Brussels, February 16, 2016 – EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, is today opening a high-level dialogue with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to exchange views on current and future challenges in the field of migration. William L. Swing, Director General of IOM and Laura Thompson, IOM Deputy Director General, will take part in this annual one-day event, as well as other departments of the European Commission and the European External Action Service.
Ahead of the event, Commissioner Mimica said: "Migration and forced displacement worldwide have reached unprecedented levels since the Second World War. Helping partner countries find the right way to manage these unprecedented flows has become one of the most burning issues for all of us. In order to be successful, we need to tackle the root causes of the problem, in cooperation with partner countries and international organisations".
Migration will continue to be high on the EU agenda in 2016 as the boosting of efforts will be needed to ensure a full implementation of the European Agenda on Migration, both in its internal and external dimension. The fact that migration is now included in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, where it is recognised as a potential positive force for development, is an important step forward. In the face of the unprecedented numbers of refugees, internally displaced persons, as well as irregular migrants globally, the EU significantly increased its commitments in 2015 to strengthen its support, as the establishment of the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa shows.
The overall objective of today’s meeting (formally known as a 'Senior Officials Meeting') is to explore ways for strengthening international efforts to implement the political commitments adopted at the Valletta Summit in November 2015, the Western Balkans Conference and in the Turkey Action Plan.
Discussions will focus on pressing topics of common concern for the EU and the IOM including facilitating legal avenues for migration, voluntary returns and reintegration, and strengthening the evidence base to inform policy on migration and displacement.
IOM Director General Swing said: "Migration will for the foreseeable future remain a dominant feature of Europe’s political, social and economic landscape. Arrivals to Europe will continue, as the drivers of forced migration have not changed. The response to immediate needs is making a difference for thousands of migrants and refugees, and steps are being made to address deeper and longer-term issues in a balanced way. I am convinced the EU and its 28 Member States acting together can turn the current migrant challenge into the achievement of a common, comprehensive, long-term EU migration and asylum policy."
This will be the third Senior Officials Meeting held within the EU-IOM Strategic Cooperation Framework, which was established in July 2012. DG NEAR is formally joining the group today in a further sign of how crucial this issue is on the current political agenda in Europe and neighbouring regions.
Background on the EU-IOM Strategic Cooperation Framework
What is the EU-IOM Strategic Cooperation Framework?
To enhance their collaboration on migration, development, humanitarian response and human rights issues, three European Commission services (DG HOME, DG DEVCO, DG ECHO) and the European External Action Service (EEAS) established a Strategic Cooperation Framework with IOM in July 2012. DG NEAR will officially join the group at today's meeting, through a formal exchange of letters.
The Framework builds on a shared interest in bringing the benefits of well managed international migration to migrants and society. It also serves as a basis for the exchanges, development and structuring of the relationship between the EU and IOM.
What are the Senior Officials Meetings?
Senior Officials Meetings (SOM) are held to foster dialogue and cooperation on key policy issues, best practices, as well as legislative and operational initiatives covering all aspects of migration, mobility and displacement.
In addition to the yearly Senior Officials Meeting, meetings are held between the EU and IOM at the Heads of Unit/Division and expert levels. Four Heads of Unit/Division meetings have been held since 2013.
For more information:
International Cooperation and Development Directorate-General webpage on Migration and asylum:
International Organization for Migration (IOM) website