24 June 2010
The role of civil society in the EU's work towards a common asylum and migration policy is being discussed today at a conference arranged by the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) in Brussels. EU Commissioner Cecilia Malmström held a speech at the conference this morning, where she underlined the importance of dialogue and cooperation in order for the EU to be able to meet the challenges of the future in the asylum and migration area.
ECRE is a pan-European network of refugee-assisting non-governmental organisations. The theme of today's conference is Current Challenges and Opportunities in harmonising asylum and migration and the role of Civil Society. Cecilia Malmström underlined the role of civil society as a reference point for the Commission when developing its policies - not least in the work of implementing the initiatives that are outlined in the Stockholm Programme.
"We have a lot of work to do. The challenges ahead are multiple, but I am ready to engage in a constructive dialogue with all relevant stakeholders, including civil society. The current economic crisis cannot be an excuse not to fulfil the commitments we have subscribed to," said Cecilia Malmström.
Earlier today Cecilia Malmström also participated in the conference European Integration Forum. In her speech, she said:
"Last week, the European Council adopted the EU 2020 Strategy for jobs and growth, which outlines how the EU can become more competitive in the future. It states that the employment rate should reach 75 percent and this has to be encouraged, among other things, through better integration of legal migrants."
The conference marks the beginning of a two-month consultation period, during which civil society organisations will be able to send suggestions to the European Commission on how they see EU integration policy in the future.