Migration and asylum have been a key political and social issue in European societies for decades. However, since 2015, with the arrival of refugees escaping conflict in Syria, alongside the waves of refugees and migrants from Africa, migration and asylum have become an even more politicised and polarising issue across Europe. The election of a new European Parliament in May 2019, along with the establishment of the new Commission, could potentially create opportunities to reverse the trend of contention that threatens the very cohesion of the European Union.
We should thus take the opportunity of a new political term to set out a policy agenda aimed at overcoming divisive rhetoric and policies on migration and asylum. A new agenda which, founded on European liberal democratic principles and human rights, reflects an evidence-based approach that recognises the potential for inclusive growth, entrepreneurship and innovation provided by new arrivals, rather than portraying their very existence as a ‘threat’.
Adopting this fresh perspective, the SIRIUS project, together with CEPS, wishes to open a dialogue among different actors that aims to move us beyond discussion and debate regarding ‘border management and security’ to a position at the intersection of integration, entrepreneurship and innovation. Moreover, we seek to develop this dialogue at a higher level of policymaking, in other words from a European viewpoint, rather than at the national level. Our approach is underpinned by an awareness that the challenges of migration and asylum are better addressed by a transnational vision. Hence, we invite policy makers, trade unions and business representatives, along with civil society, to meet, share experiences and visions, and discuss how a coordinated and best practice-based integration strategy could unleash the potential benefits of migrants and refugees for our societies and economies rather than their arrival being used as a tool for political division.
Registration and coffee from 9.30 - meeting from 10.00 to 13.00 - lunch from 13.00 to 14.00