On 24 January 2024, Greece and ICMPD jointly organised a high-level event titled “A holistic approach for balanced migration partnerships” in Brussels. The event marked the handover of the Chairmanship of ICMPD’s Steering Group from Türkiye to Greece with speeches by Ambassador Faruk Kaymakcı, Permanent Delegate of Türkiye to the EU, and Ambassador Ioannis Vrailas, Permanent Representative of Greece to the EU. Ylva Johansson, European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Dimitrios Kairidis, Minister for Migration and Asylum of Greece, and ICMPD Director General Michael Spindelegger participated in the panel discussion moderated by ICMPD’s Brussels Mission Director Ralph Genetzke. Vice-President of the European Commission Margaritis Schinas delivered closing remarks.
In the context of Greece’s 2024 Chairmanship of the Steering Group of ICMPD, the Greek Permanent Delegation to the EU together with ICMPD’s Brussels Mission hosted a high-level event on “A holistic approach for balanced migration partnerships”.
Marking the handover of the Chairmanship from Türkiye to Greece, Ambassador Faruk Kaymakcı, Permanent Delegate of Türkiye to the EU, remarked in his speech the achievements and activities by Türkiye carried out as Chair in 2023 and underlined the important role Türkiye plays as host country and in migration management. Furthermore, he highlighted the fruitful cooperation dialogue between Türkiye and Greece, wishing his successors a successful Chairmanship. Elaborating on the Chairmanship motto, Ambassador Ioannis Vrailas, Permanent Representative of Greece to the EU, expressed that Greece will build on the important work of Türkiye’s Chairmanship on partnerships with key partners, even more so in the external dimension: “ICMPD is playing a pivotal role by building strong ties with countries of origin and transit. It is only by joining forces with the EU and partner countries that we can address common challenges and leverage migration as an opportunity”.
In the high-level panel discussion moderated by ICMPD Brussels Mission Director Ralph Genetzke, Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson highlighted that the key to success in migration management is to have respectful, mutually beneficial, and longstanding cooperation and expressed her conviction that “Migration is not a stand-alone matter, but it is interconnected with other issues which should be addressed though international partnerships”. In this regard, Commissioner Johansson noted that the Commission follows through with a new approach in the collaboration with third countries where migration is only one part of a broader cooperation framework. She added that “to establish a strong partnership however, you also need strong partners – and ICMPD is a strong one for the EU when it comes to migration.” Commenting on partnerships, Dimitrios Kairidis, Minister for Migration and Asylum of Greece, welcomed the emerging more comprehensive cooperation between Türkiye and Greece as an example of a partnership which can yield tangible results and where cooperation in migration can bring about cooperation in multiple areas.
Furthermore, Minister Kairidis highlighted the importance to “move away from polarised debates and rhetoric to more substantial solutions and balanced policies, such as the ones proposed by ICMPD”. Looking ahead, he noted that legal pathways, the regularisation of irregular migrants, labour migration agreements as well as administrative reforms as important examples in this regard. Adding to this, ICMPD Director General Michael Spindelegger highlighted the growing interest by Member States and partners in fostering labour migration and legal pathways and the importance in this regard to lay important groundwork with concrete projects and building partnerships from scratch. In showcasing practical examples such as the Training Institute for the Mediterranean, support to the EU-India High-Level Dialogue as well as the Migration Partnership Facility, Director General Spindelegger underlined the way in which ICMPD supports the implementation of comprehensive partnerships.
In his closing remarks Vice-President of the European Commission Margaritis Schinas shared that the EU learned the cost of not having a policy through hard lessons but has now a strategic plan in which internal solidarity and external cooperation is imperative. In this regard, Vice-President Schinas noted that “ICMPD has been a trusted partner for 30 years and that although we were late in prioritizing the external dimension, under pressure of the geopolitical horizon, we can count on ICMPD and its support for another 30 years”.
The event was followed by a reception, hosted by Dimitrios Kairidis, Minister for Migration and Asylum of Greece, and Ambassador Ioannis Vrailas, Permanent Representative of Greece to the EU.