SECOND annual vision europe summit
"Improving the responses to the migration and refugee crisis
21 & 22 november 2016
On the 21st and 22nd of November, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, in Lisbon, hosted the second edition of the Vision Europe Summit. During two days, specialists and experts from all over the world debated and shared ideas on the VES 2016 theme: the migrant and refugee crisis, with the policy papers “Improving the Responses to the Migration and Refugee Crisis in Europe” as the main starting point.
Keynote speech: António Guterres
One of the highlights of this year’s Vision Europe Summit was the intervention of António Guterres, on the morning of the 22nd. The future Secretary-General of the United Nations declared that the international system for refugee protection has suffered a “dramatic evolution” since 2015. Guterres emphasized the positive side of migrant arrivals to a Europe that is also struggling with a demographic challenge and an ageing population, going as far as declaring that “without migrants, European societies would be unsustainable”. The former United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees defended that “multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multicultural societies are an inevitability”; the challenge is to show that they are not a “threat” but are, on the contrary, “enriching”. Guterres added that “we will not be efficient if we are not able to give concrete replies to the anxiety, the fear and the emotion – and that will not be easy”. The former Portuguese prime-minister also declared that no single country will be able to solve the migration challenge, and that it is up to regional groups, such as the EU, to “collectively assume their responsibilities.”
Building Common Ground
At the end of the Summit, a draft of this year’s declaration was presented to the public.
The Vision Europe partners have agreed that a new approach to the migration situation is necessary. Action should be at all levels: global, European, national and local. The declaration draft, based on four strategic directions and four main axes of policy recommendations, is available here.
The final version of the Vision Europe declaration, which incorporates ideas and suggestions heard during the Summit is available here.