Last week, the European Council published its New Strategic Agenda for 2019-2024. It will guide the work of the European Institutions in the next five years and provide a framework to respond to opportunities and challenges arising from a fast-changing global context. Among the others, the agenda focuses on two priorities relevant to Eurodiaconia’s work:

Protecting citizens and freedom

The agenda stresses freedom, security, and prosperity as common values underpinning European democratic and societal models. The document expresses the commitment to develop a comprehensive migration policy in cooperation with countries of origin and transit to fight illegal migration, human trafficking, and to ensure effective returns. Concerning the internal dimension of migration, the agenda stresses the need to agree on an effective migration and asylum policy, including a consensus on the reform of the Dublin Regulation based on a balance of responsibility and solidarity.

Developing a strong and vibrant economic base

For a European economy that works for all, the agenda promotes sustainable and inclusive growth and wishes to strengthen cohesion in the EU. This requires achieving the upward convergence of national economies, addressing the demographic challenges and investing in people’s skills and education.

Eurodiaconia particularly welcomes the European Council’s calls for asylum and migration policies based on solidarity. Regarding the internal dimension of migration, Eurodiaconia highlights that the EU and Member States should continue efforts to support the integration and inclusion of migrants and refugees who already reside in Europe. This includes access to social and health care services, long-term strategies to access education and employment, as well as target measures for vulnerable groups like children. Especially at the local level, many initiatives have been put in place with the involvement of civil society to meet the needs of newcomers and to create inclusive societies. They should be further promoted across the EU, as we have highlighted in our recent report on cooperation between local civil society and local authorities.

To access the full agenda please visit the European Council’s website.

To read about Eurodiaconia’s work on migration and integration, please consult our most recent report on fostering cooperation between NGOs and local authorities.