Stakeholders discuss integration of migrants and their contribution

by zoejardiniere

15.03.2013. The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), the Council of Europe (CoE) and the French Economic, Social and Environmental Council (CES) organised today a conference focused on immigrants’ contribution to European societies and economies as well as the moral obligation of Europe to respect their fundamental rights.

Participants discussed the threat that xenophobic discourses represent to societies as well as the opportunities that migration represents given the democratic trends and gaps in the supply of workers in some sectors across Europe.

Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muižnieks regretted that various groups and parties present migrants as a threat to public health and security and as adding to the suffering of Europeans hard-hit by the economic crisis

Claus Folden, Head of Operational Support at EASO, argued that Europe should use its obligation to provide protection to refugees as an opportunity to welcome productive new contributors to the growth of the European economies.

Michael Diedring, ECRE’s Secretary General, argued that the EU’s focus has been on migration control rather than refugee protection, citing the contrast in budgets of the border control mechanism, Frontex (nearly 90 million Euros) and that of the European Asylum Support Office (just over 10 million Euros). Diedring emphasized the vital role that NGOs will play in being ‘the eyes and ears’ at the national level monitoring implementation of EU legislation to ensure that States uphold their obligations to respect the rights of refugees and migrants.

For further information:

–         European Integration Forum, Statement on the contribution of migrants to economic growth in the EU, 20 February 2013.