Why do people migrate to Europe? Motives, Expectations and Realities: A Conversation with Melita H. Šunjić
A meeting of EU interior ministers in France on 3 February 2022 resulted in the establishment of a new Schengen Council as well as proposals to get member states to either accept migration quotas or pay towards supporting other members that do. In March 2022 the Council will hold its first meeting.
France holds presidential elections on 10 April 2022 and managing migration is high on the agenda. France also holds the rotating EU presidency and migration is on the agenda.
Although numerous EU countries have been constructing walls and wire fences, migrants and refugees keep coming and dying/drowning along the way.
Can walls stop migration? Why do people decide to leave? Are they informed what awaits them during the journey to Europe? What do they expect to find in Europe?
Various European governments and international agencies have asked Melita Šunjić to examine these questions.
Melita H. Šunjić is a communication expert specialized on designing information campaigns for different refugee groups: her field work focuses on motives that trigger migration, challenges along the journey and expectations/frustrations upon arrival.
To this end, she has interviewed over 2000 refugees prior to their departure, in transit countries and upon arrival and studied the methods of smuggling networks.
Šunjić is the co-founder and Director of Transcultural Campaigning, a Vienna-based agency specializing in migration research communication campaigns geared towards migrants and refugees. She has consulted several European Governments, the UNHCR as well as the EU Asylum Agency. For over 25 years, Šunjić worked for UNHCR in various communications functions in different conflict situations: the Balkans, Pakistan/Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, Angola, Georgia, South Sudan, and the Middle East.
Šunjić has a PhD in Communication from the University of Vienna. She is an Austrian of Croatian origin. Her parents came to Austria as refugees.