The 2018 European Migration Forum, organised jointly by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and the Commission, had as its main theme the challenges and opportunities involved in integrating migrants into the EU's labour market. It brought together more than 120 civil society organisations as well as representatives from local and national governments and EU institutions.
Opening the forum, the Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos, said: "It is now time to go beyond the "crisis discourse" about migration that we hear every day, and to focus instead on how to turn migration into a real opportunity, for all of us."
In his opening speech, EESC president Georges Dassis stressed that welcoming refugees was not only a moral imperative, but also a legal obligation to which each country had committed as a member of the EU, and argued that Member States needed to be held accountable. On the other hand, migrants also needed to respect the EU's model on issues such as gender equality.
"With the help of available funds, such as the ESIF and AMIF, measures can be implemented to solve problems and promote employment opportunities for migrants", said Mr Dassis.
The discussions held during the forum touched upon many aspects of the process of incorporating migrants into the labour market, such as the need to promote regular employment and decent work, prevent exploitation and tackle discrimination, and the importance of skills validation. (ll)