European Migration Forum
The European Migration Forum (EMF) is a platform for dialogue between civil society organisations and European institutions which meet once a year for two days of work. Created in 2015 to replace the European Integration Forum, its extended scope now covers topics related to immigration and asylum, in addition to integration issues. Although the Forum remains an opportunity for civil society organisations to express their views and discuss challenges and priorities, the participants’ selection procedure is now based on an open call which considers the expertise of each applicant (organisation) in the topic of the year.
In line with its broadened mandate, the Forum met for the first time in January 2015 to discuss the migratory flows in the Mediterranean. Discussions stressed the importance of a long-term perspective for the social inclusion of people seeking or benefiting from international protection. Interaction between refugees and members of the receiving society was defined as key in this matter. In April 2016, the second EMF meeting took up this conclusion and focused on the long-term approach to migration and integration. Among other activities, interactive workshops brought NGOs and European public servants to one table to debate issues like changing the European narrative on migration, increasing cooperation among stakeholders, paying attention to migrants' specific vulnerabilities or the currently proposed reforms to the European asylum system.
The third meeting of the EMF took place on 2 and 3 March 2017 in Brussels to discuss the key issue of migrants' access to Europe, to rights and to services. In a nutshell, the meeting included a discussion on safe legal alternatives to the perilous journeys migrants undertake, as well as a reflection on ways migrants can access services upon their arrival and rights they are entitled to. How to ensure continuation of such provisions to facilitate their integration process was also part of the reflection.
The launch of EMF’s forerunner – the European Integration Forum – in 2009 reflected the comprehensive approach to integration pursued by the EU, which recognises that involving stakeholders at all levels is essential for the success of policies. Its initial development resulted from a cooperation between the European Commission and the European Economic and Social Committee.