With the refugee and displacement crisis aggravated by the Syrian’s conflict and the arrival of thousands of migrants on the southern European coasts, there is growing pressure on the European Commission and the most affected EU member states to find a quick way to effectively manage the migration flows, and many see foreign aid as an essential part of the solution. To this matter, the partnership agreements recently signed by the EU with countries of origin, transit and first asylum explicitly include foreign aid as a key ingredient to address long term goals such as promoting development and addressing the root causes of irregular migration as well as short term emergency.
The research project first investigates the channels through which Foreign Aid can affect the decision to migrate in the countries of origin. We revisit and explore empirically the aid migration link by using migrant flows rather than migrant stocks as the dependent variable and a substantially extended and adjusted econometric approach based on a gravity model of international migration.
On the donor side, our project investigates how the pattern of official development assistance (ODA) allocation is responding to the current refugee and migration crises. Previous research conducted has shown that underlying interests of donor states seem to be less focused on altruistic burden sharing motives, since first asylum host countries, as well as countries with a high number of IDPs, were rather discriminated in allocated aid funds. This research explores if and to what extent the EU recent approach in foreign policies – which sees burden sharing and migration prevention as two policy alternatives with possibly very similar underlying interests of EU donor countries – changed these past trends.