The EMN National Contact Point of Portugal held a conference on the subject of “Innovation on the borders: New technologies for upcoming migration”. The Conference was held in Lisbon on 29th November, and it gathered Portuguese migration experts and members of the European Migration Network from different EMN Member States.More Less
Representatives of the Ministry of Interior of Croatia and the Croatian EMN National Contact Point also attended the conference.
Carlos Matos Moreira, the Director of the Portuguese Migration and Border Services, held the introductory speech. Magnus Ovilius, the Chair of the European Migration Network, spoke next, and noted the importance of EMN as a source of reliable information for making political decisions, very relevant in light of today’s wide dissemination of false/misleading information regarding migration and asylum in public arena. The question of migration is now more important than ever, and the European Commission is supporting the Member States in handling the challenge of migration, especially countries on the external border of EU.
After that, Maria Jose Ribeiro, from the Migration and Border Services of the European Commission (also a National Coordinator of the Portuguese EMN National Contact Point), held her presentation on the work of European Migration Network.
Next speaker was Alfonso Sommarribas from Luxembourg University, who is also the National contact point of EMN for Luxembourg. During the presentation he stated that EMN is working on studies regarding various complex subjects on which no data is available, although the knowledge on these subjects is essential for making informed decisions about further actions. The advantage of EMN over other research projects is that it provides the most recent and reliable data in the area of migration and asylum.
In the second part of the conference, concrete technologies currently used on Portuguese border crossings and future border controls were discussed.
The day before the Conference was held, a meeting by the Return Experts Working Group, which is part of EMN, was held. Representative of the Ministry of Interior participated in the closed and open part of this meeting, while the representatives of the National Contact Points participated in the part that was open to a wider circle of experts.
On 23rd November, the 6th National Migration Network meeting was held in Rijeka and attended by the representatives of fourteen Croatian institutions and organizations. The meeting, organized by the EMN National Contact Point of Croatia, provided a platform for exchange of updates and relevant information in the area of asylum and migration among relevant stakeholders.
After introducing new members of the Network and informing about the main news, the participants individually introduced information about the newest developments within their scope of work.More Less
Afterwards, Prof. Dr. sc. Iris Goldner Lang, Head of the UNESCO Chair for Free Movement of Persons, Migration and Intercultural Dialogue at the Faculty of Law of the University of Zagreb, held a presentation on trends in the development of European migration and asylum law. The presentation was followed by the discussion on the topic with other participants. Following that, Patricija Kezele, Head of the Department for EURES and international mediation from the Croatian Employment Service, presented the findings of the Study on Inclusion of Third-Country Nationals into the Labour Market.
The last presentation was held by the National Coordinator who briefly introduced everybody with the Work Plan of the European Migration Network for the period 2019 - 2020., with an emphasis on achieving greater recognition of the EMN as a source of reliable and relevant information on asylum and migration between the professionals as well as general public.
On the 20th of November, the Hungarian EMN National Contact Point hosted the National Conference on the topic of human smuggling networks and their role in migration, with a special focus on the Western Balkan route. The conference took place at the Ministry of Interior in Budapest.
After the opening speech of the Head of Department for European Cooperation, the conference continued with the presentations of the representatives from the Hungarian institutions who talked about Hungarian experience with combating of human smuggling, especially within the context of migration.More Less
The conference continued with the representative from Europol, who explained Europol's operative measures and the recent trends, and the official from the Serbian Ministry of Interior, who presented Serbian experience.
The Conference was attended by Croatian representatives from the EMN National Contact Point of Croatia.
How diasporas can engage in the development of the country of origin – this was the question discussed on the 22nd of October in Dubrovnik, at the first annual EMN NCP conference in Croatia.More Less
The working part was divided into three sessions, throughout which various speakers provided their findings and shared their approaches to attracting and cooperating with diasporas, especially tackling approaches to diasporas from Third countries. The Conference was attended by more than 40 participants from 12 countries plus Croatia.
Welcome speeches were held by the Croatian EMN National Coordinator Nikolina Patalen, the State Secretary from the Ministry of the Interior Žarko Katić and the Deputy State Secretary from the Central State Office for Croats Abroad Ivana Perkušić.
First session following the opening was devoted to approaches related to understanding the concept of diaspora and introducing the Croatian context.
The first lecture was given by Deepali Fernandes, Senior Migration and Economic Development Specialist from the IOM Headquarters, who emphasized the economic, social and cultural capital brought by diaspora members, typically very loyal investors. She also focused on brain drain, a problem occurring in many countries, pointing out that it needs to be turned into brain circulation, as noticed in the countries of the Pacific, Caribbean and Africa.
The second speaker was Karolina Novinšćak Kölker, a researcher from the Department for the History of Southeast and Eastern Europe, University of Regensburg, Germany. Her presentation focused on migration from Croatia to Bavaria and on the change in the discourse and the general approach to this group from ‘workers temporarily working abroad’ to ‘labour migrants’ in the later stage of the migration process.
Then, Rebeka Mesarić Žabčić, a researcher from the Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies, talked about perceptions and recommendations of Croatian diaspora members from Australia and USA. She conducted a research on the probability of the return of Croatian emigrants considering the high standards of living in the USA and Australia, and presented the results which included both strong emotional reasons for returning to Croatia on one hand and reasonable factors for staying abroad (higher salaries, better education system etc.) on the other.
Following that, Ivana Lučev, Head of the Service for Migrations from the Ministry of Demography, Family, Youth and Social Policy, presented the results of their research on reasons for leaving and returning to Croatia with similar conclusions. These results showed that in the last seven years a significant number of high-skilled workers emigrated from Croatia and that the majority expect significant changes in Croatia in order to for them to return.
The last presentation during the first session was held by Marija Matek, head of the Welcome Office at the Croatian State Office for Croats Abroad. She pointed out that the constitutional obligation of the Republic of Croatia is to protect, care and cherish the connection with the Croats living abroad. One of the tools for achieving this purpose is the establishment of the Welcome Office and production of materials for diaspora members (such as “Guide for Returnees”) as well as implementation of various projects (eg. “Roots”).
The second and third sessions were dedicated to examples of good practices in engaging with diaspora members. Lukas Savickas, Adviser to the Prime Minister for Economic and Strategic Change Management from Lithuania, gave an example describing the project “Create Lithuania” which persuaded many Lithuanians to return to the homeland. The Lithuanian government’s key challenge was attracting the talent, bearing in mind the need for more talent in most sectors of the economy.
The following two speakers were from two countries traditionally known for having large diasporas around the world – Ireland and Israel. Geoffrey Keating, the Head of the Irish Abroad Unit described the Irish diaspora policy which operates under five pillars: support – connect – facilitate – recognize – evolve. The focus is on adapting the policy according to recent changes in Irish migration trends (meaning more people returning to Ireland), and thus creating the programmes which are supporting these trends.
Arnon Mantver, Founder and Volunteer Chairman of the Center for International Migration and Integration from Israel, continued the session describing the role of Israeli diaspora in the times of change for the country of Israel. Mr. Mantver also gave his recommendations for building strong relationship with diaspora: encouraging establishment of diaspora’s organizations and institutions, long term programmes for diaspora, networking, fundraising etc. He also mentioned a few key areas to work on in the Croatian case: creating strong and sustainable communities and organizations abroad and developing the home country through partnerships with diaspora.
At the end of the session, some of the topics that were discussed were: the influence of mobility on the work of institutions of the home country, specific government programs for people who do not have contact with their home country, how to stop emigration in practice etc.
In the last session, Deepali Fernandes explained the results of IOM’s “mapping surveys”, through which IOM obtained numerous information related to diaspora's location, status of education, attitudes, professional interests etc. These data are of great importance for governments who wish to strengthen the relationship with their diaspora and to design strategies and programs that would assist them in skill transfer.
Finally, Audra Sipavičienė, Head of the IOM Office in Vilnius, talked about Lithuanian experience with massive emigration. Lithuanian government established the Migration Information Center for Returning Migrants called „I Choose Lithuania“, implemented by IOM, through which returnees can get help by receiving all the information they need. The government is trying to reduce emigration and encourage return migration through three components: emigration prevention, promotion of return and establishing diaspora contact.
The Conference ended with a discussion on various issues, with the main focus on mapping of diasporas, research and data analysis. Overall, this Conference provided a broader view of the Croatian diaspora, as well as of the potential which diasporas have in strenghtening and in development of their countries of origin.
EMN National Contact Point of Finland organized a seminar on the processes which follow the status determination of minors who have entered Finland without the accompaniment of an adult. The Seminar was held on 11 October in Helsinki and it gathered numerous representatives from Finnish governmental bodies, institutions and NGOs, as well as from international entities. The Seminar was attended also by a representative from the Ministry of demography, family, youth and social policy and the Croatian EMN National Contact point.
The Seminar was opened by the Director of Immigration at the Ministry for Employment and the Economy who pointed out the importance of interinstitutional cooperation in questions regarding unaccompanied minors.More Less
After that, a consultant from the ICF (Inner City Fund – EMN’s service provider) presented the main findings of the EMN study “Approaches to Unaccompanied Minors Following Status Determination in EU plus Norway”.
All of the speakers, irrespective of the institution that they have represented, highlighted that child’s best interest should be a priority during the whole process and that individual approach should be used. As the Finnish Ombudsman for children emphasized, nobody should presume what child wants. Main issues that occur when dealing with unaccompanied minors, such as children gone missing or extreme introversion which hinders the process of integration, could be prevented by building a strong connection between a minor and assigned caregiver. An important example was given by the service director of the Finnish SOS Children Village who talked about their work and pointed out the importance of family surrounding and child-friendly atmosphere. He also introduced two young immigrants (age 16 and 20) who shared their experience of integration, learning the language, striving to become a part of the Finnish society.
Majority of the speakers and participants at the Seminar were pleading against the child detention, which should be the last option for every minor. Also, return should take place only if it is completely safe for the minor. The Seminar was concluded with the panel discussion on the integration of unaccompanied minors in Finland.
In the context of Austrian EU Presidency, Annual EMN conference was held in Vienna from 4 to 5 October 2018 organized by the Austrian National Contact Point.More Less
The Conference, which has brought together a large number of participants, was devoted to migration management, more accurately, planned and systematized approach to migration, unlike the reactive approach.
The introductory speech was held by the Austrian Federal Minister for the Interior, Herbert Kickl, who pointed out that migration is a substantive and urgent issue, that approach to migration currently is at the crossroad and that current decisions will be crucial for the European Union itself. Hence, the arrival of refugees and migrants should be seen as an opportunity to be used in cooperation with experts who recognize the potential of migration, without political pressure. However, it is also necessary to actively approach current situation and not to allow uncontrolled migration, which is important also in the context of citizens’ trusts in the ability of the authorities to deal with the challenges that migrations bring.
Following his speech, a speech was held by Manfred Profazi, Senior Regional Adviser for Europe and Central Asia from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), who reminded the participants that the year 2018 is of crucial importance to migration in general, primarily because of the adoption of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM), which does not encourage nor stop migration, but manage them.
Then the lecture was given by Paul Collier, one of the leading migration experts, professor of economy and public policy at the Oxford University. Collier holds the position that currently the public discourse on the influx of refugees and migrants into the European Union, that was intensified in 2015, is polarized so on one side there are those who believe that the existing international protection system needs to be transformed to be more ethical, while on the other side there are those who claim that it needs to be more realistic. But Collier does not consider these two interpretations as opposing but he stands for an approach that would allow migration management in a way that combines ethical and realistic approach.
Also, he sees a problem in the fact that all the solutions are short-term and they are actually only “extinguishing the fire”, while the problem of influx of refugees and migrants into the Europe is a situation requiring long-term solutions. Given that the largest number of refugees and migrants are actually in refugee camps and on the territory of the neighboring countries of those where people flee from, Collier suggests that the solution should be sought in those places. Namely, since the largest number of people are in countries such as Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon, Europe can help refugees (and thus also these states) by redirecting help there and by creating job opportunities. In addition, these countries should allow freedom of employment and freedom of movement for refugees and migrants who are on their territory.
After this, the presentations were held by the Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Immigration and Integration Ministry in Denmark, the representative of the Directorate for Irregular Migration and Return Policy Unit, member of the ECOWAS commission and again professor Paul Collier. During this session it was concluded that the largest number of refugees and migrants really remains in the ECOWAS area (85%) and that it is necessary to provide assistance and employment opportunities to people in these areas.
The second panel was devoted to diplomacy and migration, while the last panel on the first day was about returnees. During this panel, it was emphasized that the EU had no approach developed to returns until the so-called ‘migration crisis’, but now the discourse has changed, and the biggest emphasis has been put on returns. For this purpose, large funds are allocated and in the context of return programs IOM presented the way it conducts return programs, taking into account successful reintegration.
On the second day of the Conference the presentation was held by the leading refugee expert Alexander Betts, a professor from Oxford, who also deals with ways of improving protection in the countries of origin and countries of refuge, and these are, again, the neighboring countries. In this context, Betts states that Europe is not at all faced with a challenge, considering the total number of people who come to Europe in comparison to the number of those in neighboring countries. However, this has become a political issue and as such, will have effect on the current asylum system. In Betts’s opinion, an effective refugee system means allowing autonomy - work, education and socio-economic freedom. As possible solution, he proposes giving support to the countries of refuge, a different way of resettling (all states need to participate, private sponsors can be included), re-arranged visa system, whereas spontaneous arrivals should be the last solution.
During the rest of the second day speeches were held by the legal advisor at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, UNHCR representative and IOM representative.
The Conference was attended by a representative of the Ministry of the Interior and the representative of the Croatian National Contact Point of EMN.
This mass influx led to backlogs in registrations of international protection applications, pressures on reception centres, and other operational and organizational challenges. EMN recently published the Synthesis Report of the Study covering this topic and which includes contributions from 25 EMN National Contact Points. All EMN members reported that they have strengthened cooperation among relevant stakeholders at national level, as well as enhanced cooperation with other EMN members at bilateral, multilateral, regional and European level. The Study presents national measures in the areas of border control and law enforcement, reception services, registration and asylum procedures and integration measures. Although all these measures had to be downscaled or adjusted due to decreased inflows of international protection applicants from mid-2016 onwards, this situation provided better conditions for ensuring future preparedness and continuous and constructive cooperation at different levels.
In addition to the EMN Inform published for this Study, EMN flash has been prepared providing a short introduction and overview of the most important findings and statistics from the Study.
This Study explores the situation of unaccompanied minors who have been granted a residence permit or issued a return decision and gives the overview of international, EU and national legislation on unaccompanied minors. Furthermore, the Synthesis Report of the Study describes care arrangements, education opportunities, integration measures, family reunification possibilities, access to healthcare, social welfare support, return policies and other aspects of a states’ approach to unaccompanied minors. The Report also covers the approaches to this group after persons turn 18... Finally, the Study gives an insight into the main challenges that the EMN members face in relation to unaccompanied minors following status determination.
A total of 40 Syrian nationals were resettled from Turkey and provided with housing, healthcare and other services necessary for their residence in Croatia. Also, the capacity for detention was increased with the opening of two transit reception centres. More about main developments in 2017 in Croatia can be found on the link below.