A “Call for Expressions of Interest” for the 3rd meeting of the European Migration Forum has been released. The forum will take place in Brussels, 2-3 March 2017, with the theme “Migrants’ access to the EU, to rights and to services: Challenges and ways forward”. Deadline for application is 12 December 2016. You can apply here:http://www.eesc.europa.eu/?i=portal.en.events-and-activities-european-migration-forum-3-registration
A central topic of the 3rd Forum will be the access of migrants to the EU, to rights and to services. To quote the official agenda:
“In a nutshell, the content of the meeting will include a discussion on safe legal alternatives to the perilous journeys migrants undertake, as well as a reflection on the way migrants can access services upon their arrival, together with the rights to which they are entitled to, and how to ensure continuation of such provisions to facilitate their integration process. Moreover, an underlining theme will be that of communication and the media – changing the current narrative on migration, with a view to explore how public discourse can influence public perceptions on migration and integration of migrants in receiving communities. Other topic suggested by participants may also be considered.”
I had the opportunity to participate in the 2016 forum in Brussels and was quite impressed about the openness of the process – there was no strictly fixed agenda, participants were able to bring in hot topics such as EU migration policy and the EU-Turkey deal. There was also interaction with EU representatives, such as Roel Gans from the Dutch EU presidency, Dimitrios Kalogeropoulos from the Committee of the Regions and in particular Matthias Ruete, the Director General of the Directorate General for Migration and Home Affairs (DG HOME) who stated that the “Dublin system does not work, has never worked – we have to move from a system just allocating responsibility to a system of solidarity”.
Posting this from the current GFMD meeting in Bangladesh, I can appreciate the openness of discussions I witnessed there and participated in – the GFMD took a long time to reach a comparable level. Impact and Monitoring are aspects I still have to assess, however, so I hope I will be able to attend next year and report back on this.