President of Malta Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca co-chaired, and addressed, a parallel session during the 28th Annual Crans Montana Forum in Barcelona, entitled ‘The Real Challenge born from the current Migration Process.’
Speaking about the effects of the ageing population and plummeting birthrate in the European Union and the Western World, the President said that “it is a matter of national interest to promote strategies for the inclusion of new workers into our economies.” The President quoted studies from the United Nations and the International Monetary Fund, which state that a growing percentage of the workforce in advanced economies is composed of migrants.
The President said that while advanced economies are benefiting from well-managed processes of migration, there is an important need for financial investment in regions being affected by this phenomenon. President Coleiro Preca stated that “we must not just spend, by throwing money at the problem,” adding that money needs to be invested “to create an appropriate environment for proper education and training; dignified job opportunities; and facilities to adapt to climate change, in line with the 2015 Paris Agreement.”
President Coleiro Preca went on to say that she is “also convinced that our economic interests will never be achieved, unless they are also met by an equal investment in human potential.” Coleiro Preca stressed the need to promote successful and respectful inclusion of migrants within all societies.
“Such strategies for inclusion must be part of a global social solidarity approach, which recognises the essential value of migrants’ participation within our communities, as respected contributors and collaborators, towards one common goal of peace, prosperity, and wellbeing,” the President said.
In order to achieve the goal of peace, prosperity and wellbeing, President Coleiro Preca emphasised the need for “our countries to show solidarity with one another, particularly at times of crisis.” The President gave the example of the escalating migration challenges, currently being faced by Italy, saying that “no nation can tackle the complex and multidimensional factors of migration alone … We must form international relationships, which are based on mutual trust, in order to ensure that our international responses to the phenomenon of migration are a team effort.”
In light of this, the President said that “we must respond to the call, currently being made by Italy, to share the enormous load of increased migration, by effectively supporting them.”
Moreover, the President emphasised the need to safeguard the dignity of all refugees, migrants, and asylum-seekers. She said that “we must ensure that migrants are not permitted to fall victim to exploitation and modern-day slavery, while they are on their journeys through countries of transit or destination. Nor should they suffer at the hands of exploitative employers.”
President Coleiro Preca said that the international community “must promote a rights-based approach, which upholds the intrinsic dignity of the many individuals who migrate, in search of peace, prosperity, and wellbeing”, while also educating native populations about the benefits and opportunities that diversity brings to national economies and societies.
The President said that “a strong emphasis on universal human rights must be at heart of all our efforts, to achieve global social solidarity, alongside sustainable economic development…It is time for us to be proactive and forward-thinking in our policies. We must allow the full benefits of migration to outweigh any short-term challenges.”
In conclusion, the President urged the international community to work together, alongside national authorities and civil societies, “to find more effective ways of managing migration, thereby ensuring sustainable peace, long-term prosperity, and meaningful wellbeing, for all the peoples of our nations, and all humanity.”