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ICMPD Director General participated in the Salzburg Forum Ministerial Conference 2024

27 June 2024


On 25 and 26 June 2024, ICMPD’s Director General, Michael Spindelegger, participated in the Salzburg Forum Ministerial Conference 2024 in Laxenburg, Austria. The Salzburg Forum is a Central European security partnership focused on fostering dialogue on internal security among relevant stakeholders. In this edition, organised by the Austrian Chairmanship of the Salzburg Forum, the topic of migration and the fight against human trafficking was one of the focus areas of the conference.

The conference gathered high-level representatives from Salzburg Forum members, the EU Commission, Friends and Partners of the Salzburg Forum, the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR), and regional and EU agencies. Hosted by the Austrian Interior Minister, Gerhard Karner, the conference welcomed high-level participants including Kalin Stoyanov, Bulgarian Minister of Interior; Matúš Šutaj Eštok, Slovakian Minister of Interior; and Boštjan Poklukar, Slovenian Minister for the Interior.

Mr. Spindelegger addressed participants during Working Session II on “Innovative Solutions on Common Strategies for Coping with Migration and Combatting Migrant Smuggling”. In this speech, he emphasised the impact of human smuggling and professional organizers of irregular migration on Europe's migration environment and security.

ICMPD’s Director General outlined three pillars for a successful counter-strategy against human smuggling. Firstly, he highlighted the need to enhance law enforcement means with a strong focus on regional and international cooperation. Secondly, he emphasized addressing system weaknesses: “Enhanced capacities of all partners along migratory routes to control borders, conduct asylum procedures, and effect returns will close these loopholes and seriously hurt the business model of the smuggling networks,” indicated Mr. Spindelegger.

Thirdly, he stressed the importance of working with partners outside Europe. He noted the role of ICMPD’s Migrant Resource Centres (MRCs) in this regard: “We see a high use of the centres among our target group and are firmly convinced that providing easy-to-get, honest and sound information for migrants is an important tool to weaken the market position of smuggling networks.”

Mr. Spindelegger also referred to the recently adopted EU Pact on Migration and Asylum in his speech. He highlighted that this pact offers a great opportunity to reinforce cooperation on all the mentioned priorities. He stressed, “As ICMPD we are fully committed to supporting this work with all our expertise, networks, and resources. I am convinced that the Member States of the Salzburg Forum will engage very strongly in this process as well and look very much forward to our cooperation.”