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The European Union congratulates Antonio Vitorino on his election as new Director General of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), the United Nations’ migration agency. Mr Vitorino brings crucial expertise in the field of migration from a number of high-level posts, including as European Commissioner for Home Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister of Portugal. We also pay tribute to outgoing Director William Lacy Swing’s tireless personal engagement and commitment to assist migrants all around the world.
The EU and its Member States have a long-standing strategic partnership with the IOM as the world’s leading migration organisation. Together we work to better manage migration flows, mitigate humanitarian crises, enhance the rights of migrants and support them, including through Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration programmes. Since the beginning of last year alone, our cooperation has for example allowed over 43,500 people to voluntarily return to their countries of origin from Libya and Niger, where they receive reintegration assistance. Collectively, the EU and its Member States are also the largest collective contributor to the IOM’s budget with a total of €644 million in 2017.
Migration can only be addressed effectively together, by seeking global solutions based on shared responsibility and solidarity. IOM is expected to play a prominent role in the implementation of the first ever Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, placing migration firmly within the UN agenda. The EU will continue to work in close partnership with the IOM and its new Director General and the wider UN system, in full support of multilateralism and a rules-based global order.