European Union, IOM Strengthen Strategic Dialogue on Global Migration Issues

International and Regional Cooperation

Belgium - European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica is today opening a high-level dialogue with IOM in Brussels to exchange views on current and future challenges in the field of migration.  

IOM Director General William Lacy Swing and Deputy Director General Laura Thompson are taking part in the annual strategic meeting, together with other senior European Commission (EC) officials and representatives of the European External Action Service. Officials from IOM’s Geneva HQ and European Regional Office in Brussels are also attending.  

The EC Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR) will also formally join the EU-IOM Strategic Cooperation Framework today through an exchange of letters in a further sign of the critical importance migration holds in Europe and neighbouring regions.

The Framework was established in July 2012 to enhance collaboration on migration, development, humanitarian response and human rights issues with three European Commission services (DG HOME, DG DEVCO, DG ECHO) and the European External Action Service (EEAS).

It 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.

This year’s EU-IOM meeting takes place at a time where the migration challenges facing Europe and the world have grown both in scale and complexity.

The EU and its Member States, as well as international partners, have been called upon to respond simultaneously to the consequences of increasing human mobility, multiple complex emergencies, and persistent economic challenges. Demographic decline, a changing climate, and a dangerous, migration-adverse political climate define the current situation.

“Migration is and for the foreseeable future will remain a dominant feature of Europe’s political, social and economic landscape. Arrivals to Europe will continue, as the drivers of forced migration have not changed.  The response to immediate needs is making a difference for thousands of migrants and refugees, and steps are being made to address deeper and longer-term issues in a balanced way,” said IOM Director General Swing.

“I am convinced the EU and its 28 Member States acting together can turn the current migrant challenge into the achievement of a common, comprehensive, long-term EU migration and asylum policy,” he added.

The EU has stated that intensified efforts will be needed to ensure a full implementation of the European Agenda on Migration, both in its internal and external dimension.

The fact that migration is now included in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, where it is recognised as a potential positive force for development, is an important step forward.

The overall objective of today’s meeting (formally known as a 'Senior Officials Meeting') is to explore ways to strengthen international efforts to implement the political commitments adopted at the Valletta Summit in November 2015, the Western Balkans Conference and in the Turkey Action Plan.

Discussions will focus on pressing topics of common concern for the EU and the IOM including facilitating legal avenues for migration, voluntary returns and reintegration, and strengthening the evidence base to inform policy on migration and displacement.

This will be the third Senior Officials Meeting held within the EU-IOM Strategic Cooperation Framework.

For further information please contact Anna Eva Radicetti at IOM’s Regional Office in Brussels, Tel: +32 2 287 71 10, Email:

IOM and European Commission officials meet in Brussels to discuss migration challenges.