Vienna Migration Conference 2020

Schengen, asylum reform and Europe's migration diplomacy: Has COVID-19 changed everything?

The Vienna Migration Conference (VMC) 2020 takes place in a unique and dramatic year, also heralding the arrival of a new Commission with bold ideas for the future of European migration policy. But does the systemic shock of COVID-19 alter fundamental policy questions that in recent years have become almost intractable?

Namely: how to balance responsibility and solidarity at the EU’s external borders; how to harness migration for development in priority regions; and how to arrive at a new consensus on European migration management, based on creative partnership with third countries that complies with international standards?

In an online production adapted specially for the pandemic, the VMC2020 will assess where we now stand, from the local to the global level, taking in migration perspectives from Africa, the Middle East, Europe, Turkey as well as Central and Southern Asia. Additionally, the VMC2020 will examine the prospects for the reform of the Common European Asylum System and ask whether the Schengen area is robust enough to return to full functioning at a time of heightened migration, security and public health concerns. As ever, and in line with our core focus, the VMC will also discuss new designs for Europe’s external action in migration policy as we see the geo-political context changing as never before.

The VMC is ICMPD’s annual flagship event and a key platform for top-level discussion on migration in Europe and beyond. It offers an indispensable opportunity to take stock of the latest developments in the migration sphere and dive deeply into the most relevant issues affecting mobility from a policy and strategic viewpoint.