7 October 2016

Vision Europe 2016

Europe and the refugees

Eight European foundations and think-tanks have for the second consecutive year joined together in the Vision Europe consortium – a collaborative unit set up to confront some of the greatest challenges facing public policies in Europe and this year focusing on the refugee crisis. This theme will be under the spotlight at the annual conference to be held in November at the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon.

The refugee crisis represents a serious challenge, both to the wellbeing of the refugees and to European societies. In 2015, over 1.5 million migrants entered into the European Union. From Italy to Poland and from Greece to Germany, all member states face immense challenges in responding to the scale of the requests for humanitarian aid, asylum and integration and especially as regards housing, language learning, employment and social welfare. The incapacity to appropriately manage these will bear threats to the future of social cohesion and political stability.

Vision Europe, a joint project involving eight European foundations and think-tanks– Bertelsmann Stiftung, Germany; Bruegel, Belgium; Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Portugal; CASE – Centre for Social and Economic Research, Poland; Chatham House, the United Kingdom; Compagnia di San Paolo, Italy; Jacques Delors Institute, France; and The Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, Finland –, is this year dedicated to the refugee crisis.

The different institutions have been engaged in mutual collaboration since last year, researching, debating and consequently informing and influencing the political decision makers and public opinion about some of the most looming challenges facing European public policies. Through means of research, publications and the holding of an annual conference, the objectives of this consortium thus involve establishing a forum for debate and a source of recommendations that derive from civil society and correspondingly enabling, in a justified, unbiased and transparent fashion, improvements to political decision making both at the European Union and the national levels.

The annual conference – Vision Europe Summit –, which this year has the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation as its host, represents the culmination of cooperation between the eight entities over the course of each year and brings together over a hundred political decision makers and specialist delegates from member states, European institutions and international organisations. This event strives to approach public policies from an international and interdisciplinary perspective, with the objective of developing pragmatic proposals and applicable political solutions and thus also wishing to contribute towards a European debate based on research and innovative policies. [The conference takes place on 21 and 22 November but with entry by invitation only.]

In the opinions of Vision Europe member institutions, European leaders should implement common solutions throughout Europe for the refugee crisis given that only joint and collective action will be able to credibly and effectively stem the rising tide of human suffering and social and political turbulence.

Under the theme Responding to the migrant and refugee crisis in Europe, Vision Europe 2016 unfolds three lines of reflection on the future:

1) “From conflict to equilibrium”: building a common basis for social and political consensus as regards the reception, hosting and integration of migrants and refugees in European Union member states;

2) “From reaction to pro-activeness”: developing the mechanisms for the rapid and efficient action that enables effective responses to large and unpredictable flows of migrants and refugees;

3) “From fragmentation to integration”: the reception of migrants and refugees with the final objective of attaining the full integration of all those seeking this.

 

Different working groups, led by migration specialists, are currently studying these three dimensions in order to present at the conference their recommendations and proposals for new policies able to deal with the current refugee crisis.

For further information on Vision Europe, please go to: vision-europe-summit.eu