5th European Migration Forum – The role of civil society and local authorities in managing migration

The fifth European Migration Forum – the dialogue platform on migration, asylum and migrant integration – took place in the premises of the European Economic and Social Committee in Brussels, on 3 and 4 April 2019 and addressed “the role of local authorities and civil society in managing migration and ensuring safe and regular pathways to the EU”. The Forum gathered around 250 participants, including more than 120 civil society organisations from across the European Union, as well as representatives from local and regional authorities, Member States and EU institutions. The European Migration Forum is the ad hoc platform to include civil society in the EU policy-making process on migration and integration policies.

The topics addressed during this fifth edition mainly concerned the role of civil society and local authorities in migration management, from their role in welcoming migrants to the programmes and work for the fair integration of migrants into the labour markets and education systems of the host countries. During the two days of workshops and discussions SOLIDAR highlighted the role of civil society in covering the institutional shortcomings in migration management, and cited several examples from our members and network. SOLIDAR underlined also the need for a humanitarian response to the migration issue that first of all took into account human needs and the migrants’ background. During the different workshops SOLIDAR underlined the importance of migrants as a social investment, and the need for stronger awareness of and protection for their rights. Decent work, social protection and access to education all contribute to successful integration. SOLIDAR also stressed the urgency of the reform of the Dublin Regulation for overcoming the systemic impasse in the European Asylum System, and the need for complementary pathways to guarantee fairer access to the Union for migrants and asylum seekers.

The two day event ended with the presentation by the members of the EESC of a set of recommendations resulting from the different workshop discussions between representatives of civil society, national and local authorities and EU institutions.

SOLIDAR expects the common conclusions of the two day event to be reflected in the current and upcoming policy initiatives, and believes in a stronger recognition of the role of civil society in migration management by all the institutions and national governments.