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The Strategic Guidelines for legislative and policy planning in the area of freedom, security and justice, adopted by the European Council in June 2014, identified the need for “an efficient and well-managed migration, asylum and border policy” in the EU that is underpinned by “full respect for fundamental rights”. It recognised that the EU is “faced with challenges such as instability in many parts of the world as well as global and European demographic trends”. It also noted that “a comprehensive approach is required, optimising the benefits of legal migration and offering protection to those in need while tackling irregular migration resolutely and managing the EU’s external borders efficiently”. As the guidelines emphasise, it is important to “support Member States’ efforts to pursue active integration policies, which foster social cohesion and economic dynamism”.
The Fundamental Rights Conference will highlight key fundamental rights challenges that need to be considered when implementing the Strategic Guidelines. It will discuss means of alleviating the effects of the current migration pressures at the EU’s external sea and land borders, while fully respecting fundamental rights. The conference will also debate the best ways of promoting social inclusion and migrant integration, in order to create an environment in which migrants can take full advantage of their own potential, to the benefit not only of themselves but also of EU society as a whole.
The high-level event is co-hosted together with the Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. It brings together over 250 policy makers and practitioners from across the EU, including representatives from EU institutions, international organisations, national governments and parliaments, law enforcement, civil society and many more.
- To ensure fundamental rights remain at the centre of migration policy in the EU.
- To discuss the fundamental rights at stake in the practical implementation of the Strategic Guidelines for legislative and policy planning in the area of freedom, security and justice, which were adopted by the European Council in June 2014.
- To build on the work of the Task Force Mediterranean by supporting the development of fundamental rights-based activities that address current humanitarian emergencies at the EU’s external borders.
- To address migrant integration from a fundamental rights perspective in order to create inclusive societies that are free of racial and other forms of discrimination, helping both migrants and recipient countries to develop.
The EU is part of a globalised and interconnected world where migrant and refugee flows are on the rise. These are not only due to instability, war and poverty, but also respond to demographic trends and labour market gaps in the EU. Asylum, migration and integration have become closely related to the phenomena of xenophobia and intolerance, and all these continue to dominate much of the fundamental rights debate and concerns across the Union. To meet the challenges faced by EU societies, policy responses to the movement of people need to keep fundamental rights at the centre of the decision-making process.
Borders: guarding the EU’s external borders while protecting the rights of migrants and refugees
The EU’s external borders are the gateway to the European Union. People come to Europe to seek safety from persecution and war, to join family members or to find a better life. With limited access to legal channels of migration, many people - whether asylum seekers, children, trafficking victims, or other migrants - fall prey to smugglers and traffickers, making them vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. Once in the EU, some are granted protection, some are returned, and some remain in an EU Member State either with or without right to stay.
There have recently been significant efforts by the EU and Member States, in particular Italy, to save the lives of migrants arriving in the EU. The creation in October 2013 of the Task Force Mediterranean was a swift and important response that set out a course of action to address unsafe migration at sea. However, the challenges at the EU’s borders, both sea and land, points to the urgent need for a more comprehensive, sustainable, coordinated and effective European response that uses a fundamental rights-oriented approach to deal with all aspects of migration from cause to effect. Only in this way can we ensure respect for the inviolable right to human dignity.
Building an inclusive society to the advantage of all
As intolerance and extremism have grown in many countries across the EU, the situation of migrants living and working there has become increasingly vulnerable. Efforts to actively promote migrant inclusion into EU societies, as well as to combat racism and xenophobia, need to be guided by fundamental rights and the EU values of equality, pluralism, non-discrimination, diversity, and social cohesion.
A proactive approach that builds on these values and promotes inclusion can help to reduce racial discrimination and intolerance, dispel tension, and strengthen security. Protecting fundamental rights is important to empower migrants and thereby provide them with the tools to lead economically productive lives that are to the advantage of everyone in the EU. Strengthening the EU as an area of strong fundamental rights protection will ensure that the EU continues to remain an attractive region for high skilled workers as well as for essential services, and a space of freedom, security and justice for all.
- Monday, 10 November, Chamber of Deputies
- Tuesday, 11 November, The Interior Ministry School of Administration
|12.30 – 14.00||
Registration and welcome coffee
Entrance: Via Campo Marzio 78, Aula dei Gruppi, Palazzo Montecitorio, Chamber of Deputies
|14.00 – 14.30||
|14.30 - 15.00||
|15.00 – 15.30||
|15.30 – 16.15||
Ensuring the rights of migrants in the EU: from vulnerability to empowerment
|16.15 - 17.45||
Towards a fundamental rights-based approach to migration and integration: from arrival to inclusion
A discussion on the fundamental rights challenges in the area of migration, from arrival to inclusion in the societies of the EU. How can a fundamental rights based approach to migration contribute to the EU’s future? The panel will also address EU and Member States’ responses to migration and migrant integration policies: how to ensure that such policies are fundamental rights-compliant and compatible with the vision for a cohesive EU society oriented to inclusive growth?
Shuttle to venue of day II
|08.30 – 09.00||
Reception (late comers only)
Scuola Superiore dell’Amministrazione dell’Interno (S.S.A.I)
|09.00 – 10.00||
Fundamental rights challenges and considerations in the field of migration, border management, asylum and migrant integration
A discussion on key fundamental rights challenges and considerations that need to be taken into account in the field of migration, asylum, border management and migrant integration, when implementing the Strategic Guidelines for legislative and policy planning in the area of freedom, security and justice.
Introduction to the panel debate by: William Lacy Swing, Director General, International Organisation for Migration (IOM)
|10.00 – 10.30||
|10.30 - 11.00||
Özlem Sara Cekic, Member of Parliament, Danish Socialist People's Party
Peter Bossman, Mayor of the town of Piran, Slovenia
|11.00 - 13.00||
Working groups (in parallel)
Chaired by: Giovanni Pinto, Director of the Central Unit for Immigration and Border Police Management, Public Security Department, Frontex Management Board, Italy
The discussion will focus on border control and the surveillance of sea as well as land borders, and particularly on cooperation with third countries. The Task Force Mediterranean includes cooperation with third countries as one of the most effective ways to tackle irregular migration. Building upon FRA’s work, the discussions will seek to offer guidance on ensuring that fundamental rights are upheld in joint activities with third countries in the context of land as well as sea border surveillance. The discussions will also address the fundamental rights challenges emerging immediately upon arrival, such as reception conditions, use of detention, ensuring needs of children, identification of survivors of torture and suspected victims of trafficking, and fair screening processes.
Chaired by: Tineke Strik, Member of Dutch Senate, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE)
Due to limited possibilities to enter the EU legally migrants and persons seeking protection often fall prey to criminal organisations that abuse and exploit them in return for promises to transport them into the EU. How to fight smuggling will be discussed from a law enforcement, fundamental rights, as well as law of the sea perspective. Topics will also include ways of ensuring that rescue and provision of humanitarian assistance are excluded from punishment for smuggling of human beings, using the findings and analysis of FRA’s paper Criminalisation of migrants in an irregular situation and of persons engaging with them. Large numbers of smuggled people and irregular arrivals have given rise to calls for EU solidarity, relocation and exploring legal ways to access Europe. The workshop will therefore also discuss resettlement and possible protected entry mechanisms. Limited resettlement opportunities challenge the capacity of regional protection programmes, but resettlement and protected entry are integral parts of any refugee policy.
Chaired by: Margaret Tuite, Coordinator for the Rights of the Child , Fundamental Rights and rights of the child, European Commission
Children migrate from their country of origin to and within the territory of the EU in search of survival, security, improved standards of living, education, economic opportunities, protection from exploitation and abuse, family reunification or a combination of these factors. They may travel with their family or independently or with non-family members. They may be seeking asylum, be victims of trafficking, or be undocumented migrants. The status of children on the move may differ at various stages on their journey and they may encounter many differing situations of vulnerability. The workshop will address how to fully reflect child protection standards in border procedures, such as identification of needs, screening procedures, reception conditions, detention practices, referrals to child protection authorities and appointment of a guardian and it will also look at responsibility for unaccompanied children in transnational co-operation. The discussions will take place against the backdrop of preparatory work for the forthcoming Commission’s Communication on integrated child protection systems and the FRA handbook on Guardianship for Child Victims of Trafficking. The workshop will take account of lessons learnt from recent EU-funded projects.
Chaired by: Prof. Han Entzinger, FRA Scientific Committee
Human rights constitute the foundation of the EU and need to be clearly linked to migrant integration policies. 10 years after the EU’s Common Basic Principles for Migrant Integration came into effect, this workshop will discuss how integration of migrants can be taken forward from a fundamental rights perspective. The discussion will look therefore into strategies of social inclusion and migrant integration in the EU and its Member States towards the targets of the EU 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth in light of fundamental rights’ standards. The overall aim will be to find feasible ways to assess, support and promote national migrant integration policies in this direction, boosting both the economies as well as social cohesion in the EU.Victimisation of migrants by hate crime and discrimination – and the fuelling of intergroup tensions and extremism - is closely related to xenophobia and intolerance expressed in the public arena. Therefore, combat-ing hate crime and intolerance in the public sphere is crucial for promoting inclusive and cohesive societies to the benefit of all residents. The workshop will discuss counteractive measures and strategies especially from a local, regional and national perspective.
Chaired by: Marco de Giorgi, Director, Ufficio Nazionale Antidiscriminazioni Razziali (UNAR), Italy
For the EU to develop both politically and economically, it is vital that we are in a position to build democratic, inclusive and pluralist societies. Granting and full enjoyment of rights on the basis of commonly shared political and democratic values is a major integration policy objective and challenge, as well as a precondition for cohesive and inclusive societies that allow everybody to develop their full human potential to the benefit of all.
This working group aims to propose concrete policies and solutions to shift the often negative narrative about migration and bring about a change in the public discourse in the EU. In particular, it will discuss policies of granting and promoting rights of participation at local and national level that may tangibly contribute to inclusive and vibrant democracies to the advantage of both migrants and the countries receiving them. Experiences and views will be shared regarding challenging myths and misinformation, and eradicating misperceptions of the public, supporting the creation of societies in which everyone in the EU can live together in diversity.
Presentation of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights reports on the fundamental rights situation at the EU’s air and land borders
Reporting back from working groups
Angelino Alfano, Minister of Interior, Italy (tbc)
EU Commissioner for Justice, Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship (tbc)
Maija Sakslin, FRA Management Board Chair
Key speakers include:
- Laura Boldrini, President of the Chamber of Deputies, Italy
- Federica Mogherini, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Italy
- Aydan Özoguz, Commissioner for Immigration, Refugees and Integration, Germany
- Nils Muižnieks, Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe
- Matthias Ruete, Director General Home Affairs, European Commission
and many other high level policy makers, experts and practitioners.
Due to the limited capacity of the venue, participation is upon invitation only.
Participants were selected to represent the broadest possible range of fundamental rights concerns as well as geographical variety.
For more information about the conference please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Every year the Fundamental Rights Conference brings together the key fundamental rights actors in the EU to examine a specific fundamental rights issue, stimulating the debate on challenges that exist and exploring solutions on how these could be overcome.
Combating hate crime in the EU
Evidence collected by FRA and other organisations shows that hate crime is a daily reality throughout the EU. This was the theme of the 2013 Fundamental Rights Conference, organised by FRA and hosted in cooperation with the Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of the EU.
Justice in austerity
Budget cuts in the wake of the current economic crisis should not affect a person’s legal entitlement and right to access justice. This was the theme of the 2012 Fundamental Rights Conference, organised by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) and held at the European Parliament in Brussels.
Dignity and rights of irregular migrants
The conference was organised in cooperation with the Polish Presidency of the Council of the European Union and discussed how to improve access to fundamental rights for migrants in an irregular situation, namely of those persons without authorisation to stay in the EU. The discussions were drawing on FRA’s EU-wide research on the situation of migrants in an irregular situation, which was published in the run-up to the conference. The conference discussions underlined the importance of applying a fundamental rights approach in migration management and offered a number of practical suggestions to facilitate access to justice, respect the right to education and health, preserve the best interests of the child, combat labour exploitation, reduce the use of immigration detention, and end situations of legal limbo for persons who are not removed.en] [fr] (pdf)
Ensuring justice and protection for all children
The previous FRC, held in Brussels on 7 -8 December 2010, stimulated the debate on challenges and strategies to protect particularly vulnerable children and deliver child-friendly justice in the European Union.
The emphasis during this conference was on exploring avenues for Member State authorities to better protect vulnerable children by following an integrated approach to child protection and involving civil society and children themselves.
Fundamental Rights Conference 2009
Making rights a reality for all
Making rights a reality for all was the theme of the FRC 2009 which was held in cooperation with the Swedish Presidency of the EU in Stockholm on 10-11 December 2009.
The focus was on identifying solutions to protect and promote the rights of marginalised groups which are most vulnerable to discrimination and exclusion in the EU.
Fundamental Rights Conference 2008
Freedom of expression, a cornerstone of democracy - listening and communicating in a diverse Europe
The Fundamental Rights Agency launched its Fundamental Rights Conference in Paris on 8-9 December 2008.
The event examined key issues and challenges related to freedom of expression. Entitled "Freedom of expression, a cornerstone of democracy - listening and communicating in a diverse Europe", the conference aimed to contribute to policy and action within the European Union and to help shape the evolving space for communication among Europeans.
2008 Programme [en] (pdf)