Press Release

Migration to the EU: a key challenge for human rights

Hundreds of thousands of people are coming to Europe to seek safety from persecution and war, or simply in search of a better life. In order to guarantee respect for the rights of those arriving at the EU’s shores and ensure they can achieve their full potential to the benefit of themselves and EU society, an effective and sustainable migration policy is vital.

In acknowledgement of the urgency and complexity of this issue, the annual conference of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) is this year entitled Fundamental Rights and Migration to the EU. The conference will take place in Rome on 10-11 November and is co-hosted by the Italian Presidency of the Council of the EU.

In a time of war and instability in so many parts of the world, people are coming to Europe to seek protection,” said FRA Director Morten Kjaerum. “To do them justice, we have to put fundamental rights at the heart of a well-considered, long-term migration, asylum and border policy. This will also ensure that an aging Europe finds the skilled labour it increasingly lacks. Only in this way will we serve both those who need Europe’s help and at the same time European society.

This year’s Fundamental Rights Conference will debate key fundamental rights challenges in the area of migration, discussing means of alleviating the effects of the current migration pressures at the EU’s external 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 conference will include speeches from Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano, Italian Parliamentary Speaker Laura Boldrini, the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižnieks, and German Migration and Integration Minister Aydan Özoguz. In panel debates and working groups, the conference will go on to discuss specific fundamental rights issues related to migration and border control such as safeguards for children arriving at the EU’s borders, a fundamental rights-based approach to border surveillance, responses to smuggling, migrant integration from a fundamental rights perspective, and combating xenophobia and intolerance in public discourse.

Two new FRA reports related to the topic of migration will be at this year’s conference, describing the fundamental rights situation at the EU’s air and land borders respectively, following on from last year’s report 'Fundamental Rights at Europe’s southern sea borders': 

  • Fundamental rights at airports: border checks at five international airports in the European Union – a summary of the report is available already; 
  • Fundamental rights at land borders: findings from selected European Union border crossing points  .

 Other FRA publications related to the topic of asylum, migration and borders are:

For further information please contact: / Tel. +43 1 580 30 642

Notes to editors: 

  • FRA is mandated to provide evidence-based advice to EU and national decision makers, thereby contributing to more informed and better targeted debates and policies on fundamental rights.
  • FRA’s Fundamental Rights Conference will bring together over 250 policy makers and practitioners this year from the EU and its Member States, including them representatives from EU institutions and bodies, international organisations, national governments and parliaments, law enforcement agencies, civil society and academia.