Towards a Holistic Approach to Labour Migration Governance and Labour Mobility in North Africa (THAMM)


Towards a Holistic Approach to Labour Migration Governance and Labour Mobility in North Africa (THAMM)


Opening of the Second Regional Conference on Mobility schemes between North Africa and Europe:

Cairo, 30 January 2023


Ambassador Christian Berger, Head of the European Union Delegation to Egypt



It is a pleasure to represent the European Union in the Second THAMM Regional Conference with a wide audience from the European Union, EU Member States, Egypt, Tunisia Morocco, the United Nations and the private sector.


I still recall when in October 2020 we launched the THAMM programme in Egypt. The message then was as it is today:  migration is a fact of life; migration is there to stay and migration is to be managed in an orderly manner. That is where THAMM is playing an important role.


Migration is not only about movements of people; it is about supporting economic growth; giving alternatives to individuals; promoting exchanges  with cultural impacts; creating synergies and building on stronger cooperation which can be mutually beneficial to the international community.


President Von Der Leyen has declared 2023 as the European Year of Skills linking skills to labour shortage, skills challenge, and rational discussion about migration to meet European demands in a win-win approach with partner countries.


The EU Year of Skills is interlinked with the New Pact on Migration and Asylum. The Pact reaffirms that migration is a fact-of-life, and that we can benefit from migration as long as we manage it together. This is essential for opening up new legal avenues to Europe, and elsewhere.


To complement the overall picture I would like to refer to the New EU Agenda for the Southern Neighbourhood through which the EU has launched its vision for the future of labour mobility via the concept of Talent Partnership.


The Talent Partnership aims to strengthen cooperation between the EU, Member States and partner countries and to boost international labour mobility and the development of talents. This in light of a ‘Brain Gain’ and not a ‘Brain Drain’.


Europe needs labour; many of the partner countries have a pool of labour to offer but we need to ensure mutual development. That is where we would need to look at the future, fully understanding the importance of promoting talents and ensuring skill acquisition. This is how we can keep up a positive narrative and reinforce partnerships.


To reinforce up this positive narrative we would need to look at alternative modalities that would more proactively involve the private sector and set models that would be cost effective.


I would also like to bring to the attention of this audience the launch on 12 December 2022 of the Central Mediterranean Migration Route via a Team Europe Initiative (TEI) which aims to strengthen coordination, coherence and complementarities of all EU and EU Member States initiatives.  I am confident that we will be hearing more about the development of the Central Mediterranean Migration Route initiative in the near future.


Let me conclude by recalling that migration is a human factor.  It has always been here. It always will be here. People move. They move for work, to reunite families and sometimes to protect their lives and liberty.


I am looking forward to the outcomes and conclusions of this important three days conference which, I am confident, will further shape an enhanced and more effective orderly migration process building human capital via skills recognition, talent partnerships and enhanced cooperation between both shores of the Mediterranean.