanges between Moroccan and European youth, particularly through travel, summer camps, youth projects, and scholarships.

The policy considerations relating to Turkey are as follows :
1) In relation to the discussion of Turkey's accession to the EU, where freedom of movement is a pressing agenda item in the context of EU-Turkish relations, the finding that aspirations to migrate in Turkey are low is a valuable and potentially constructive finding;
2) The asserted common opinion is that the majority of Turkey's population would migrate to Europe if they were granted freedom of movement within EU borders;
3) EUMAGINE findings on low migrant aspiration in Turkey prove otherwise and call this commonly voiced opinion into question;
4) On this basis, freedom of movement or visa facilitation for Turkish citizens may be reconsidered;
5) The deteriorating image of Europe as a geography where immigrants are treated badly is incompatible with the values and principles that the EU was founded upon;
6) In order to tackle the issue, changes in legislature are required, alongside other mechanisms to overcome this public image; and,
7) Policymakers should moreover campaign against Europe's xenophobic image in order to attract necessary migrants, particularly those who possess higher workforce skills.

The policy considerations with regard to Senegal emphasise that
1) Senegalese migrants and their families may have interests that differ from those of governments. It is in their interest to make migration less restricted, less costly, and less dangerous, yet these objectives can be at odds with European efforts to regulate migration tightly;
2) Most Senegalese migrants want to create a better future for their families in Senegal;
3) Improving conditions for Senegalese migrants in Europe will make it easier to achieve this aim; and
4) Increased opportunities for circular migration can benefit both the Senegalese migrants and the development process in Senegal, while it can also help accommodate the labour needs of Europe.

The Ukraine policy considerations include the following :
1) National governments of the EU Member States should be encouraged to sign and ratify bilateral agreements with Ukraine in order to improve protection of fundamental rights of Ukrainian labour migrants in the EU;
2) More legal labour migration channels should be introduced and visa requirements liberalised;
3) EU support to Ukraine's civil society should be intensified and special attention should be paid to NGOs; and
4) EU, Ukraine and other stakeholders should jointly conduct balanced migration information campaigns to educate people about labour migration opportunities, risks and benefits and how to manage them.

The main dissemination activities and exploitation of results
In order to maximise the dissemination of the project results, EUMAGINE has incorporated a dissemination programme from the start of the project, encompassing various instruments and target audiences. At the kick-off meeting, a Communication Team was appointed, consisting of a representative of each partner. The Communication Team was charged with the elaboration of a Programme of Dissemination, which was approved by all partners at the 2nd Consortium meeting in Istanbul. The Programme of Dissemination took into account such issues as: further identification of target groups, communication partners (in the partner countries as well as within relevant EU institutions) and dissemination channels. The Communication Team was convened on the occasion of the five Consortium Meetings. During these meetings, the Communication Team elaborated and followed up on the Programme of Dissemination, and reported back via the plenary session to the other members of the Consortium Meeting.

List of Websites:

http://www.eumagine.org