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European Commission - Statement

Joint Statement on the International Migrants' Day

Brussels, 18 December 2015

Today the European Union recognises the 232 million international migrants worldwide. More people than at any other time have left their homes, either to seek refuge and safety from war and persecution or to escape poverty and find secure livelihoods elsewhere.

The European Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy issued the following statement today on the occasion of the International Migrants Day:

"Today the European Union recognises the 232 million international migrants worldwide. More people than at any other time have left their homes, either to seek refuge and safety from war and persecution or to escape poverty and find secure livelihoods elsewhere. Each day migrants make significant and essential contributions to the economic, social and cultural development of their new societies. Tragically, thousands of migrants have died this year while crossing borders, and today we commemorate them.  

The migration challenges we all face in Europe and globally have grown in scale and complexity. In the last months, the EU has mobilised efforts to respond to the significant increase in migrant and refugee flows to Europe.

The primary aim of our efforts is to save lives and ensure protection of those in need, in line with European values and international law. To do this, we also need to manage migration better. This requires better protection of our external borders, stronger application of EU rules, and enhancing the fight against smugglers. We also need to have an orderly and humane return policy for those with no right to stay, and help the reintegration of migrants and support to the communities to which they return. We also seek to address the root causes of the crisis and aim to establish a more effective and sustainable management of migratory flows, whilst fully respecting human rights principles and international law. The EU is working closely with partner countries and relevant international stakeholders.

We are also looking beyond the current crisis. We need to build a strong and coherent migration policy that also includes legal channels for migration, and allows migrants to make a positive contribution to our economy and society. . With more, safe and better managed routes to Europe, including resettlement into the EU of those in need of protection, we can seize the opportunities of migration and disrupt the illegal work of migrant smugglers and human traffickers.

Today, we reiterate our commitment to work to raise awareness of migrants’ positive social and economic contributions to society as well as to do all that is required to improve the situation for the migrants."

STATEMENT/15/6376

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