Vienna Migration Conference 2018

From Crisis Management to Future Governance

2018 is a decisive year for migration. At UN level, the Global Compacts for Migration and Refugees are being finalised and will be tabled for adoption. For the first time, there will be an agreement about ‘safe, orderly and regular migration’ at the global level.

At European level, moreover, the reform processes to overcome the so-called refugee crisis and to prepare the European Union for the future is far from being completed. Consensus exists on the reinforcement of external borders. However, the EU leaders struggle to find common ground regarding the reorganisation of the European asylum system. Public confidence in the ability of governments to effectively regulate and manage migration as a whole has weakened in the process.

Largely overshadowed by the debate on refugee protection linger other, potentially even larger challenges for Europe and its non-European partners. Demographic forecasts predict shrinking and aging populations in Europe and growing and ever younger populations in its neighbourhood and in Africa. Against the background of socio-economic developments and persisting economic imbalances the demand for migration will increase. Europe’s demand for skilled labour will grow and skills shortages will be felt more strongly in EU Member States. Non-European countries will need even greater support in creating economic opportunities for their young and growing populations. Both the EU and its partner countries have an interest in functioning policies that create regular channels for labour mobility, steer migration away from its irregular forms, and help put an end to the human tragedies that migration is currently associated with.

Solving the political crisis related to refugee protection and addressing European needs for skilled migration are at the core of the debate at the Vienna Migration Conference 2018. Moreover, it will take stock of the emerging policy architecture and will assess its potential to create ‘safe, orderly and regular migration’ at European level.