IOM to EU Council Presidency: human mobility should be part of the solution in COVID-19 recovery

On 1 July 2020, Germany assumed the six-month rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU). Photo: European Union

Brussels – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) encourages Germany to use its six-month tenure at the helm of the Council of the European Union (EU) to promote a safe, coordinated and inclusive resumption of international human mobility as a means to economic and social recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.  

“The pandemic has had unprecedented impact on all areas of human life, including migration and mobility,” said Ola Henrikson, Director of IOM’s Regional Office in Brussels. “But it has also had a disproportionate impact on people on the move. This in turn has affected society and our economies. Our recommendations converge on the assessment that successful recovery from this pandemic will depend on how well we reboot human mobility and include those on the move in all planning." 

In recommendations released today (07/07), IOM urges the German Presidency to seize the opening for the EU’s next funding programmes to advance inclusive, holistic and balanced migration priorities.  

In its efforts to come to an agreement on the next EU budget and the Recovery Fund, the German Presidency should give attention to the fact that migrants and refugees are often on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response and will be essential to socio-economic recovery as agents of revitalization.  

“The German Presidency arrives at an exceptional moment, bearing multiple opportunities to improve the prospects of achieving safe, orderly and regular movement across the entire migration cycle now and after the pandemic,” said Monica Goracci, Chief of IOM’s mission in Germany.  

“We rely on the movement of people for our health, our food and our economies. People in turn must rely on States to ensure that movement is safe and predictable, that their rights are respected, and that they are included in health response. Only in this way can migrants help to support the recovery from the ravages of the pandemic.” 

In this regard, IOM recommends the coordinated resumption of international cross-border mobility while safeguarding public health through pandemic-adapted immigration and border management, and labour mobility schemes.

IOM also encourages the German Presidency to consider the essential role of migrants and migration in the crucial transition to a climate-neutral economy and green recovery from the pandemic. Moreover, the Organization stresses that migrant returns should be well adapted to COVID-19 realities to ensure they are safe, dignified, and include sustainable reintegration.   

“The EU’s recovery plan should ensure that people on the move are part of the solution during and after the pandemic,” said Henrikson. 

“Both in its internal and external action, the EU must keep sight of the cornerstone of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which is to leave no one behind. IOM welcomes the initiative of the incoming German EU Presidency to act as a ‘bridge builder’ among Member States to revise the proposals for the EU Budget and bolster resources available for recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic in the short and medium term. The Organization stands ready to support the Presidency, the EU and its Member States to implement balanced, comprehensive policies and programmes across the entire migration spectrum.”  

IOM's recommendations can be downloaded here

For further information: 

  1. Cross-border Human Mobility Amid and After COVID-19 
  2. Policy Brief: Why Migration Matters for “Recovering Better” from COVID19 
  3. COVID-19 Impact on Points of Entry Weekly Analysis 
  4. IOM Responds to COVID-19  
  5. IOM Recommendations to the Croatian Presidency of the EU Council 

For more information please contact Melissa Julian at IOM Brussels, Tel: +32 287 7133, Email: