The two-day event is the sixth in a series of meetings scheduled for 2017-2018 under the EU-Russia Experts Network initiated and supported by the Delegation of the European Union to the Russian Federation.
Images of irregular migrants and refugees crammed into unseaworthy boats making perilous voyages to Europe have come to symbolize the tragic reality of the irregular migration phenomenon over the past years. Smuggling of migrants by sea is one of the most dangerous forms of migrant smuggling and one which often requires serious humanitarian assistance efforts at the global level. These forms of smuggling also facilitate the trafficking in human beings, which puts the migrants in an even more vulnerable situation.
Faced with the flow of irregular migrants and asylum seekers trying to reach the European Union, the EU and its member states have intensified efforts to establish an effective, humanitarian and safe European migration policy. Their joint efforts resulted in the significant drop of irregular arrivals by 63% in 2017. However, migration dynamics in an increasingly interconnected world are here to stay; the needs in labour of the EU's economy, the demography in the EU, and its neighbourhood point to a long term challenge, but also an opportunity to use migration for the development of the countries of origin and transit.
The Russian Federation has not been affected by the migration waves from Africa and Asia, but migration routes can abruptly change and legislative and institutional preparedness and contingency planning is never started too early.
In Rome, experts will discuss to what extent and how the EU and Russia are affected by the current refugee and migration crisis; how to address the root causes of migration and improve opportunities in countries of origin; how to curb migrant smuggling activities; as well as development of policies on fostering the intergration of third-country nationals in both the EU and Russia.
The EU-Russia Experts Network (EUREN) was initiated by the EU Delegation to Russia in 2016. It brings together former and present policy-makers from the EU and Russia, as well as scholars and analysts from prominent think-tanks to discuss topical foreign affairs. Network's meetings are organized under the "EU-Russia Public Diplomacy" project with the aim of facilitating a long-term engagement between the EU and Russia.