A forward-looking and comprehensive European migration and asylum policy based on solidarity is a key objective for the European Union. Migration policy is intended to establish a balanced approach to dealing with both regular and irregular immigration.
Organised civil society plays a key role in providing European immigration policies with a social dimension and added value. Civil society also contributes, with its support for refugees and migrants, to more humane migration management and the successful integration of newcomers. The social inclusion of newcomers can only occur at the grassroots level, such as in workplaces, schools and organisations.
Migration issues are dealt with by the Section for Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship (SOC) or the Section for External Relations (REX). A permanent study group on immigration and integration (IMI) composed of 21 members operates under the auspices of the SOC section, organising events which focus on civil society's role in migration management and integration.
The SOC section also provides the secretariat for the European Migration Forum (EMF), which the EESC organises together with the European Commission. The EMF is a platform for dialogue between civil society and the European institutions on issues relating to migration, asylum and the integration of third-country nationals. It brings together, at least once a year, representatives of civil society organisations, local and regional authorities, Member States and EU institutions.