Event Summary of EUact2 Transnational Public Event - New Pact on Migration and Asylum: A Fresh Start?


The topic of migration continues to challenge domestic and European policy-making and with a lack of common policy and good knowledge among citizens the next year’s European Parliament elections, might be captured by populist narratives, leading to significant political shifts.

On June 6th 2023, as part of the EUact2 project led by GLOBSEC, the Hellenic Foundation for European & Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP) organized an event titled "The New Pact on Migration and Asylum: A Fresh Start?". The event took place in a hybrid format, allowing for both online and in-person participation (in Athens, Greece). A total of 139 attendees participated from 8 different countries (Ireland, Greece, Germany, Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium, Austria), with 82 attending in person and 57 participating online. There were  59.8% women and 40.2% men. While the predominant group of participants were young people and university students, representatives from public sector, NGOs, academia and other interested citizens were also present. The event lasted for two hours.

The discussion focused on the current state of migration in Europe, the recurring challenges associated with migration flows, and the European Union's response to them, including the recent initiatives surrounding the New Pact on Migration and Asylum. The primary objectives of the Pact were discussed, along with its new elements and perspectives. The event featured speakers with diverse backgrounds, aiming to provide different perspectives on the topic. The speakers included:

  • Desislava Ivanova, Protection Associate, UNHCR's Representation for EU Affairs in Brussels;
  • Dr. Angeliki Dimitriadi, Head of the Migration Policy Unit, ENA Institute;
  • Ass. Professor Daniela Marouda, Expert in International and Humanitarian Law, Panteion University;
  • Lora Pappa, President & CEO of METAdrasi – Action for Migration and Development.

The discussion was moderated by Odin Linardatou, Head of the Communication Department, ELIAMEP.

In the past decade, the European Union has faced multiple and simultaneous crises (“Poly-crises”). Since 2015, the migration crisis has become a burning political issue for the Union. Due to the serious influx of refugees, the Member States in Southern and Eastern Europe have found themselves in a state of emergency insisting for a joint European approach and coordination. Previous Agreements, such as the Dublin system, have proven ineffective and often left these countries in a deadlock bearing a disproportionate burden.

The debate for the need to reform the existing agreements and to modify the methods employed by the EU to address refugee and migrant flows has intensified once again. The primary objective is to shape a common European framework and coordination by establishing a working and more unified asylum system. To answer to the challenge, the European Commission introduced The New Pact on Migration and Asylum.

The aim of the event was to shed light on the diverse opinions and perspectives surrounding the New Pact on Migration and Asylum, as well as migration in the EU in general and to increase the awareness among participants on the topic, processes and challenges of migration today.  The event was timely as it was held right before the New Pact was debated again under the Swedish Presidency of the Council. Representatives from various institutions contributed to the debate. Ms. Ivanova provided an institutional perspective, offering a high-level overview of the ongoing policy-level discussions and advocacy for the New Pact on Migration and Asylum, especially paying attention to the discourse in Brussels. Ass. Prof. Marouda focused on the negotiation dimension with specific emphasis on subjects such as border protection and the role of FRONTEX . Dr. Dimitriadi, discussed the external dimension of the New Pact, especially stressing that only by accounting for the main reasons of refugee flows, the New Pact can be properly negotiated. Finally, Ms. Pappa, representing civil society, presented the existing problems in the field, including the personal and human aspects, while expressing criticism toward the disconnect between the evolving situation on the ground and the sluggish decision-making on the New Pact.

Gathering these perspectives aimed to foster a comprehensive understanding of the complexities associated with the migration in the EU. The remarks were followed by Q&A session with the possibility to ask questions both online and in-person.