With million people forcibly displaced worldwide, it’s an issue that disarms many. But there’s another side of migration that doesn’t get much coverage — depopulation in rural areas. In fact, in the past 50 years, million people have left the European countryside. By connecting the two issues, I believe we can cancel them both out or at least minimise them.
Last September, the European Commission published migration recommendations on how to temper irregular migration. This included strengthening border protection and developing a more effective return policy. Tragically, the current proposal does not prevent refugees from embarking on a very dangerous and often deadly journey before they’re able to apply for asylum.
Parallel to this is the conversation on a to tackle demographic changes, limited access to services, and the sustainability problems rural communities face. Digging a little deeper demonstrates the opportunity for a great economic and social synergy if we connect the two issues.