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09 / 03 / 2004
The book ''Immigration and processes of change'' offers arguments for new immigration policies

The José Ortega y Gasset Foundation in Madrid held a presentation on March 3 for a new book entitled “Inmigración y procesos de cambio” (“Immigration and Processes of Change”). Taking part in the event were: Andreu Claret, director of IEMed (European Mediterranean Institute); Joaquín Arango, Director of the Center of Studies on Citizenship and Migrations of the Ortega y Gasset University Institute, and Fernando Vallespín, professor of political science and administration at the Autonomous University of Madrid.

Based on the contributions of important experts, this publication, directed by Gemma Aubarell (IEMed) and Ricard Zapata (Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona), analyzes migrations within the Mediterranean basin and offers arguments for new immigration policies.

The book presentation was a preliminary event for the World Congress on Human Movements and Immigration (HMI), which will be held from September 2 to 5 as part of the Universal Forum of Cultures – Barcelona 2004 www.barcelona2004.org. Gemma Aubarell took advantage of the event in Madrid to announce that HMI will bring together 150 speakers and approximately one thousand participants from universities, international organizations, governments, local and regional authorities, NGOs, immigrant associations, etc., to propose new ideas for the involvement of public authorities in the issue of migration.

Immigration and Processes of Change: Europe and the Mediterranean in the Global Context (IEMed. Barcelona, 2003). The interest in this book, dedicated to the phenomenon of immigration and its political implications, is due not only to the renowned expertise of its authors, but also to the area where they focus their reflections: the Mediterranean, a real laboratory for globalization. Immigration is also a subject with an international impact—a factor setting the global agenda—whose management could shift depending on the response to the challenges posed by this agenda at the beginning of the 21st century. This is what gives added value to a publication like this, which tries to tackle the issue from a regional perspective and offers a global view of the migration phenomenon and of policies intended to organize flows and determine policies for integrating immigrants into the destination societies. This viewpoint enables the approaches regarding admission and integration contained in this book to shun the stereotyped views that generally accompany them, since they appear in a stimulating context, that of the Mediterranean area and the perspective of its links to the European project.

The book approaches the nature of the migrations currently occurring in this area, the complexity of beliefs concerning causes or methods of integration, together with the challenges posed by the issue of management, both in the countries of origin and the receiving countries.

The unusual nature and importance of current migrations stems from the fact that they are taking place in an area central to the processes of reforming the world order. This undoubtedly favors a more complex interpretation of the migratory phenomenon, which ceases to be an external factor, disturbing the stability and cohesion of the receiving country, and begins to appear as an active component for the construction of future scenarios based on regional integration, political modernization and cultural dialogue.

Immigration, seen as an asset, may form an antidote to the forecast population decline in Europe compared with the United States and the Pacific basin. It is in this sense that certain analysts have indicated the need to “reinvent” Europe, starting with its current borders—those of the 25—by deepening its association with the Arab and Middle Eastern world in the Mediterranean and towards Russia to the East. Immigration policies would have a wide-ranging impact on a project of this nature, and this book will undoubtedly make a useful contribution.