Fundamental Rights Conference 2014 focuses on migration

The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) is dedicating its annual flagship event, the Fundamental Rights Conference (FRC), to discussing the importance of a fundamental rights-based approach to EU migration policy.

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.

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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 center 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.

Follow the event on twitter using hashtag #FRCmigration:

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Background FRC 2014

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.



Programme FRC 2014

Monday, 10 November, Chamber of Deputies

Time Description
12.30 – 14.00

Registration and welcome coffee

Entrance: Via Campo Marzio 78, Nuova Aula dei Gruppi Parlamentari, Palazzo Montecitorio, and Chamber of Deputies

14.00 – 14.30


  • Laura Boldrini, President of the Chamber of Deputies, Italy
  • Morten Kjaerum, Director, FRA
14.30 - 15.00

Keynote address

  • Benedetto Della Vedova, Senator, Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Italy
  • Dimitris Avramopoulos, EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship
  • Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (video message)
15.00 – 16.00

Ensuring the rights of migrants in the EU: from vulnerability to empowerment

Presentations by:

  • Nils Muižnieks, Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe
  • Aydan Özoguz, Minister of State, Commissioner for Immigration, Refugees and Integration, Germany
  • Ardalan Shekarabi, Minister for Public Administration, Ministry of Finance, Sweden
16.00 – 16.30

Coffee break

16.30 - 18.00

Panel debate: Towards a fundamental rights-based approach to migration and integration: from arrival to inclusion

Introduction to the panel debate by Rainer Münz, Head, Research and Knowledge Center, Erste Group Bank


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?

Chaired by: Sandra Sarti, Prefect, Vice-Chief of Cabinet, Ministry of Interior, Italy


  • Iliana Iotova, Vice-Chair of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, European Parliament
  • Nicola Annecchino, Legal Adviser to the Director-General, DG HOME, European Commission
  • Giuseppe Iuliano, Vice President of the External Relations Section, European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)
  • Raphaël Sodini, Councillor for immigration and asylum, Cabinet of the Minister of the Interior, France

Shuttle to venue of day II



Tuesday, 11 November, The Interior Ministry School of Administration

Time Description
08.30 – 09.00

Reception (late comers only)

Scuola Superiore dell’Amministrazione dell’Interno (S.S.A.I)
Via Veientana, 386 – 00189 Roma

09.00 – 10.30

Panel debate

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.

Welcome address by Mario Morcone, Prefect, Chief of the Department of Civil Liberties and Immigration, Ministry of Interior, Italy

Introduction to the panel debate by: William Lacy Swing, Director General, International Organisation for Migration (IOM)


  • Eva Åkerman Börje, Swedish Ambassador for Global Cooperation on Migration and Development
  • Nicolas Beger, Director, Amnesty International European Institutions Office
  • Vincent Cochetel, Director, Bureau for Europe, UNHCR
  • François Crépeau, UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants (video message)
  • Samuel Azzopardi, Mayor of Victoria, Gozo, Commission for Citizenship, Governance, Institutional and External Affairs (Civex), Committee of the Regions
10.30 - 11.00

Testimonies from:

  • Özlem Sara Cekic, Member of Parliament, Danish Socialist People's Party
11.00 - 13.00

Working groups (in parallel)

The working groups conclusions

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 cooperation with border management authorities of third countries, as well as border surveillance activities at the EU’s land and sea borders. The Task Force Mediterranean lists cooperation with third countries as one of the most effective ways to tackle irregular migration.

Building upon FRA’s previous work, the working group will discuss means of ensuring that fundamental rights are upheld in joint operational activities with third countries in the context of land and sea border surveillance. The working group will also address the fundamental rights challenges emerging in the context of information exchange with third countries under Eurosur, the use of EU funds by third countries, and the difficulties of ensuring adherence to the principles of non-refoulement and prohibition of collective expulsion.


  • Charmaine Hili, Policy advisor, Unit order management and Schengen governance/relations with Frontex, DG HOME, European Commission
  • Inmaculada Arnaez Fernandez, Fundamental Rights Officer, FRONTEX
  • Francesa Fritz-Pruguda, Representative in Spain, UNHCR

      Working group I - Background information



Chaired by: Tineke Strik, Member of Migration Committee, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE)


Due to the limited possibilities of entering the EU legally, migrants and people seeking protection often fall prey to criminal organisations that abuse and exploit them in return for promises to transport them into the EU. The working group will discuss means of combating smuggling from a law enforcement, fundamental rights, and law of the sea perspective. Using the findings and analysis of FRA’s paper Criminalisation of migrants in an irregular situation and of persons engaging with them, the working group will also debate ways of ensuring that rescue and provision of humani-tarian assistance are excluded from punishment. The 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.


  • Kris Pollet, Senior Legal and Policy Officer, ECRE
  • Simona Ardovino, Policy Officer, Immigration and Integration Unit, DG HOME, European Commission
  • Morgane Nicot, Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Officer, UNODC
  • David Hammond, Founder HRAS & Barrister-at-Law, Human Rights at Sea
  • Thomas Spijkerboer, Professor of Migration Law, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Working group II - Background information


Chaired by: Margaret Tuite, Coordinator for the Rights of the Child, DG JUST, European Commission


Children leave their country of origin for the EU or move within the EU for reasons 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, with non-family members, or entirely on their own. They may be seeking asylum, have become 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 find themselves in many differing situations of vulnerability.

This workshop will discuss ways of adequately reflecting international child protection standards in border procedures, particularly with regard to identification and immediate referral and temporary representation arrangements. The discussion will also address challenges related to reception and detention practices, ‘best interest’ considerations within transfer and return procedures, as well as issues related to transnational cooperation between national authorities in this regard. The workshop takes place against the backdrop of preparatory work for the forthcoming European Commission Communication on integrated child protection systems, and will build on FRA’s handbook on Guardianship for Child Victims of Trafficking and selected findings from FRA’s work on border crossing points.


  • Verena Knaus, Senior Policy Advisor, Brussels Office, UNICEF
  • Petros Stagkos, Vice-President of the European Committee of Social Rights, Council of Europe
  • Delphine Moralis, Secretary General, Missing Children Europe
  • François Bienfait, Head of the Centre for Training, Quality and Expertise, EASO
  • Jan Jařab, Regional Representative for Europe Office, OHCHR 

Working group III - Background information


Chaired by: Han Entzinger, Professor of Migration and Integration Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam, FRA Sci-entific Committee


The ultimate objective of policies aiming at the social inclusion and integration of migrants is full social participation, irrespective of ethnic, racial, national or any other identification or background. In order to ensure that everyone can fully enjoy all fundamental rights, we need to promote effective rights safeguards in the development, implementa-tion and assessment of EU policies in the field of migrant integration.

This workshop will discuss concrete and practical steps needed to bring the fundamental rights perspective to the fore in integration policy. The discussion will examine the policies of social inclusion and migrant integration in the EU that work towards the targets of the EU 2020 Strategy for Smart, Sustainable and Inclusive Growth in the light of fun-damental rights standards. The working group will suggest feasible ways to assess, monitor, support and promote na-tional migrant integration policies on a timely and consistent basis that are guided by fundamental rights, boosting the EU’s economies as well as social cohesion.


  • Chiara Adamo, Head of Unit, Fundamental Rights and Rights of the Child, DG JUST, European Commission
  • Pedro Lomba, Secretary of State Assistant to the Minister in the Cabinet of the Prime Minister and for Regional Development, Portugal
  • Elizabeth Collett, Director, Migration Policy Institute Europe
  • Claire Courteille, Director, ILO-Brussels
  • Walter Kindermann, General Director for Integration Affairs, Hessian Ministry for Social Affairs and Integration
  • Thomas Huddleston, Central Research Coordinator of the Migrant Integration Policy Index (MIPEX),
    Migration Policy Group
  • Christine Nanlohy, Policy adviser , European Network of Migrant Women

Working group IV - Background information


Chaired by: Marco de Giorgi, Director General, UNAR, Italy


Equal treatment irrespective of ethnic, racial, national or any other identification or background and equitable partic-ipation in social and political life are important aspects of migrant integration in the EU. However, the implementation of such policies faces considerable challenges because of negative stereotypes and misperceptions about migrants and diversity.

This workshop will explore ways of building more inclusive societies that will encourage and benefit from the partici-pation of everyone living in them. In this context, participants will discuss how to increase the participation of third-country nationals and their descendants in social and political life, especially at the local level. The workshop will also debate means of addressing negative stereotypes about migration and asylum, as well as how to foster the integration of younger generations with migrant descent in order that they can develop diverse and multicultural identities.


  • Juan Gonzalez Mellizo, Team Leader, Non-discrimination policies and Roma coordination, DG JUST, European Commission
  • Nikos Sitaropoulos, Deputy to the Director and Head of Division, Office of the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights
  • Matteo Lepore, Vice-President, ECCAR, Bologna 
  • Jean-Paul Makengo, Regional Counsellor, Region Midi-Pyrénées, France
  • Anna Triandafyllidou, Professor, European University Institute
  • Viorica Nechifor, President, Associazione Nazionale Stampa Interculturale (ANSI)
  • Anna Ludwinek, Research Manager, Living Conditions and Quality of Life Unit, Eurofound

Working group V - Background information


13.00-14.00 Lunch

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

16.00-16.30 Coffee break


  • Angelino Alfano, Minister of the Interior, Italy
  • Maija Sakslin, Chairperson of the FRA’s Management Board



Watch recording
Key speakers

Key speakers

In order of appearance

Laura Boldrini
Laura Boldrini was elected President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies in March 2013, after being elected to the Chamber of Deputies for the first time in February 2013. In 1989 she began her career in the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and has also worked for the World Food Programme and as spokesperson of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. She obtained a degree in law at La Sapienza University in Rome. Laura Boldrini has received numerous awards and honours, including the official medal of the National Commission on Equal Opportunities and the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic.
Morten Kjaerum
Morten Kjaerum has served as Director of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights since June 2008. Before joining FRA, Mr Kjaerum was the founding Director of the Danish Institute for Human Rights. With over 17 years in top executive roles, Mr Kjaerum built the Institute, Denmark’s national human rights institution, into an internationally-recognised body. An expert in human rights implementation, Mr Kjaerum has been a member of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the President of the International Coordination Committee for National Human Rights Institutions. Mr Kaerum has written extensively on issues relating to human rights, in particular on refugee law, the prohibition of racial discrimination, and the role of national human rights institutions.
Benedetto della Vedova

Benedetto della Vedova is Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He was a member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies from 2006 until 2013, and has been a member of the Italian Senate since 2013. Mr. della Vedova was a Member of European Parliament from 1999 until 2004.  He started his career as a researcher at IEFE Bocconi and IRER from 1987 until 1996, and was then assistant professor for Economics and Agricultural Policies at the Università Cattolica between the years 1990 and 1995.

Dimitris Avramopoulos

Dimitris Avramopoulos is the new EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship. He was previously the Greek Minister of National Defence. He was also the Mayor of Athens for eight years, and has served in a number of cabinet posts, including Minister for Foreign Affairs. He has also been the Official Spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Consul General of Greece to Geneva and the Director of the Greek Prime Minister’s Diplomatic Office.

Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al Hussein
Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al Hussein became the current UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in September 2014. Previously, he was Jordan's Permanent Representative to the UN, a post he held from 2010 until 2014 and from 2000 to 2007. From 2007 to 2010 he was Jordan’s Ambassador to the United States of America. His professional experience includes international criminal justice, international law, UN peacekeeping, post-conflict peace-building, international development, and counter-nuclear terrorism in addition to his other diplomatic assignments.  
Nils Muižnieks
Nils Muižnieks has been the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights since April 2012. He has worked in the field of human rights for the past two decades, including as Director of the Advanced Social and Political Research Institute at the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Latvia, Chairman of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance, Latvian minister responsible for social integration, anti-discrimination, minority rights, and civil society development, and Director of the Latvian Centre for Human Rights and Ethnic Studies. He has published extensively on racism, discrimination and minority rights.
Aydan Özoğuz
Aydan Özoğuz has been the German Minister of State and the Federal Government Commissioner for Migration, Refugees and Integration since December 2013. Ms Özoğuz has served as the Deputy Chair of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) since 2011. She was first elected as a member of the German Bundestag in 2009, having become a member of the SPD in 2004. From 2001 to 2008, she was a member of the Hamburg state parliament. She received a Magistra Atrium for her studies in Spanish language and literature, English studies, and human resources management.
Ardalan Shekarabi
Ardalan Shekarabi is the Swedish Minister for Public Administration. Prior to being appointed Minister in the Swedish government Mr Shekarabi represented the Social Democratic Party in the Swedish Parliament. He holds an LL.M. degree from the University of Uppsala, where he also performed Research Studies in the field of Public Law. He was born in Manchester in 1978 and he is married with two children.
Rainer Münz
Rainer Münz is Head of Research & Knowledge Center at Erste Group Non-resident Fellow of the Migration Policy Institute, Washington DC, and Senior Fellow at the Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI). He has worked as consultant for the European Commission, the OECD and the World Bank. He served as an advisor to the Greek, Dutch and Slovenian presidencies of the Council of the EU. In 2000-01 he was member of the German commission on immigration reform. Rainer Münz is member of several boards and advisory boards, including the Brussels Institute for European and Global Economic Affairs (Bruegel, Brussels), Center for Migration, Integration and Citizenship at Oxford University (COMPAS, Oxford, UK), and the International Organization for Migration (IOM, Geneva)
Iliana Iotova
Iliana Iotova has been a Member of the European Parliament since June 2007, after being elected at the first European elections in Bulgaria after its accession to the EU. For the last seven years she has been a substitute member in the committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, where she has now become Vice-Chair. She has also served on the Employment and Social Affairs, Women's Rights and Gender Equality Committees and she has been Vice-Chair in the special committee on Organised Crime, Corruption and Money Laundering. In recent years, Iliana Iotova has worked actively in the field of asylum, migration and fundamental rights.
Nicola Annecchino

Nicola Annecchino, is Legal Adviser to the Director-General of DG HOME at the European Commission. From 2010 to 2012, he was Head of the Coordination and Planning, Interinstitutional relations, Communication Unit in DG HOME. From 2005 to 2010, he headed a Strategic Policy, Evaluation and Interinstitutional Relations Unit and before that an Immigration and Asylum Unit from 2005 to 2007. Prior to that he worked in the office of the Advocate General at the European Court of Justice from 1989 to 1992. Before joining the European Commission, Mr Annecchino lectured in International and Community Law at the Faculty of Law from 1985 to 1986. He holds a master’s degree in law (cum laude) from the University of Naples.

Luigi Manconi
Luigi Manconi is a Member of the Italian Senate, where he chairs the Commission for the Protection of Human Rights. He was a Member of the National Parliament from 1994 to 2001 and Under-Secretary of State for Justice from 2006 to 2008. He performed the role of Guarantor for the protection of rights of people deprived of liberty at the Municipality of Rome from 2003 to 2006. Among his recent publications are ‘Let’s welcome them all’. ‘A reasonable proposal to save Italy, Italians and immigrants’ (with Valentina Brinis) and ‘When they opened the cell’ (with Valentina Calderone), both published by ‘Il Saggiatore’. Luigi Manconi teaches Sociology of Political Phenomena at the IULM University in Milan.
Giuseppe Iuliano
Giuseppe Iuliano is Vice President of the External Relations Section of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC). He has been the Italian member of the EESC since 2006. He is a Member of the EESC Integration Forum and General Rapporteur on European Migration policies. He graduated in International Law and Journalism. He is responsible for the area of international politics at the Italian Confederation of Workers' Unions (CISL).
Raphaël Sodini

Raphaël Sodini, has been Councillor for immigration and asylum in the Cabinet of the French Ministers of the Interior since 2012. He has served as Head of Department for family benefits and housing assistance in the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and as councillor of the Administrative Court of Paris from 2010 to 2012. In 2005, Mr Sodini became inspector in charge of the emergency homeless housing facility and asylum seekers Directorate of the ‘Hauts-de-Seine’ area of France, where he was also in charge of inspecting governmental initiatives for foreigners, youth, children and family from 2002 to 2006. Since2010, he is lecturer in public law at the Institute of Political Studies (IEP) and the Institute of Public Management and Economic Development. He is the author of the book ‘The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights’. 

Mario Morcone
Mario Morcone is the Head of the Civil Liberties and Immigration Department at the Italian Ministry of the Interior, a post he also held from 2006 to 2010. In 1999, he was Deputy for Civil Administration in Kosovo and UN administrator in the Region and City of Mitrovica. He was also General Director of the Civil Administration at the Ministry of Interior, Head of the Department of Fire Fighters, Public Rescue and Civil Defence, Special Commissioner for the temporary management of the Municipality of Rome, as well as Director of the National Agency for the administration and destination of goods seized and confiscated from organised crime. From 2012 to 2013, he was Head of Cabinet of the Ministry of the International Cooperation and Integration.
William Lacy Swing
William Lacy Swing is on his second five-year term as Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), after being re-elected in June 2013 by IOM’s governing body. From 2003 till 2008, as UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ambassador Swing led all facets of the largest UN peacekeeping operation in history. Prior to his work in the DRC, Ambassador Swing served from 2001 to 2003 as the Special Representative to the Secretary-General for Western Sahara and Chief of Mission for the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO). During his diplomatic career at the US Department of State, Mr  Swing was ambassador six times. Through his diplomatic assignments, he has acquired a deep understanding of the multiple factors affecting international migration.
Eva Åkerman Börje
Eva Åkerman Börje is an Ambassador at the Secretariat for the Swedish Chairmanship of the Global Forum on Migration and Development. She has been Director of the Migration and Asylum Policy Department at Sweden’s Justice Ministry, working on migration and development, global cooperation on migration issues and the external dimension of the EU’s migration policy. She has also worked at the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the European Commission and the EFTA Secretariat.
Nicolas Beger

Nicolas Beger is the director of the Amnesty International European Institutions Office, which specialises in EU human rights policy inside the EU and globally, the Council of Europe, regional campaigning, research and media as well as organisational development. He was previously director of the European Peacebuilding Liaison Office (EPLO), working in the area of EU conflict prevention and peacebuilding policies. Nicolas has a background in anti-discrimination policy, conflict prevention, and gender policy, as well as professional training and mediation qualifications. He is a long-standing LGBT activist with a specialisation in transgender issues.

Vincent Cochetel
Vincent Cochetel has served as Director of the Bureau for Europe at the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) since March 2013. He was previously UNHCR Regional Representative for the Unites States and the Caribbean from 2010 and 2013. Vincent Cochetel joined UNHCR in 1986, initially managing field offices in Central Europe, Eastern Europe and the Middle East as well as participating in several emergency missions in Asia, West Africa, and Europe (North Caucasus). Before joining UNHCR, Mr Cochetel worked together with the European Commission and with the European Court of Human Rights.
François Crépeau
François Crépeau is United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants since 2011. The focus of his current research includes migration control mechanisms, the rights of foreigners, the interface between security and migration, and the interface between the Rule of Law and globalization. He holds the Hans and Tamar Oppenheimer Chair in Public International Law and is scientific director of the Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism, at the Faculty of Law of McGill University.
Samuel Azzopardi
Samuel Azzopardi has served as Mayor of Victoria, the capital city of Gozo in the Republic of Malta since June 2009, and as President of the Gozo Region since 2010. He is a member of the Committee of the Regions (COR) and participates in its CIVEX and COTER Commissions. He was rapporteur of a COR opinion on EU Financial Instruments in Home Affairs (2012). This opinion dealt with the legislative proposals concerning the Asylum and Migration Fund and the Internal Security Fund as the first funding generation since the Lisbon Treaty came into force, integrating all aspects of Home Affairs funding under the community method. Samuel Azzopardi is active in promoting human rights, especially in relation to migration policy. 
Özlem Cekic
Özlem Cekic is a Danish politician and has been a Member of Parliament for the Socialist People’s Party since 2007. She is one of the first female MPs with an immigrant background in Denmark. Before pursuing a political career, she worked as a trained psychiatric nurse. Currently Ms Cekic is the party’s political spokeswoman on health, psychiatry, media and gender equality. Known for her opposition to discrimination against ethnic minorities, she is active in public debates about integration and ethnic equality. Her first book was about her own life, from her birth in Turkey until she became Member of Parliament. Ms Cekic received the friendship award of the organisation SOS against Racism in 2007.
Angelino Alfano
Angelino Alfano is the Italian Minister of the Interior since April 2013 and Member of the Council of the European Union for the Justice and Home Affairs sector. In 2013 he founded the New Centre-Right Party, becoming its leader. He was the Italian Minister of Justice from 2008 to 2011.  He represented Italy in numerous international meetings: chaired the G8/Justice summit in Rome (2009); participated in the Review Conference of the Statute of the International Criminal Court (CPI), held in Kampala (Uganda); represented the Italian position on ‘transnational organized crime’, addressing the General Assembly of the United Nations. In 1996 he was first elected to the Regional Assembly of his native Sicily and in 2001 he was elected to the national Chamber of Deputies. Since 1989 he has been working as journalist for numerous national and regional newspapers. He is a lawyer obtained a law degree from Milan's Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore and a doctorate in corporate law from the University of Palermo.
Maija Sakslin
Maija Sakslin is the Chairperson of FRA’s Management Board and Finland’s Deputy Parliamentary Ombudsman. She is a specialist on constitutional and EU law, with particular expertise in fundamental social rights and social security coordination in the EU. Previously, Maija Sakslin was a researcher at the Social Insurance Institution in Finland and at the Institution of International Economic Law at the University of Helsinki. She participated in a number of working groups and committees reforming the Finnish constitution. She also took part in various EU research projects, among them the Observatory for Migrant workers and Training and reporting on social security coordination (trESS).


Sandra Sarti
Sandra Sarti has been the Deputy Head of Cabinet of the Italian Ministry of the Interior since August 2013. She has worked in the Ministry of Interior since 1982 where she has held positions such as the Asylum Office Director, Italian Representative to the European Refugee Fund and Deputy Director of the Immigration and Asylum Central Civil Services. She holds a degree from La Sapienza, the University of Rome.
Friso Roscam Abbing
Friso Roscam Abbing has been the Head of the Communication Department at FRA since 2009. Prior to this, he was a Member of Cabinet of the European Commission Vice-President Jacques Barrot, the Commissioner for Freedom, Security and Justice, where he was responsible for refugee policy, fundamental rights and citizenship issues. From 2004–2008, he was spokesman for European Commission Vice President Franco Frattini, the Commissioner responsible for Freedom, Security and Justice issues. He has a background in refugee policy issues, both from an intergovernmental and a non-governmental perspective. Between 2000 and 2004, he headed the EU Asylum Polices sector at the European Commission's DG Justice, Freedom and Security. From 1994 to 2000 he led the EU Office of the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE).


Practical info

Practical info

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.

Contact FRA

For more information about the conference please contact us at:


Practical information for participants cost covered by FRA

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Practical information for self –paying participants

[pdf]en (527.76 KB)
Past editions

Past editions

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.

Fundamental Rights Conference 2013

Fundamental Rights Conference 2013

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.

2012 Programme [en] [fr] (pdf)
Conclusions [en] (pdf)-->



Fundamental Rights Conference 2012

Fundamental Rights Conference 2012

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.

2012 Programme [en] [fr] (pdf)




Fundamental Rights Conference 2011

Fundamental Rights Conference 2011

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.

2011 Programme [en] [fr] [pl] (pdf)

Summary conclusions[en] [fr] (pdf)



Fundamental Rights Conference 2010

Fundamental Rights Conference 2010

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.

2010 Programme [en] [fr] (pdf)
2010 Final report [en] (pdf)

Fundamental Rights Conference 2009

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.

2009 Programme [en] (pdf)
2009 Final report [en] (pdf)


Fundamental Rights Conference 2008

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)