European Movement Federal Assembly 2016
On 27 May 2016 the European Movement International’s Federal Assembly met in The Hague with an ambitious agenda, packed full of important policy positions to be debated and agreed upon among the 78 member organisations.
The three political committees (on More Democracy; Jobs and Growth; and Europe in the World), which form the core of the European Movement International’s political direction, met in the morning to discuss a whole host of topics, including enlargement, migration and digital policy.
The Federal Assembly plenary began with a political debate on several topics including the British EU referendum, Migration and the Refugee crisis, Security, European Union Enlargement and Schengen:
- A new EMI Briefing Paper ‘The consequences of a UK exit from the European Union‘ was presented. It formed the basis for a discussion on the UK referendum; with members agreeing that Britain’s future is in the EU and a possible exit would have negative effects, both for Britain and the EU as a whole.
- On the topic of migration, members discussed the Movement’s new position on Migration and the Refugee Crisis, which among other things calls for reforming the Dublin regulation, readjusting the Blue Card regulation and treating refugees with the dignity and respect they deserve.
- On Enlargement, members had the chance to discuss the first set of points ahead of the preparation of draft Policy Position. The discussion focused on some of the obstacles to the process, and the challenges that civil society faces in the different Member States.
- On Free Movement and Schengen, members discussed the draft Policy Position prepared by the International Office. The focus was on preserving Europe’s open boarders and safeguarding citizens’ rights. Members discussed need for effective control of the external borders and a common European immigration and asylum policy.
- A debate on the Movement’s new position on Security was framed within the context of High Representative Federica Mogherini’s EU Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy, to be presented in June. The Movement urges the Union to streamline existing strategies and priorities and to focus on coordinated, impactful and joint action.
The event ended with a keynote address by Bert Koenders, Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, who outlined the challenges the EU faces and sketched his thoughts for the way forward (for the full speech see here).