Conference of European Ministers responsible for Migration Affairs
"Migrants in our societies: Policy choices for the 21st Century"

Helsinki (Finland), 16 – 17 September 2002

Press releases



Council of Europe Ministers to consider setting up a new European structure to meet challenges posed by migration

Challenges posed by migration will be discussed by at a Council of Europe ministerial meeting at Finlandia Hall in Helsinki, Finland on 16 and 17 September 2002. More than 20 ministers are expected to take part, with emigration countries such as Egypt and Morocco represented for the first time. The Conference will be opened at 09.00 on Monday 16 September 2002, by Council of Europe Secretary General Walter Schwimmer, and President of the 55th General Assembly of the United Nations, Harri Holkeri, former Prime Minister of Finland. One proposal under discussion will be the setting up of a new Council of Europe Observatory to coordinate European strategy and cooperation on migration.

Proceedings of the Conference - EN

Final Declaration (PDF Format) : EN, FR, RU

Migration Management Strategy (PDF Format) : EN, FR, RU

Helsinki: Towards more harmonious migration management

Essential in the face of population ageing in Europe, but all too often misunderstood and managed short-sightedly, immigration, be it legal or illegal, can be a perilous adventure for those who attempt it. The individual and social rights of refugees must be guaranteed in the same way as those of ordinary citizens, and it is important, through integration, to foster harmonious coexistence, which is the only remedy against the xenophobic tendencies emerging in many countries. (more…)

Walter Schwimmer: Integration is a central piece to migration puzzle

''The distinctive feature of the Council of Europe is to make sure that the human rights and dignity of the migrant are respected'', stated the Secretary General in his opening speech at the Conference of European Migration Ministers. He stressed the need for implementing at the national level the Council of Europe's comprehensive strategy of migration management, adopted in 2000 and centred on integration of migrants in a climate of mutual confidence and respect of individual rights. (more…)

Harri Holkeri: Migration Conference aims to build framework for unifying goals and good practices

The former Prime Minister of Finland, Harri Holkeri, has opened the 7th Conference of European Ministers Responsible for Migration Affairs in Helsinki. He said the main aim of the two-day meeting was to build a framework for unifying goals and good practices across the Continent. Another major theme was the need to strike a good balance between the treatment of immigrants and ethnic minorities on the one hand, and the regulation of migration flows on the other. (more…)

Address by Joseph Licari, Vice-Chairman of the Ministers’ Deputies

"Since the foundation of the Council of Europe, it has endeavoured to establish a legal framework relating to the rights and living conditions of migrants." […] "At the same time, the Committee of Ministers has always ensured that the Council of Europe’s fundamental texts take account of what is a major problem for our European societies. This concern, the most striking reflection of which is the European Social Charter, reveals Council of Europe member states’ wish to work for the recognition of foreign residents’ rights and for their integration". (more…)

Statement by Finnish Minister of Labour Tarja Filatov

This conference "poses a significant challenge for the whole of Europe and for European co-operation, on which we are entitled to place higher expectations in the field of migration policy and the related development of ethnic relations in our societies."(more…)

Gunnar Jansson: ''Migration is a fundamental human right''

At the closing of the Migration Ministers Conference in Helsinki, General Rapporteur and Parliamentary Assembly member Gunnar Jansson summarised the challenges posed in connection with integration of migrants and migration management. ''Migration is a fundamental human right'' he said. (more…)


M’hamed Karmouni: "Proper migration flow management requires genuine consultation with the countries of departure"

M’hamed Karmouni, General Secretary of the Ministry of Employment and Social Development in Morocco, explains the strategy his country has just adopted on emigration, for its own nationals and also for foreigners who travel to Europe via Morocco (more…).

Tarja Filatov : "Restoring humanism to its place in the debate on immigration"

For Finnish Labour Minister Tarja Filatov, the Helsinki Conference represents an "indispensable counterpart" to bald regulation-based policies, and also allows the issues to be formulated in a Europe-wide context (more…).

Piotr Stachanczyk : "Integration must proceed via the local level"

After a long period as a country of emigration, Poland is now preparing to receive a growing number of foreigners on its soil, explains the Director of the Polish Office for repatriated nationals and foreigners, Piotr Stachanczyk, heading his country’s delegation to the Helsinki Conference (more…).

Hilbrand Nawijn : ‘’Our policy will assist migrant integration’’

With his name on the "Pim Fortuyn list" (LPF), the Netherlands Minister for Immigration and Integration , Hilbrand Nawijn, considers that the "hardening" of the policy pursued by his country will make for better migrant integration (more…).

Heide Marie Fenzl: "An immigrant who works is first and foremost a worker"

Austria has just passed legislation to speed up foreign nationals' access to the labour market. According to Dr Heide Marie Fenzl, Director of the Austrian Federal Interior Ministry's Migration and Integration Office, this is a key factor in their integration (more…).

Michel Villan: "Immigrants' skills offer a tool for development"

Michel Villan, Director for Social Action and Immigrants of the Wallonian Region, thinks that the successful integration of immigrants is as great a source of wealth, economic and otherwise, for Belgium as it is for their countries of origin (more…).


 Current Trends in International Migration in Europe – Report by Professor John SALT : Consultant, Migration Research Unit, University College London, Department of Geography - November 2001 - Tables - Graphics

 European Convention on the Legal Status of Migrant Workers