On the 13 December, the Norwegian EMN National Contact Point hosted a conference titled „Sustainable Migration in Europe“ at the Norway House in Brussels.
After being welcomed by Øyvind Jaer, Coordinator of the Norwegian EMN NCP, the participants were introduced to the topic of the Conference by Magnus Ovilius, Head of Return Sector, Irregular Migration, DG Migration and Home Affairs and Chair of the European Migration Network.
The first and main presentation was held by Professors Alexander Betts and Paul Collier from the University of Oxford, who presented their proposal of a „framework for sustainable migration“. According to the academics, sustainable migration policies must satisfy three simple conditions: meet our basic ethical obligations, have broad democratic support, and not lure people into decisions they will come to regret. Their framework purports to constitute an alternative vision to the way migration policies are shaped nowadays.
A Q&A debate followed, after which Professor Grete Brochmann from the University of Oslo and Research Professor Anne Skevik Grødem from the Institute for Social Research in Oslo introduced the public to the concept of absorption capacity as means for assessing sustainable migration.
The last presentation was finally held by Asle Toje, Roving Political Scientist and Member of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, who discussed the significance of culture in assessing sustainable immigration.
A debate among all the panellists followed and marked the end of the Conference.
On 12 December 2018, the Belgian EMN NCP organized its annual asylum and migration policy event where recent national and EU developments in the field of international protection, legal migration and integration as well as irregular migration, human trafficking and return were discussed.
Two representatives of the Croatian EMN National Contact Point attended the event.
The Conference was opened by Bram Devos from the EMN NCP Belgium. The first session was devoted to the topics of international protection and an overview of recent developments in the field of reception was given. Presentations were held by Peter Van Costenoble and Ina Vandenberghe (EMN NCP Belgium), Fanny François (Director of Policy - Fedasil), Dirk Van den Bulck (Commissioner General for Refugees and Stateless Persons - CGRS), Stephen Ryan (Deputy Head of Unit Asylum - European Commission) and Sophie Magennis (Head of Policy and Legal Support, UNHCR Regional Representation for EU Affair Brussels).
The second session encompassed presentations given by Ina Vandenberghe and David Vogel (EMN NCP Belgium), Dries Lens (Universiteit Antwerpen) and prof. Bruno Schoumaker (Université Catholique de Louvain) on the legal migration and integration focussed on the labour market integration policies.
The third session emphasised disinformation on the current developments in the EU return policy and the challenges in addressing the issue of minors as victims of human trafficking or human smuggling. Speaches were given by David Vogel (EMN NCP Belgium), Magnus Ovilius (Head of Return Sector - European Commission) and Patricia Le Cocq (Policy Officer - Myria).
The Conference ended with closing words given by Philippe Rosseel (Advisor General – Ministry of Interiors).
During the Conference various issues were discussed including the status, care and integration of unaccompanied minors in Ireland and internationally, both in relation to those who were granted with international protection and those transitioning to adulthood without a determined status.
Two representatives of the Croatian EMN National Contact Point attended the conference, as well as a representative of the Ministry of the Interior.
The topic of the Conference was linked to the findings of the EMN Study conducted in 2017 on approaches to unaccompanied minors following status determination in the EU plus Norway.
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.
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.
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.
The topic of the Conference was linked to the findings of two EMN studies – the 2017/2018 Study on the changing influx of asylum seekers and the 2018 Study on the impacts of visa liberalization.
The Conference consisted of two sessions. The first one was dedicated to international experiences, namely the ones from Germany, Netherlands and Estonia. German and Dutch universities are very popular among other European students as well as third country nationals, while Estonian universities are slowly becoming more international.
In the second session a roundtable was organized to discuss reception policy dedicated to international students in France. France is a destination country for studying mostly for the French speaking nationalities, such as Moroccans, Algerians etc. However, it is becoming more popular among other third country nationals, ie. Chinese, Russians or Turks.
The Conference was attended by Croatian representatives from the State Office for Croats Abroad, Ministry of Demographics, Family, Youth and Social Policy and the EMN National Contact Point of Croatia.
The Conference also hosted three experts who presented European experience, namely from Austria, Sweden and Slovenia. Their presentations covered the procedures, quotas, tools for integration of foreign workers etc. in their respective countries.
The Conference was attended by the Croatian representatives from the EMN National Contact Point of Croatia and from the Croatian Employment Service.
The Conference brought together a range of speakers on this issue in order to provide international context, to discuss and compare the family reunification policy frameworks in other EU Member States, and to provide insight into the Irish system from national policymakers and I/NGOs working in this field.
At the first session, the main topics were family reunification and increased migrant influx 2014 and 2015, ensuring the integration of family migrants and family reunification as a factor in attracting talent. At the second session participants discussed the consequences of illegal employment of third-country nationals, from avoidance of tax obligations to violations of basic human rights of employees.