"Let Us Help Them at Home": Policies and Misunderstandings on Migrant Flows Across the Mediterranean Border

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Globalization means that a few borders disappear all over the world, and this both encourages and increases physical mobility of goods and people around the globe. But, at the same time, the increased mobility puts a strain on a few other borders. Europe has recently faced an emergency situation related to the massive arrival of refugees across the Mediterranean. It has been suggested that the problem can be addressed by strengthening international cooperation for development with the countries of origin of refugees and, more generally, of irregular migrants. The underlying idea is that the development of countries of origin will reduce the migration flow. This proposal seems consistent with the slogan, launched by various populist parties, "Let’s help them at home." However, it conceals some possible misunderstandings, which this article aims to analyze. Firstly, the most intense flows of irregular migrants currently come from countries that either are at war or oppressed by dictatorial regimes. Hence, it would not be realistic to start development processes in these countries, which first require complex actions that are studied to promote pacification. Secondly, it should be noted that, as a result of the so-called migration hump, the development of poor countries is generally associated with an increase and not a decrease in emigration. However, if helping the countries of emigration to develop and establishing partnerships with them does not reduce migration flows, it will improve the management of these very flows.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)983-993
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Cooperation for development
  • Mediterranean
  • Migration hump
  • Refugees


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