International Migrants Day: Statement of the European Commission and the High Representative

On the occasion of the International Migrants Day, the European Commission and the High Representative made the following statement:

“This International Migrants Day we celebrate the potential of human mobility. In 2020, there were 281 million international migrants in the world, representing 3.6% of the global population. Across the world, migration plays a significant role in people’s lives and has a profound impact on societies across the globe.  

Migration has contributed to shape the European Union as we know it today. It is a defining part of the European identity, where different cultures, languages and talents meet. Migration and mobility spread knowledge, contribute to growth, innovation and social dynamism.  

While some people move by choice, others are forced to flee. Regardless of the reasons, given the opportunity, migrants can always contribute positively to their adopted and native countries. Migrants make important fiscal contributions to the EU, and with improved labour market integration, studies show that they could also generate considerable gains for their host countries. Remittances, sent by migrants to their countries of origin, represent more than three times the volume of official development aid provided to developing countries. 

The EU is a prominent destination, attracting young and highly qualified professionals from across the world, with almost 3 million first residence permits issued per year, and guarantees a space for refuge to those in need. It is the European Union’s responsibility to make sure that the dignity and human rights of migrants are protected. The New Pact on Migration and Asylum upholds those fundamental rights, by pursuing a comprehensive, balanced and sustainable approach to migration management. It also recognises the key role of legal migration in the European society and economy, to counter irregular and dangerous journeys where people put their lives at risk.

In 2020, over 8 million non-EU citizens were employed in the EU labour market, many of whom perform essential jobs. In the race for global talent, the EU needs migration to address increasing skills shortages. Several initiatives including the simplified Blue Card, Talent Partnerships and the forthcoming skills and talents package, create safe and legal pathways to Europe, while responding to labour market needs. In parallel, we are working with international partners on a coordinated approach to migration management that balances the opportunities that well-managed migration can bring to migrants and their families, their countries of origin, host societies, while addressing the challenges of irregular migration.  

For Europe to remain prosperous and open to the world, we must harness the potential of human mobility. As we emerge from another year of the pandemic work towards building a brighter future, we see the many ways in which migration enriches our lives.”