With more than 300 high-level participants, this year’s Fundamental Rights Conference was a timely occasion to discuss fundamental rights challenges in the area of asylum, border and migrant integration.
In the course of two days of speeches, panel debates and discussions, participants agreed on the need for a more holistic approach to migration and asylum policy in the European Union and its Member States, as stated in the Conference Conclusions.
Speakers and participants stressed throughout the conference that a positive narrative, underlining the benefits both to migrants themselves and to the countries hosting them, is urgently needed to counter the currently negative image of migrants and migration. A number of practical steps were identified to promote equal treatment, increase the political participation of migrants, and mainstream fundamental rights into integration and inclusion policies throughout the EU.
Key speakers at the conference included EU Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos, Speaker of the Italian Chamber of Deputies Laura Boldrini, German Minister of State, Commissioner for Immigration, Refugees and Integration, Aydan Özoğuz, Swedish Minister for Public Administration at the Ministry of Finance, Ardalan Shekarabi, MEP and Vice-Chair of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, Iliana Iotova, and FRA Director Morten Kjaerum.
The Conference Conclusions contain suggestions for measures relating to specific areas of migration, including border surveillance, combating smuggling, protection of children, and migrant integration. FRA will take forward many of the proposals made during the conference, for example in a new project that aims to develop tools such as fundamental rights indicators to examine the issue of social inclusion and democratic participation of migrants and their descendants in European societies.
Other FRA publications related to the topic of asylum, migration and borders are: