Our Programmes



Sign up to our newsletter.

Follow ODI

Where to next on migration for southern Europe? Analysing trends in narratives and policies

Time (GMT +01) 15:00 19:00
Image credit:Entry of moroccan immigrants on the Ceuta border, with military presence. Image license:Cristian Borrego Sala/Shutterstock
This event has finished, watch or listen to the playback below.
Panel 1 [public attitudes and narratives in relation to migration]: 0:00:00 – 1:17:38
In-Conversation with Thimbo Samb: 1:17:39 – 1:52:24
Panel 2 [migration policy trends in southern Europe]: 1:52:25 – 3:01:12


Please note this event will take place at 15:00-19:00 GMT+1 / 16:00-20:00 CET at CaixaForum, Paseo del Prado 36, Madrid, with a networking reception from 20:00 CET.

Immigration and migration management have been controversial topics across Europe for many years. Hostile rhetoric around refugees and other migrants has escalated and the subject has become deeply politicised. Negative rhetoric has gone hand in hand with more regressive policies which are often both costly and ineffective. However, political narratives around immigration are often a far cry from the European public’s attitudes and policy preferences.

Countries in southern Europe are particularly implicated in migration debates, given their geographic position. Border control has become increasingly securitised and in the spirit of ‘deterrence’ pushbacks of migrants arriving by sea in southern Europe have become more common, with severe consequences.

At the same time, southern European countries are an important labour mobility destination, with some sectors of their labour markets strongly dependent on migrant labour. Establishing legal pathways for migration is particularly relevant in the context of the significant demographic challenges Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece are facing, with some of the most rapidly ageing populations in Europe. However, there’s an alarming lack of ideas on how to secure safe, regular and ordered migration channels for the increasing number of workers required by the countries’ labour markets.

Many researchers, national and local organisations, and activists are working to counter the narrative of the far-right and to promote societies of welcome, alongside advocacy to influence the EU and its member states to adopt more intelligent and humane migration and asylum policies. This event will feature two panel discussions looking in turn at public attitudes and political narratives around migration and policy reforms across southern Europe. It will provide a comparative view of trends in the region and enable exchange between researchers and practitioners working to counter polarising narratives around migration and for more constructive migration policy reforms.


  • Aida Alami headshot

    Aida Alami

    Freelance journalist and reporter

  • Thimbo headshot

    Thimbo Samb

    Actor, Filmmaker, Activist

  • Amparo headshot

    Amparo Gonzalez Ferrer

    Deputy Director of Migration Analysis, Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration


    Eleni Takou

    Head of Outreach, Mediterranean Migration and Asylum Policy Hub

  • Lula headshot

    Lucila Rodríguez-Alarcón

    Director, porCausa

  • Ismail headshot

    Ismail El Majdoubi

    Activist and human rights defender

  • Miriam JT headshot

    Miriam Juan-Torres

    Head of Research, Democracy and Belonging Forum, Othering and Belonging Institute

  • Claire Kumar headshot

    Claire Kumar

    Senior Research Fellow, ODI

  • Antonella Napolitano headshot

    Antonella Napolitano

    Researcher, Migration and Tech Policy Expert

  • Patricia headshot

    Patricia Macías López


  • Gonzalo headshot

    Gonzalo Fanjul

    Head of Research, porCausa



  • porCausa porCausa logo
  • Democracy & Belonging Forum Democracy and Belonging Forum
  • Othering & Belonging Institute Othering & Belonging Institute