The yearly Vienna Migration Conference (VMC) is ICMPD’s flagship event and Europe’s leading forum on migration. Every autumn, leaders, experts and practitioners in the area of migration come together in Vienna to discuss innovative strategies and responses to challenges and opportunities in migration governance.
The 7th edition of VMC took place in Vienna on 11-12 October 2022, with over 250 in-person and 1,300 virtual attendees. During the 13 sessions, 34 politicians, officials and experts from governments, civil society and international organisations zoomed in on specific aspects of migration policy. Over two days, high-level panellists engaged in discussions on an array of pressing issues such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and other ongoing conflicts and instability, the instrumentalisation of migration, climate change, and labor shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic. The discussions aimed to scrutinise the best way forward to respond to migratory flows and balance competing political priorities amid crises.
The conference kicked off with an exclusive Migration Futures Dinner, an invitation-only dinner hosted in partnership with the Robert Bosch Stiftung. The dinner brought together select participants, agenda setters and thought leaders for an intimate networking event and featured a keynote speech by European Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas, who set the tone for the two days of lively debates and exchanges that followed at VMC2022.
Please find the full VMC2022 report here, which offers a comprehensive overview of the proceedings and outcomes. In addition to summaries of all sessions and key takeaways from the conference, the report also features in-depth analysis on EU talent attraction efforts and support for major refugee-hosting countries.
“We are looking for external partnership without really trying to understand and analyse the migration dynamics in different countries and the root causes.”
“Though there are many crises in different parts of the world, it doesn’t mean that migration management must be only reactive. We can still develop and implement proactive migration management policies both inside our country and jointly through regional and global perspectives.”
“If host countries are not supported, then the vulnerability of migrants and refugees will increase. Secondary movements will follow and we could see more disasters in the Mediterranean and other places.”
“There may come a time when it is not conflict that leads to mass displacement but rather climate change. We have this crisis staring us in the face in Pakistan.”
“It is critical that this discussion on migration reform not turn into a battlefield targeted at politicising every single domestic or external dimension of migration.”
“If the choice is between everything and nothing, then the outcome will be nothing. The gradual approach we took to migration reform was directed at pragmatically achieving progress without dismantling the entire package.”
“While the war is inflicting devastating consequences, it is also strengthening Ukrainian national identity in ways Putin didn’t intend.”
“Climate is the fabric on which we live and build our lives. When that is dramatically altered, everything changes.”
“It is important that people find protection as close as possible to their home without having to cross continents and risk their own lives.”
“Like everything in the EU, the story on migration reform is really about politics. You can hide behind the technicalities and the policy, which are very important, but there are always different governments coming and going and different leaders shaping the way policy is formed.”
“Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine has not only led to the largest displacement crisis since the Second World War in Europe but also created massive secondary impacts on food, energy, and insecurity that will affect migration over the long term.”
“There is a need to promote equitable responsibility and burden sharing in international protection. Strengthening continent-to-continent cooperation will be essential to enabling us to work together on key priorities.”
“Our world faces numerous crises that are interacting with increasing velocity.”
“In a world of multiple over-lapping crises, we can no longer merely work in vertical silos. We need to work in mixed teams. Synchronization should also extend beyond the borders of just one state.”
“We do need to find a good balance between security and solidarity. It hasn’t happened yet, but we’re heading in that direction.”
“We don’t need to disseminate an atmosphere of fear connected to migration. We should rather focus on our capabilities and our capacity to effectively control, manage, and govern migration for the benefit of our citizens, countries, regions, and those who elect to come and stay or pass through our territories.”
“No size fits all – we need to work in partnership. We need to develop the best toolbox possible for every country and region. We are willing to continue this work with every region around the world in a constructive and comprehensive spirit.”
“We need an immigration approach that balances security, freedom, and dignity. We need to fight crime through border controls. But we also need to ensure people have chances. That’s a European idea.”
“Instead of referring to people as victims, we need to call them survivors. Give them a voice, listen to their stories, and empower them. As I share my life experience, it has really shed away a lot of the pain that we experienced. We’re survivors and not victims. We’re resilient.”
“It’s amazing how sometimes simple things in cooperation between countries are missing, despite all the resources we put, despite all the efforts we make.”
“Migration is not a topic where one country can develop its own policy without working with all other countries in the region… The whole idea of this comprehensive approach is that we all work together.”
“Displaced individuals should not have to choose between their vulnerability and their talent. There is a need to open up opportunities for these individuals to give them greater agency and allow them to create their own futures.”
“Team Europe on the ground is not a concept, it is a necessity. You cannot achieve results without the Member States being on board.”
“We continue to forget the lessons of past crises and, therefore, cripple ourselves in terms of combatting or deterring future crises.”