Economic migration will continue to be a challenge to rich countries, thanks to the “ubiquitous smart phone” Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond told heads of mission at the Lord Mayor’s Easter Banquet.
“The digital revolution means access to information is now ubiquitous, but economic opportunity is not. And it’s clear to me that information-enabled economic migration will be a major challenge for all rich countries, long after the Syria crisis is resolved,” he said.
The Foreign Secretary went on to say that developed nations would need to work out ways to discharge their moral and legal obligations to genuine refugees while dealing robustly with the traffickers and those who are seeking to circumvent the rules to access a better standard of living.
The Lord Mayor’s Banquet is an occasion for the Foreign Secretary to set out Britain’s foreign policy priorities and this year Hammond outlined how the UK was confronting three main threats: Islamist extremism; Russian aggression; and EU reform, while shielding the British economy from a global downturn.
Although a eurosceptic, Hammond said it was in Britain’s interests to remain in a reformed EU. He pointed to a “change of mood” among EU member states who were coming round to a view of a multispeed, EU.
“We now need to lock this change of mood into the DNA of the European Union and turn the commitments made to the UK into a working reality,” he said.