Michael Spindelegger has taken office as the Director General of ICMPD on 1 January 2016. His goals in his new position are to further strengthen ICMPD’s role as a member-driven international organisation and as a think tank developing tools for effective migration management.
To mark his inauguration, the Director General hosted New Year’s receptions in Vienna and Brussels before starting on a tour of introductory visits to all fifteen ICMPD member states.
During his debut visit to Brussels on 26-27 January, Mr Spindelegger met key European decision makers including Commissioners to discuss pressing migration challenges, such as the need to regulate the movement of refugees and migrants by curbing smuggling and by providing safe and legal ways towards protection.
He also addressed press for the first time in Brussels, pointing to four issues that Europe and its partners need to address to overcome the migration crisis, and presented policy recommendations by ICMPD. Spindelegger, a former vice chancellor of Austria, stressed that Europe has to act in solidarity, with a clear distribution of responsibilities.
ICMPD: a platform for dialogue, a think tank
When addressing the international community during receptions in Brussels and Vienna on 26 and on 29 January, Mr Spindelegger also outlined plans for his organisation.
As Director General, he will work to strengthen ICMPD’s capacities to act as a platform for dialogue and mediation on migration – a forum for discussion, listening to everyone’s concerns, proposing solutions and ways to break through deadlocked situations.
Furthermore he will strengthen ICMPD’s work as a think tank providing independent research on future developments of migration, linking policy and practice and moving from ideas to action.
Listening to member states
The Director General will visit all fifteen ICMPD member states in the first half of 2016 to see how the organisation can best support them in addressing the current crisis. During the first mission, which led to Bosnia and Herzegovina, ICMPD and the Bosnian Minister of Security as well as the Minister for Human Rights and Refugees discussed possible action in case the route most migrants are taking to reach the European Union would shift to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
ICMPD will meet the Czech, Swiss and Swedish governments soon; the Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs has already visited the organisation’s headquarters recently.
Photo: David Blacher