IES hosted the meeting of the International Steering Committee of Metropolis International

On 27th of April, the IES hosted the meeting of the International Steering Committee of Metropolis International, a network of government officials, academics and ngo's working in the field of migration based in Ottawa. The Committee holds its meetings at six monthly intervals at locations around the world. The last time that it was held at IES Brussels was ten years ago. The main topic of discussion was the forthcoming international conference in the Hague from 18-20 September 2017 which amongst other things will feature  an appraisal of free movement of EU citizens in the light of the Brexit negotiations and the political climate in Europe. The conference is usually attended by between 500 and 1000 participants and is a major event on the migration policy calendar. Committee members also heard reports from around Europe and the world on how governments and the public view the migration situation in their respective countries.

It has become the practice in recent years to follow these meetings with a thematic policy seminar. Thus on April 28th the IES and the European Commission organised an invitation only round table seminar under Chatham House rules which took place at the Albert Borschette Conference Centre in Brussels. The theme was the forthcoming mid-term updating of the EU's "Agenda for Migration" originally published in 2015   covers four main issues which were the subject of an open and unattributed discussion. These are :

  1. Reducing the incentives for irregular migration: the focus is on addressing the root causes behind irregular migration in non-EU countries, dismantling smuggling and trafficking networks and defining actions for the better application of return policies.
  2. Saving lives and securing the external borders: this involves better management of the external border, in particular through solidarity towards those Member States that are located at the external borders, and improving the efficiency of border crossings.
  3. Strengthening the common asylum policy: with the increases in the flows of asylum seekers, the EU’s asylum policies need to be based on solidarity towards those needing international protection as well as among the EU Member States, whose full application of the common rules must be ensured through systematic monitoring. 
  4. Developing a new policy on legal migration: in view of the future demographic challenges the EU is facing, the new policy needs to focus on attracting workers that the EU economy needs, particularly by facilitating entry and the recognition of qualifications.

In addition to the relevant Commission officials, senior academic staff from IES took part together with colleagues from the Université Libre de Bruxelles, and the University of Kent in Brussels.