Brussels, Rossiya (PressExposure) June 23, 2011 -- The meeting in Brussels was the key point in preparation for intersection meeting on migration to be held in Yaroslavl during Global Policy Forum. Russian and European experts invited to take part in the conference discussed important social issues such as migration, identity, social and economic difficulties and neighborhood policy.
Governor of the Yaroslavl oblast Serguei Vakhrukov and Director of the Global Policy Forum Executive Directorate Vladislav Inozemtsev told the participants of the conference about the agenda of Global Policy Forum to be held for already the third time in Yaroslavl in September, 2011.
As Governor of the Yaroslavl oblast Serguei Vakhrukov stated the very urgent problem of today is the serious issues of social diversity that should be discussed in a wide range of Russian and foreign experts and politicians. 'We understand the complexity of migration problems that exist in each country and give rise to serious difficulties for native dwellers. However, they are a good stimulus for the development of each state. Also we see serious problems with different levels of life. These questions should be discussed together to achieve a certain standard, so that we could reduce the risks at this level and avoid obstacles for the development of states and interstate relations'.
The Governor stressed a special importance of Global Policy Forum agenda for Russian regions: 'The upcoming debate which focuses on the issues of social diversity are highly relevant for us because now we are trying to introduce in the Yaroslavl region the standards of life support: not only beautiful streets, buildings and monuments, but also comfort of people in the social, health and education spheres.'
Head of the Executive Directorate Vladislav Inozemtsev reported the participants that the previous two sessions of GPF in Yaroslavl were focused on the problems of global security, democratic standards and criteria of the modern state. The upcoming forum, dedicated to the issues of social diversity of modern states, will bring together about five hundred people, including about 130 Western experts, several Nobel laureates, former politicians and well-known scientists.
Director of EU-Russia Centre Fraser Cameron stressed that Global Policy Forum can be an excellent forum for discussing a wide range of economic problems facing Russia and Europe. According to him, too much time on the difficulties such as migration and socio-economic changes between the EU and Russia is spent now. 'It is therefore extremely important to gather together', - says Cameron.
Director of Hanns-Seidel-Stiftung, Brussels, Christian Forstner, noted that the European Union and Russia have common issues, problems and challenges that they can only solve together. It is therefore extremely important to hold these forums where we can in a relaxed and confidential atmosphere discuss social justice issues, demographic changes and challenges in security, '- said the analyst.
The participants of the preparatory meeting were Fraser Cameron , Director of EU-Russia Centre (Brussels); Vladislav Inozemtsev , Head of the Executive Directorate of Global Policy Forum, Russia, Moscow; Sergei Vakhrukov , Governor of the Yaroslavl region, Russia; Valery Tishkov , Director of the Institute of Ethnology of Russian Academy of Science (Moscow); Anatoly Vishnevsky , Director of the Institute for Demography, Higher School of Economics (Moscow); Rainer Münz , Head of the research department, Erste Group Bank AG (Austria); Elizabeth Collett , European Policy Fellow and Senior Advisor to the Transatlantic Council on Migration (Brussels); Sir Tony Brenton , British Ambassador to Russia from 2004-2008, Fellow, Wolfson College (Cambridge); Sinan Ülgen , Chairman of the Centre for Economics and Foreign policy Studies (EDAM), Istanbul, visiting scholar at Carnegie Europe (Brussels); Olga Allenova , Special correspondent, Kommersant Publishing House, (Moscow); Karel Kovanda , Director General of DG Relex in 2005-2010; Richard Youngs , Director General, FRIDE (Madrid); Vladimir Baranovsky , Deputy Director of the IMEMO (Moscow); Pirkka Tapiola , member of Strategic Planning Unit, European External Action Service (EEAS); Marie Mendras , Professor at Sciences Po, Research Fellow with the CNRS; Pierre Defraigne , Executive Director of the Madariaga - College of Europe Foundation; Stephen Fidler , Head of the Brussels bureau, the Wall Street Journal; Igor Nikolaev , Head of the department for strategic analysis, FBK audit and consulting company (Moscow); Grzegorz Gorzelak , Director, Centre for European Regional and Local Studies (EUROREG) (Warsaw).
The meeting in Brussels was held in four sections. Each section was devoted to the discussion of common for both the European Union and Russia problems aggravated by the global economic crisis.
Discussing the issue of migration, the experts agreed that there is a gap between the perception of migrants at the household level and the real benefits that migrants bring to each country. According to Valery Tishkov, Director of the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, all countries benefit and win over those countries that do not accept immigrants. Almost all studies carried out both in Russia and in EU countries confirm this. According to Tishkov, these conditions are fundamental and they are very important both for Russia and other states: 'Migration has always been a condition for social evolution. People are always moving, otherwise we would not have many states, such as the United States of America, New Zealand and Australia'. The expert called for a balanced and objective position - both in terms of migration policy for each state and the prospects for multiculturalism: 'The statements of some politicians in Europe about the failure of multiculturalism caused enormous damage to our efforts to create a multicultural society. These statements are misapplied by nationalists, when demanding for limiting people's right to travel - by the way, it is the right enshrined in our Constitution. Meanwhile, it is one of the fundamental characteristics of our society. This is one of the fundamental achievements of democracy, and it ought to be preserved'.
Rainer Munz, Senior Fellow, the Hamburg Institute of International Economics, Head of the research department, Erste Bank, Austria, confirmed that Europe is very set to limit migration. Meanwhile, many forces are getting benefits from it: '95% of the population in Europe is opposed to illegal immigration and want the government to battle this problem. But at the same time they want someone to carry for their elderly parents. We already have shortages of labor - in Germany, Switzerland. Fertility is falling. Soon we will find ourselves in the situation where there are many retirees and not enough people of working age to support them. Therefore, we must discuss and create strategy for the future, it is necessary to continue the discussion in order to understand why migration is a necessity; these arguments should not be reduced to general rhetoric'.
Vladimir Baranovsky, Deputy Director of the IMEMO, Moscow, believes that at such venues as Global Policy Forum we should place correct accents on such ambitious and require a comprehensive understanding issues as migration: 'The governments of different countries often make concessions playing up to the electorate in a negative attitude towards migrants. Meanwhile, the obligation of every government is to explain the objective situation and the risks associated with migration in order to minimize these risks. Taking into consideration the fact that the migration problem is not just about ethnic and religious issues, but also about the urban area and the people coming from rural communities of developing countries. This is a different culture, a different way. That is the objective of the forum. '
The experts agreed that in Russia and Europe it is important to clearly explain the value of migrants, fully consider this issue, work with communities to understand the benefits of migration in respect to the fact that electoral populism doesn't lead to building multicultural society.
At the preparatory meeting of Global Policy Forum in Brussels the issues of national identity and the identity of modern states, the European neighborhood policy in the crisis of some states and the threat of Islamic extremism were discussed in the framework of the sections. The experts say that today every state has its experience associated with the past and it is important to build neighborhood policy taking into account the peculiarities of this experience.
Sinan Ülgen, Chairman of the Centre for Economics and Foreign policy Studies (EDAM), Istanbul, visiting scholar at Carnegie Europe, Brussels, hopes that the debate on the national consciousness, taking place in Europe, will lead to a mixed model, which allows to resolve some problems of integration and multiculturalism: 'The UK one day saw that the terrorists undermined London subway turned out to be British. The Netherlands also changed its policy - and it lead to the rise of nationalist sentiment. Today, within the EU there is no single model, but there is the European Commission which is considering the issue on the basis of a range of ideas that hopefully will lead to a mixture of best practices'.
Speaking about the problems of states' identity and the neighborhood policy, Vladimir Baranovsky put especial emphasis on the need for a comprehensive approach to policies of the European Union regarding Russia neighboring states: 'There are two areas within the European area which deserve attention: the South Caucasus and Western CIS countries - Ukraine, Moldova , Belarus. These zones are different. There is a high sensitivity of Russia to these zones, it is higher than the sensitivity of the European Union. I'm not saying that we should not get involved and allow Russia to do what she wants. Simply, it should be considered. In Russia phantom pains associated with the Soviet Union are still alive. Not surprising that Russia as a big power relies on allies and partners. So far, very few of these are allies in fact. Russia is trying to do something to create such a database. And for her the post-Soviet space is very important'.
According to experts, Russia and the European Union have coincident objective interests in relation to the common areas, such as Ukraine. And Russia would have been easier not to consider the EU as a competitor who is trying to push it with the territory. Vladimir Baranovsky is sure that Russia, the EU and Ukraine has all opportunities to create synergies, e.g. in Transnistria, where, according to Baranovsky, exists the ideal stage was environment for partnership.
The fourth section was dedicated to finding answers to the questions of reconciliation of economic and social models of Europe and whether the modern state is able to maintain existing social models in the form they existed before the 2008 economic crisis. According to panelists, in fact, the influence of existing social models in the sensitivity of the crisis was negligible. However, the EU and Russia should reconsider some of the mechanisms of social security in order to adapt to the new conditions and opportunities brought about by global economic crisis.
During the discussion there was an opinion that the question of the single social model and the single currency in Europe is not the major one and the stability of social systems in the European Union countries are more dependent on the unified management of social spending: 'If we had the Minister of Finance of the euro zone, perhaps there would be no problems with Greece'. Igor Nikolaev, Head of the Department of Strategic Analysis, FBK audit and consulting company, Moscow, suggested the idea not to be afraid of changing the stereotypes and assessing the appropriateness of the existing weight of the state in social spending: 'There are different social models in Europe but the common point is the great weight of the state in the decision-making process. For example, in comparison with the American model. Can the economy continue the preservation of the weight of the state? Perhaps, we should recognize that the thing we were proud of no longer works? In Russia this problem is even more acute. We all came from the Soviet planned economy, where the state was responsible for everything. And if we now poll the people who is the one to care about the welfare the majority will say that the state is. And only a small part says: I will myself decide on these issues'. According to Nikolaev, Russia has a number of social support mechanisms to be revised. He believes that the implementation of insurance principles in pension provision is ineffective because it conflicts with the insurance model: everybody pays, but only one faces an accident: 'They argue: There is a difference between the commercial and the social insurance. But all these are tricks. Taxes can collect some money assets, but there is no sense in counting on a deficit-free pension'.
The conference in Brussels is final in a series of the preparatory meetings and consultations held by the moderators and the participants of Global Policy Forum in May and June, 2011, in Beijing, Riga, Madrid. Issues chosen for the discussion at the meeting in Brussels will become fundamental in the agenda of the intersection meeting on migration issues to be held within Global Policy Forum in Yaroslavl in September, 2011.
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+ 7 (916) 701 47 25 Elena Sirotkina