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European expatriates: relations to their countries of origin

Motion for a resolution | Doc. 11520 | 31 January 2008

Ms Oksana BILOZIR, Ukraine, EPP/CD ; Mr Daniel DUCARME, Belgium ; Mr Valeriy FEDOROV, Russian Federation, EDG ; Mr John GREENWAY, United Kingdom ; Mr Michael HAGBERG, Sweden ; Ms Gultakin HAJIBAYLI, Azerbaijan, EPP/CD ; Mr Mike HANCOCK, United Kingdom, ALDE ; Mr Tadeusz IWIŃSKI, Poland, SOC ; Mr Reijo KALLIO, Finland, SOC ; Mr Geert LAMBERT, Belgium
Referred to the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Population, for report: Reference No. 3450 (Standing Committee, 29 May 2008).

Inviting and enabling expatriate communities to play a more active role in the affairs of both their countries of origin and their countries of current residence can bring many benefits in today’s increasingly interconnected world. Enabling the members of these communities to mobilise more efficiently their human capital as well as their financial remittances can make a major contribution to accelerating the economic, social and political development of their home countries. The recent history of European development is a prominent example of such benefits from greater international working mobility.

The rapid increase in working migration, the desire of retired migrants who want to return to live in their countries of origin (or another country), and the wish of many migrants to be able to take a more active role in the political life of their host countries (as well as in their countries of origin) represent new challenges in many policy sectors. These include migration policies, social policies, policies regarding residence and citizenship, electoral policies – at local and national levels – and policies allowing double/multiple nationality. Europe has a rich and diversified experience in this area, which could and should be explored and exploited in a renewed political debate on these issues.

Globalisation of the world economy has greatly expanded the means by which Europeans living abroad can become and remain actively involved in the economic, cultural, social and political life of both the sending and receiving countries.

Therefore, it has become a matter of major importance to help create, at the governmental level, the means and mechanisms whereby migrants can directly participate in the choices that would optimally support development initiatives in their home countries, and they deserve to be supported in their choices and priorities.

Another key role that expatriate communities often play is in helping new migrants to integrate into their host society, while also helping them to maintain contacts with their countries of origin.

Therefore, the Assembly calls on the member states of the Council of Europe to:

  • discuss and elaborate new policies to encourage greater engagement of European expatriates in development projects in countries of origin;
  • create a favourable climate enabling Europeans living abroad to contribute their “human capital”, including their reserve of education, knowledge and experience, to their countries of origin;
  • review national legislation with a view to according a special status to members of expatriate communities in their countries of origin and facilitating the return process;
  • actively involve the members of expatriate communities in the elaboration of integration programmes for working migrants;
  • create all necessary conditions for Europeans living abroad who return to their home countries to enjoy their economic, taxation and pension rights.