On 2 June 2021, ICMPD held a virtual senior expert roundtable to discuss means of addressing irregular migration along migration routes. The meeting brought together senior experts from EU and ICMPD Member States, international organisations, EU institutions and other relevant bodies. Participants zoomed in on ways that partnerships and policies can better address irregular migration by looking along entire migration routes and considering the perspectives of countries of origin, transit and destination.
An introductory presentation highlighted the scale and dynamics of irregular migration to Europe, including the impact of COVID-19 on drivers of irregular migration and smuggling dynamics. Participants took a helicopter view of where we stand in addressing irregular migration towards Europe, as well as lessons learned since the largely uncontrolled arrival of migrants and asylum seekers in 2015-16. They also reflected on how these experiences shaped the European Commission’s current thinking around the New Pact on Migration and Asylum, in particular its proposed new approaches to the migration partnerships as well as asylum and return policies.
The meeting was organised within the framework of ICMPD’s Annual Policy Initiative (API), which addresses a different key issue in the current migration debate each year in order to identify pragmatic ways forward at both the policy and operational levels. Now in its third year, the API 2021 focuses on whole-of-route approaches to addressing irregular migration. To this end, the API is holding a series of discussions and consultations throughout the year to develop policy options to address irregular arrivals via the most frequented migration routes. These recommendations will draw on analysis, consultations and meetings with key actors both within and outside of the organisation, as well as discussions at the annual Vienna Migration Conference, to be held in October 2021.