Mig workshop Final Summary: Migration and Cross-cultural Citizenship

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MIG Workshop -- Final Summary:

Migration and Cross-cultural Citizenship

In the past months, the immigration theme has been once again in the limelight of current events: the deaths of Dover and Sangatte were added to all those anonymous persons who have drowned in their attempt to cross the strait of Gibraltar. These media events have highlighted the overcautiousness, uneasiness, and difficulty of political circles in their consideration of this issue and in their proposals for efficient solutions. Founded on a “closing borders-integration-development” triptych, national and European immigration policies have so far been limited to coercive measures reflecting only the first of these components. This whimsical determination is, however, overridden by the reality of facts: the migratory flows to Europe have never stopped increasing, resulting in a largely positive balance, as well as in a very clear surplus of inflows over outflows.

The immigration issue is not just limited to managing inflows: it focuses directly on the relationship between nationals and foreigners.

It raises questions on identity building, national integration models, and access to citizenship.

Group Methodology and Experience :
This Proposal Paper is the result of about 6 months of continued work.

To begin with, a wide-ranging interdisciplinary debate was organised through an electronic forum. The numerous contributions structured the areas of consideration for our workshop, “Migration and Cross cultural Citizenship”: the three sub-topics (Codevelopment, Opening Borders, and Cross-cultural Citizenship) identified in the electronic forum served to organise three workshops in the Continental Meeting in Romania.

The cultural diversity inherent to our own collective work made the theoretical discussions in our first working session in Romania rather difficult.
Our group was actually experiencing the very question it was examining: How can harmony be obtained out of diversity?
Coping with our different cultural codes allowed us to build a group dynamics and novel ways of sharing our thoughts.

This led us to the finding that it was not so much differences in values or standards that divided us, but rather differences in the priorities attributed to universally shared values.

The group then proceeded to in-depth considerations and progressively achieved the formulation of a set of recommendations. The whole of this material was co-ordinated by Karine Boyer, facilitator of both the electronic forum and of the work group at the Continental Meeting.

Following are the proposals drawn up by the three workshops.

Workshop 1 : Codevelopment

The participants exhort all governments to put into practice the commitments they have made at UN World Summits (Rio Earth Summit, 1992; United Nations International Conference on Population and Development, Cairo, 1994; World Summit for Social Development, Copenhagen, 1995; Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing, 1995, etc.).

1. North-South Relations Cramped by the Economic and Financial Interests of the North
“Development” is an ambiguous concept: Until the sixties, it was reserved for the poor countries. In the rich countries, the equivalent concept was “growth.”

This concept has often masked a Eurocentrist, economicist, and evolutionist view of the history of Western societies, based on the idea of unlimited growth. With no perspective of sustainability (in the areas of environment, culture, social justice, human rights, and democracy), the myth of growth became disconnected from, or even opposed to the concept of human development.

Co-operation, a translation into acts of the “development” model imposed by the North, is overdetermined by an economic and cultural power struggle. To begin with, at the economic level, the industrialised countries, who possess the funds, control the game. The reality of the rules fixed by the IMF (International Monetary Fund) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) limit the capacities of a large majority of countries of the South to set up national economic policies that are adapted to the needs of their populations. These world agencies, which have a coercive power, have moved away from their original regulating mission: Their aid policy has resulted in lasting dependence and an indebtedness for the countries they are supposed to be assisting. According to UNDP estimates, the protectionism of the rich countries has caused developing countries to lose 100 billion dollars worth of income per year on agricultural produce, and 50 billion dollars more on textiles.
Financial aid is always granted within a mercantile logic. The result is that monetary investment is not adapted to the needs of the recipient countries, but often to the interests of the donor countries. Thus, “conditioned aid” is, for instance, conditioned to the purchase of capital goods in the donor country. On the cultural level, the specificity of the cultural contexts of the recipient countries has all too often been disregarded. The cultural screens of the donor countries warp their apprehension of the reality of others and have led to the failure of the various development projects.
2. What Is Codevelopment?
A recent concept, the definition of codevelopment remains to be explored. Nevertheless, the appearance of this term is an attempt to break current practices in international relations.
By encouraging bilateral and multilateral economic co-operation, codevelopment is one of the means for increasing the wealth (monetary or not) of poor countries. It involves an “open” view of development, defined as the ability of a community to meet its basic needs. It is therefore the basis for a new understanding (reviewed concepts, means, and methods) of co-operation and aid policies.
While meeting the logic of sustainable development, its challenge is to invent another form of development, which is not a reproduction of that of West. In substance, the concept of codevelopment acknowledges that economic development is overdetermined by cultural logics and testifies to the fact that it is impossible to separate development and culture. Not limited to a transfer of knowledge and technology, codevelopment engenders a gradual interpenetration of cultures and representations of the world: Every country is free to choose and to draw up the specific form of its own development.

3. Is Codevelopment an Alternative to Migration?

The pressures that drive populations to emigrate toward other countries are increasingly strong and will probably become greater in the next decades. The main reasons for this, identified by the UNDP, are: demographic growth; improved skills among the populations of the South; inadequate work outlets in the countries of origin; and the migration of money. Industrialised countries are already hosting 14 million refugees, and this number is increasing.

Contrary to our representations on migration, South-South migration is much more substantial than South-North migration.
Political decision makers have thought, for a long time, that migration was above all a response to the significant existing income disparities. This did not take into account that opening to trade and capital, which increases income and welfare, is concurrent with migration, especially short-term migration. The impact of codevelopment can only occur in the long term: By improving the standards of living, it turns immigration into a lesser benefit.

Codevelopment must therefore be separated from the obsession of controlling migratory flows and turning those tides back.

The objective of codevelopment is the individual freedom of choice regarding whether to emigrate or not.
4. Codevelopment and Governance: Intimately Linked Concepts
Thanks to its interdisciplinary, egalitarian, and territorial view of North-South / East-West relations, this innovative approach to development relies on the participation of civil and civic society.

The local territory becomes in this case an actor in its own development. The linkage thus engendered by codevelopment, contains a new form of governance on both the European and the global scales. The object is to achieve a concerted management of humankind's common goods through a democratic approach providing transparency and requiring the stakeholders’ responsibility.

5. Concrete Proposals

  1. For the sake of world stability, every country’s right to development must be acknowledged. The right to culture must be a prerequisite to any modernisation and development policy.

  1. Macroeconomic policies must be adjusted in such a way that growth is more favourable to poor people. This implies:

  1. Fighting against the unequal circulation funds, goods, and people, by revising, among others, WTO rules and free-trade policies and eliminating the various protectionist obstacles set up by the industrialised countries — especially in the areas of agriculture and intellectual property — in order to guarantee fair trade and an equal redistribution of wealth. Fair trade must be promoted and generalised.

  1. Strengthening the position of developing countries in global and regional trade agreements.

  1. Unconditional cancellation of debts: debt cancelling cannot become a means of pressure by the industrialised countries. In the case of debt relief, the amount of the debt must be converted into financing of development contracts aiming to implement social projects (education, health, etc.), environmental policies, and policies in favour of a social and socially responsible economy in the developing countries.

  1. Migrants represent wealth, as much for the host countries as for the countries of origin. Migrants’ organisations should be recognised and their actions supported, and when necessary, their establishment and involvement in “development” projects encouraged. Legal agreements should be signed with the countries of origin to formalise their role in setting up integration policies in the host countries and the countries of origin. These organisations should also be given a major role as relays in cross-cultural-exchange policies.

  1. The European Union must:

  1. Refuse to support the what is ordinarily called the “brain drain,” which acutely weakens the performance of the countries of origin and inevitably hinders their economic and human development.

  1. Become involved in concrete projects to support “developing” countries in agreement with the commitments it has made at UN summits, through the implementation of specific aid programs backing regional or subregional economic integration initiatives/projects (in Eastern Europe, the Arab countries, Africa, etc.). Aiming to encourage democratic change, in compliance with the independence and sovereignty of the partner countries, such programs have to include greater involvement of the civil society in the formulation of their objectives and the elaboration of the means to achieve them.

  1. Encourage the transfer of skills, modernisation, and the reorganisation of the relations and roles of the social actors in the developing countries in the form of microprojects, which should be implemented at the geographical scale at which they are managed.

  1. Back the role of civil society and the implementation of dialogue mechanisms (NGOs, representatives of the economic sectors, migrants’ organisations, etc.) as much on its territory as in that of the partner countries, in order to increase transparency and reinforce the concept of responsibility.

Workshop 2 : Opening Borders

1. State of Reflection

In the area of migration, Europe is going to be facing, in time, a twofold contradictory movement. On the one hand, the crisis in the welfare state (to which fear of terrorist attacks could be added) will be orienting the common policy of the EU Member States toward an increasingly repressive closing of borders, while on the other hand, the demographic deficit and economic recovery are generating a need for manpower, which will inevitably result in migratory flows.

The basic principle underlying our work on the question of opening borders is that of the Universal Declaration Human Rights (UDHR), which states that “[e]veryone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.” (Article 13.2). Unfortunately, the UDHR does not say that they have the right to enter. Anyone has the right leave but where can they go if there is no right to enter.
Since 1948, when the UDHR was proclaimed, the legal situation on a world scale can be divided into two main periods:

  1. Before the seventies, in Europe, borders were open to the West, open to a lesser degree to the South, and closed to the East.

  2. After the seventies, and especially in the eighties, borders were open to the East and to the South, and closed to the West, especially for unskilled workers.

Two concepts govern the opening of borders: freedom of movement and freedom of resettlement. Freedom of resettlement is, of course, where the problems lie, obviously placing limitations on the freedom of movement.

A reading of the last thirty years of border closing highlights the ominous side of closing borders (loss of fluidity in population and manpower movements, generalised suspicion of foreigners and foreign nationals, ethnicisation of social issues, circulation of racism and xenophobia, development of clandestinity and corruption, etc.).

The principles of responsibility and of precaution do not mean Europe should retreat into its fortress: This attitude merely aggravates the effects of closing borders on the current development gaps and on the migration pressure.

When this happens, migration movements appear very clearly as the object of a tension between the logic of the market, the logic of the state, and Human Rights.
The main direction of our considerations, which forced us to do some forecasting, was to seek answers to the question: Can these restrictive regulations, which have a political, financial, and human cost, be avoided?
After long, passionate, and heated discussions on the topic of opening of borders, the group found that dealing with this question requires, above all, an opening of minds.

The participants found a consensus around two key principles:

  1. A plan to totally open borders does not seem to be feasible for the moment.

  2. Only cases of request for political asylum and family grouping require an immediate and unconditional opening of the borders.

2. Proposed Measures:

  1. In the country of origin

  1. Determine the true reasons of emigration from the country of origin, at every level (economic, political, social, religious, demographic, ecological) in order to act upon them.

  2. Stimulate codevelopment in view of making it an alternative to immigration in the long term.

  3. Guide and inform potential migrants on:

  • the dangers they may encounter in the country of their destination: drug trafficking, manpower trafficking, prostitution, language barriers, cultural shock, etc.;

  • the legislation of the country of their destination: rights and duties (in terms of the conventions of the International Labour Organisation and domestic law).

  1. In the host country

  1. Promote the application of international labour conventions, particularly those of the ILO (International Labour Organisation) ratified by the host country and fight violation of these conventions.

  2. Harmonise European political-asylum policies in compliance with HCR rules, and the Geneva Convention on Human Rights

  3. Harmonise European legislation in matters of:

  • immigration, by aligning them on those most favourable to the interests of immigrants;

  • nationality, by giving greater importance to the right of soil, by facilitating naturalisation procedures;

  • citizenship, by respecting and recognising the right to multi-citizenship

  1. Review and modify the Rome Convention in aspects concerning the rights to multi-citizenship, review and modify the Maastricht Treaty by giving the right to every Member State through an enlargement of EU citizenship to all residents.

  2. Decide on own nationality code.

  3. A host country requesting unskilled labour must provide specific conditions and reception policies: wages, accommodation, and other social rights for the migrants.

  4. Regularisation of all persons in illegal situations in order to protect their rights as persons and to dignity.

  5. In all cases of illegal employment, sanctions should be applied to the employers and the agents violating the work legislation of the host country, in order to reinforce legalised recruitment of foreign manpower.

  6. The ministry in charge of migration affairs must be the Ministry of Social Affairs, none other (such as the Ministry of Justice or of the Interior).

  7. Visas are not an excuse to develop a security policy. It is necessary:

  • to make it easier to obtain long-term visas (working visas, temporary residence permits - 3 to 5 years);

  • to eliminate short-term visas, which are not suitable for fighting against terrorism.

  1. Funds used for the eviction of immigrants and the reinforcement of borders should be redirected to support development processes in the countries of origin and to improve the social, legal, and economic infrastructures in both countries (country of origin and host country).

  2. Promotion and information on the working opportunities in the international media, on the Internet, and in employment agencies in the countries of origin.

  3. Information and educational campaigns to prepare the country of destination to accept the new immigrants and to fight against xenophobia and racism.

  4. Protect cultural minorities by recognising their specificities (economic, social, and cultural) and in particular those of the Romany people, a Nation with neither a State nor a territory.

Workshop 3 : Cross-cultural Citizenship

1. State of Reflection
The European nations with unity-oriented political traditions are concerned about the development of ethnic identities, the existence of minorities, the elaboration of a multicultural society, and the capacity to assimilate newcomers, especially Muslim newcomers. The nation, even though it has grown weaker, remains a regulation body and a privileged place of identification. The meeting of cultures is therefore often experienced as a threat that weighs on own traditions and values, which can generate xenophobia.
Our workshop in Romania attempted to reflect on the means that need to be set up so that for the nationals, new immigrants, and the previously resettled populations living together means better living. Three questions guided our work:
What type of society do we wish to build together?

What are the problems raised in the relations among individuals of different cultures?

How can a culture of dialogue be encouraged within the societies?
Our considerations were built around the knowledge and the experiences of the participants at their local levels. To avoid the pitfall of national ideologies and/or of the semantics of the terms, we first had to define the concepts used collectively and also to give thought to a set of ethical fundamentals.

1.1 Definition of the Concepts Used:
Our use of the word “culture” during our work needs to be understood both as a product and a process.

Culture refers simultaneously to conscious processes, such as historic memory, language, customs, observable behaviour, and ways of being, but also to unconscious processes, such as ways of thinking, perception, and the view of the world. It is a particular way of defining reality, perceiving it, and understanding it, which is buried within each of us and associated with a very strong emotional component.

It is of course illusory to believe that nations are homogeneous: culture is at a crossroads with other signifying elements, such as gender, social background, age, profession, and religious and ideological beliefs.
Multicultural and Cross-cultural:
As a result of the growth and mobility of persons, multiculturality has become the major reality of most societies.

The term “multicultural” has two meanings. The first, a matter of “intra-individual” dimension, emphasises an individual's plural cultural identity. The other, by placing the accent on the cross individual aspect, underscores the co-existence of persons of several different cultures without mentioning a dialogue or an adjustment among them.

Multiculturalism can be used to express the idea that the ethnic-based affirmation of individuals is not hindered.
In reality, however, this concept could encourage the affirmation and exaggeration of the cultural differences among groups while concealing the individual's ethnic plurality. Opening the way to the ethnic-community assertion and its excesses (monolithic ethnic-based demands, withdrawal from others, indifference to others, etc.), this model would lead to the ethnicisation of social issues, which would eventually put social cohesion in danger.

Therefore, the term “multiculturalism” does not say anything specific on the relations among the cultures.

On the other hand, the concept “cross-cultural” places the accent on the effective interaction among different cultures and on the influence that they exercise on one another.

It contains the idea of cross-creation: each loses something and each wins something. It is a dynamic, slow process, which requires open-mindedness, a questioning of one’s own “truths,” and an awareness of one’s own cultural “software.”

Discussion of these concepts resulted in modifying the title of the general topic. Given the objectives that were aimed at, the title “Cross-cultural Citizenship” was judged, during our discussions in the electronic forum and at our meeting in Romania, to be more suitable than “Multicultural Citizenship.”
1.2 Ethical Fundamentals of Our Reflection:
Human Rights, the horizon toward which every culture must tend, must be recognised as a reference mark to be aspired to. A satisfactory and durable “living together” for all requires seeking a balance between cultural diversity and cultural universalism.
The state must be the guarantor of equality in law among all citizens, whatever their cultural belonging, which implies fighting all forms of discrimination.
For there to be respect of cultural identities and the affirmation of the right to difference for all the components within every national community, this determination must be reflected in an overall policy of economic fairness and social justice.
The host countries need to recognise the plural cultural identity of the individuals who are immigrants, first- or second-generation: a monolithic and frozen identity is equivalent to both a loss of freedom for the individual and a source of symbolic violence. In any case, it is an obstacle to people’s meeting each other.
Respect of others cannot be imposed by laws. It is manifested in people’s exercising their cultural freedom. Beyond the simple attitude of tolerance, it involves a positive attitude to others and their differences, and to the originality of their life styles perceived as a wealth and a value.
Recognition of diversity supposes individuals to work on themselves, reversing perspectives, and an evolution of mentalities.
2. Series of Concrete Proposals
Discussion on the means for obtaining operational cross-cultural citizenship in a multicultural environment are set out below according to the different sectors of activities. Obviously, these series of proposals, supported by the fruit of the participants’ experiences, need to be adapted to national specificities.

  1. In the area of citizenship:

The concept of citizenship indicates the link that an individual maintains with the political sphere.
The States of the European Union (EU), which claim to have founded their institutions on freedom, equality, dignity, and the respect of Human Rights, generate political discrimination within their populations depending on the nationality. By creating EU citizenship on a basis of reciprocity and not of opening, the Maastricht Treaty divides the inhabitants of a single country into 3 castes: nationals (who have all political rights and in particular the right to vote and stand as a candidate in all elections), EU citizens, who have the right to vote in municipal and European elections, the right of movement within the European borders, the right to diplomatic protection in a country where their state is not represented, the right of petition), and citizens of non-member countries (who only have the right of petition and, depending on the country where they live, the right to vote in municipal elections (Denmark, Ireland, Finland, Netherlands, Sweden) or not (Germany, Austria, Spain, France, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal); not counting undocumented immigrants, who have no rights.
This reality is in contradiction with the values proclaimed by the official texts such as:

  • the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Articles 1 and 2).

  • the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (Article 21.2).

  • the Tampere Declaration, which says that nationals of non-member states must obtain a set of uniform rights as close as possible to those enjoyed by the citizens of the EU.

EU nationals residing in another country of the EU, of which they do not have the nationality, have EU citizenship and the right to vote in municipal and European elections as soon as they settle, under the same conditions as nationals. Whereas nationals of non-members states, who have sometimes resided in an EU country for a long time, do not have this right.
Granting the same rights, including political ones, to all residents, whatever their nationality, would be a considerable step toward a truly universal suffrage and a greater respect of the equality principle.
Guiding principles:
Citizenship of residence does not solve everything: it does not even cover all of citizenship.
The demand for a European citizenship of residence goes well beyond the right to vote. From regularisation of undocumented immigrants to union or political rights, residence is the foundation of increasingly more rights. Making it possible to grant the same rights to all foreign residents on a single territory would facilitate their integration.
It would be one more step toward participatory citizenship: each person would be able to fully weigh to obtain satisfaction on points that political representatives can disregard as long as they only concern non voters.
To improve the exercise of citizenship and therefore cohabitation among the different communities, it is important to:

  1. encourage access to citizenship for foreign residents, in particular by granting them the right to vote on a municipal and European scale;

  1. inform residents on the laws and other rules governing societal functioning, emphasising the rights and duties, by publishing them in different languages and posting this information in all public places;

  1. open anti-discrimination offices (information, toll-free numbers, setting up a framework of legal procedures, etc.);

  1. open all public and private institutions of the host country to representatives of the different cultural communities to encourage their participation and the defence of their interests;

  1. open forums of discussions among the different cultural communities, between them and the nationals, to improve solidarity and mutual understanding; clarify the norms and values of the cultures present in a given country; in case of tensions likely to result in a conflict, communication among groups will aim to distinguish misunderstandings from actual disagreements — in this latter case, positions must be brought closer in both directions - one toward the other - to then be the starting point of a change, consciously acknowledged by the two parties.

  1. In the area of government services:

* Education

The objective is to make school a true place of living, in which individuals from different cultural groups can experience meeting others, which is the basis of all cross-cultural learning. To be in a school where several cultures coexist must be experienced as a wealth of opening onto the world.

To do so, the accent must be placed on:
- the mobilisation and participation of the schoolchildren’s parents in the decision processes. Their representation must be the reflection of the school’s cultural mosaic;
- hiring cross-cultural mediators within the school, who would contribute to:
- training professionals in cultural relativism; this training must help them think in terms of plurality while offering them the possibility to become aware of their own cultural software and to go beyond, in deed, their own prejudices and stereotypes; this exercise consists in recapturing, through perceptions, representations, and appreciation, the fact that one has one’s own particular view of others;
- the harmonisation of the links between the immigrant families and the teachers’ body;
- allowing every school sufficient autonomy so that it can respond to the needs of every district’s cultural communities and specific problems;
- promoting mixed schools as an alternative to ghettoisation;
- promoting plurality in the curricula of denominational schools;
- including the teaching of the immigrant's language in the school’s curriculum, or offering the possibility of taking extra-curricular language courses;
- renewing the ethnocentric or Eurocentric conception of the education system, which justifies the understanding of human relationships in terms of dominant/dominated;
- rewriting some school manuals in partnership with professionals from other countries (history, language, and literature);
- teaching the different religious beliefs throughout the world in order to encourage dialogue and the acceptance of differences.
* Social action

  • Direct social action toward a process of co-operation and not of assistedness: it is important to work with not for the public.

  • Apply the principle of empowerment: It is necessary to allow a relative autonomy to cultural communities so that they can adapt to the host country, and live and reinforce their cultural identity.

  • Stimulate the financial autonomy of immigrant individuals or communities by avoiding to generate dependence on social-action policies.

* Health system

  1. Sensitise and train nurses and doctors to the cultural plurality of their patients.

  2. Practice holistic care systems: the separation of the body and the mind such as it is experienced in the Western world is inconceivable in other cultures. It can even be seen as a pathogenic factor.

* Housing

  • Stop the creation of ghettos and impose a sociocultural mix on the whole territory through legal constraints.

  • Set up of solidarity mechanisms so that suitable accommodation is secured for all those who are in a precarious situation.

* Sociocultural action

  • Train street mediators or facilitators in the multicultural districts.

  • Organise, in these centres, activities that set as their goal a better cross-cultural understanding, such as: movies and plays from the different cultures and discussions on their subjects; courses on cultures from other countries (Oriental cooking, African dance, flamenco, etc.); organisation of festivals on cultures of the world to stimulate creative work by immigrants (theatre, arts, letters, etc.).

* National security
The government security bodies (police, army, etc.) must not be considered solely in their repressive dimension but also in their preventive one. Raising awareness within them to plurality, cross-cultural dynamics, and respect of human rights is a fundamental stake for our democracies. For these professional categories to be the image of a multicultural society, the recruitment of individuals from cultural minorities is important.

* Arts policy

All places devoted to the arts must be considered as privileged places for education of the people.

In the museums:

- Promote the works of artists expressing alternative visions to the dominant cultural model and make sure that they have places where they can speak of their art. They should be considered as conveyors between civilisations.

- Make sure that the knowledge proposed in such places is not the simple transmission of an ethnocentric vision, but a plural vision of the world.

- Make sure culture is not presented as monolithic and static, but as dynamic.

In the libraries:

- Make libraries a place of meetings, discussion, and exhibitions that are rich in cultural diversity.

- Translate books from foreign languages, whose authors preferably belong to the cultural communities living in the country.

c) In the press and in the area of new information technology:

- sensitise journalists and the present media to plurality and make them aware of their own prejudices;

- show and denounce the prejudices that underlie the discriminatory ways in which the press gives reports;

- encourage the emergence of plurality in television through:

* the participation of immigrants in the media trades and making it possible for immigrants to produce their own programs (television, radio)

* opening of “mainstream” media to programs of other cultural communities: programs for the general public on the culture and history of the cultural communities living in the country, using the “regards croisés” (crossing of views) technique

* the emergence of alternative media for the cultural communities

- encourage the access to new information technology for the creation of alternative networks of public opinion and solidarity.

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