Mass migration makes politicians nervous. Governments want to show their electorates that they have immigration ‘under control’. But increased human mobility and the complexity of managing this flow of people has made total control impossible. And attempts to tighten control of migration could undermine the very thing Europeans hold dear – an open society.
This book sets out an alternative approach to mass migration, which replaces the illusion of control – fostered by passports and border checkpoints – with the concept of flow management. This innovative approach recongises that we will have to harness the positive effects of people movement, while reassuring the genuine fears felt by many in receiving countries.
The proposed model is based on the creation of International Transit Centres, offering basic shelter and services to migrants. These centres would offer an alternative to the crooked claims of people trafficking gangs, or the prison-like conditions of existing asylum centres.
Most important of all, they would treat all migrants equally and remove to the incentive for people to make false asylum claims.
Perhaps the most radical suggestion is the proposal for a New European Commonwealth, to encourage peaceful interdependence across an enlarged European region and the former colonies of its member nations.
People Flow is the first report from a project initiated by Theo Veenkamp, head of strategy at the Dutch Ministry of Justice and a former head of the Netherlands Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers. He writes here in personal capacity. Tom Bentley is director of Demos and Alessandra Buonfino is a doctoral researcher at the University of Cambridge.
The project was developed in partnership with openDemocracy.net, a not-for-profit, web-based network, dedicated to opening up a democratic space for clear and open global discussion of the issues of our time.