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A Mediterranean Dialogue on how “Dealing with Migration” and “Revitalizing Partnerships in a Post-Pandemic World” | (dot)migration

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Launched in 2015, MED – Mediterranean Dialogue is an annual high-level forum held in Rome aimed to reflect on the current and shared challenges the Middle East and the broader Mediterranean region have to face. Organized by the Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI) under the patronage of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, MED initiative can be depicted as a sort of “window” through which encouraging very inspiring discussions about complex and controversial issues, migration phenomena among others. In this 7th edition, topics such as the need to develop a more comprehensive understanding of migration phenomena, as well as the requirement for a constructive Africa-Europe partnership among countries of origin, transit, and destination of migration routes have been the focus of the panel entitled “Dealing with Migration: Revitalizing Partnerships in a Post-Pandemic World”. Mediated by Canan Atilgan, Head of the Berlin-based Department of Middle East and North Africa Konrad Adenauer-Stiftung, and the Cairo-based correspondent for The New York Times Vivian Yee, the discussion saw the participation of many high-level figures. 

The Minister for European and Foreign Affairs of Malta Evarist Bartolo, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Libya Najla Almangoushstressed, for instance, the necessity for deep thinking and better understanding migration issue. By quoting Almangoush, concrete actions rather than “superficial solutions” are required. Furthermore, according to Bartolo, the need to move away from an Euro-centric vision –the “traditional European complex of superiority” –  sounds as a sort of imperative. The case of Libya well epitomizes this aspect. Indeed, as demanded by the Foreign Minister Almangoush, the European Union has to rethink its approach previously adopted toward the country, primarily becoming aware that Libya is a transit country for migrants, and that the so-called “southern borders” are not those of Spain, Italy, or Malta but, rather, the Sahel.

During his speech, the Director-General of the International Organization for Migration António Vitorino discussed in detail the new migration picture against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic. Vitorino not only stressed how the pandemic has not been preventing migrants from moving toward Europe, but he also argued that, nowadays, the major challenge for European countries is to invest in health-providing mechanisms for migrants, primarily by bringing together border managements and the health security domain. In this regard, he also stressed, for instance, the importance to integrate migrants in the specific national vaccination plans. 

The keyword of the whole panel was the term “partnership”. And a real partnership, as claimed  by the Director-General of the International Centre for Migration Policy Development Michael Spindelegger, represents the first pillar for a permanent political dialogue aimed at developing a common political agenda between the two coasts of the Mediterranean sea. Yet, declared Spindelegger, “finding the answer is not enough”, and in order to fight irregular migration the implementation of efficient and cooperative responses is required. Hence the need of an Africa-Europe partnership.

To get to know more about this 7th MED edition check out the official website: