Eurodiaconia attended the 7th Annual Migration Forum in Brussels on October 20-21st hosted by the European Economic and Social Committee and the European Commission. The Forum’s theme this year was on youth inclusion and therefore several migrant youth organisations were in attendance and featured as speakers.

Participants from around the EU were in attendance, with many different civil society actors represented as well as participants of the European Commission, with the goal of facilitating a dialogue between civil society and the European Commission.

The event included speeches and a Q&A with Commissioner Johannson and EESC President Christa Schweng, where many questions focused on the double standard of treatment between refugees from Ukraine and refugees from other countries.

The event also included several workshops and breakout sessions which allowed participants to network and discuss common challenges and solutions.

Several themes emerged, including the necessity of participation of people, especially youth, with migration background in all levels of policymaking, implementation, and monitoring. Another theme that was discussed in a panel is the need to shift the narrative in migration towards emphasising the positive contributions of migrants and refugees in European society to counter rising anti-immigration rhetoric and xenophobia. With the continuation of Russia’s war against Ukraine and the ensuing refugee flows into Europe, as well as with Member States continued accommodation crisis of asylum seekers in Brussels and elsewhere, it is clear that there are many priorities for civil society to include in their advocacy for better asylum and migration policy.

We invite Eurodiaconia members to be involved in future meetings of the Migration Forum and look forward to partnering with the European Commission and other civil society actors to advocate for a more welcoming and inclusive Europe for all migrants and refugees.