A Critical Year for Unity in Defining Migration Policy Globally

EU and IOM senior officials meet to discuss cooperation on global migration issues. © IOM 2018

Brussels – Senior officials from the European Union (EU) and IOM, the UN Migration Agency, are meeting in Brussels today (04/04) to strengthen cooperation on some of the most pressing European, neighbourhood and global migration issues, including better protection of vulnerable migrants, the challenge of managing mixed migration flows, and the Global Compact on Migration.   

Ahead of the meeting, IOM Director General William Lacy Swing welcomed the continued strategic dialogue between IOM and the EU, particularly at a time when migration challenges and opportunities lead the political debate and are a fixture on global and European agendas. 

“This is an absolutely critical year for unity in defining migration policy globally. The issues at stake touch all of us, from vast regions, large and small countries, to the most vulnerable of migrants,” said Ambassador Swing. 

“We have a historic opportunity to build a system for human mobility where people can move safely, legally and voluntarily, in full respect of their human rights.  We particularly need to make headway in addressing the movement of the most vulnerable migrants with specific protection needs,” he added.

This year’s meeting – the fifth of its kind since the launch of the EU-IOM Strategic Cooperation Framework in 2012 – is being hosted by Christian Danielsson, Director General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement at the European Commission (DG NEAR). 

IOM Director General Swing and Deputy Director General Laura Thompson are taking part in the high-level dialogue together with other senior officials from the European Commission (DG DEVCO, DG ECHO, DG HOME and DG NEAR), and the European External Action Service (EEAS). 

The EU-IOM meeting takes place in the lead up to the landmark adoption of a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration in December.  Ambassador Swing underlined that the EU and its Member States have the expertise and experience to take a leading role in the negotiations for the Global Compact for Migration.

“We are optimistic that with EU leadership, we will reach an agreement that provides a unifying framework of common principles, commitments and understanding among Member States on all aspects of migration,” said Ambassador Swing. 

“We would like to see this grounded in existing international norms, focus on practical implementation, and include mechanisms for follow-up and review,” he added. 

Meeting participants will also discuss ongoing cooperation on forced displacement and development, and on return and reintegration. 

Background on the EU-IOM Strategic Cooperation Framework

The EU-IOM Strategic Cooperation Framework was established in July 2012 to enhance collaboration on migration, development, humanitarian response and human rights issues with three European Commission services (DG DEVCO, DG ECHO, DG HOME) and the European External Action Service (EEAS).  DG NEAR formally joined the Framework in February 2016.

The Cooperation Framework builds on a shared interest in bringing the benefits of well managed international migration to migrants and society. It also serves as a basis for the exchanges, development and structuring of the relationship between the EU and IOM.

Senior Officials Meetings are held to foster dialogue and cooperation at the highest level on key policy issues, best practices, as well as legislative and operational initiatives covering all aspects of migration, mobility and displacement.

In addition to the yearly Senior Officials Meeting, regular meetings are held between the EU and IOM among Heads of Unit/Division and technical experts.

Since the start of the cooperation, 15 meetings have taken place at all levels, involving over 300 EU and IOM staff.

For further information please contact Ryan Schroeder at IOM’s Regional Office for the EU, Tel: +32 2 287 71 16, Email: