Teresa Albano, Economic Affairs Officer and E-MINDFUL Project Manager
26 November 2021
As increasing number of persons move to other countries to live, study and work, it is vital to create a social and economic environment where everyone feels valued and welcome.
However, especially in recent years, concerns and fears about migrants’ presence in host communities have been increasingly amplified in the public discourse, often resorting to oversimplified messages.
The increasingly polarized discourse about migration progressively undermines efforts towards effective and comprehensive migration policymaking. Evident repercussions are felt on economies of countries of origin, due to a decrease in remittances – the savings that migrants send back home to support their families and communities. Economies of destination are also negatively affected, due to the inability to meet labour shortages paired with the growth of grey and informal economy, caused by the employment of undocumented migrants and migrants’ exploitation.
Although necessary to save lives, the recent lockdown measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, have further polarized the debate. On one hand, the diffused perception of the ‘foreign virus’ has fueled anti-migrant sentiment. On the other, acknowledging the essential role migrant workers play, particularly in critical sectors such as public health, elderly care and agriculture, has shed new light on their positive contribution to host societies.
What is E-MINDFUL?
The E-MINDFUL project wishes to provide key stakeholders — state authorities involved in the project as well as Directorate General migration and Home Affairs of the European Commission (DG HOME) — guidance and tools on how to communicate migration effectively, so to foster the social and political space for policymaking that can harness the economic potential of migrants.
To do so, the project will pool collective knowledge and experiences about communicating migration to explore effective messaging that can resonate beyond audiences that are already supportive.
The project brings together practitioners from different areas of expertise — sociology and globalization, semiotics, communication, behavioural marketing, cultural anthropology — as well as young creators.
The geographical coverage — Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Germany, Italy, North Macedonia and Serbia — reflects the intent to leverage communication about migration to bring about a sense of togetherness essential to ensure co-operation, social cohesion, stability and security along the Eastern Mediterranean migration route.
As migration is beneficial for countries of origin and destination, a better understanding of how to address negative attitudes towards migrants can be beneficial not only for receiving countries, which could better harness the migrants’ contribution to socio-economic development, but also for sending countries whose migration-related development gains depend on the success of individual migration projects of their citizens.
Therefore, the countries involved in the project exemplify increasingly inter-connected socio-economic contexts where individuals’ lives are deeply embedded in local and global socioeconomic realities and dynamics.