The Austrian Chairmanship of the OSCE and the Belarusian CEI Presidency organised the OSCE-CEI High-Level Panel Discussion “Beyond the emergency: improving the international response to large movements of people” in Vienna on 9 June.
 
The event focused on the realities and needs of countries of Central, Eastern, and South-East Europe, which have a long history of dealing with cross-border movements and have been facing fast-evolving migratory pressures in recent years.

Over fifty representatives of CEI and OSCE Member States’ constituencies attended the gathering; eight of them took the floor together with the representatives of ICMPD, IOM and others; final remarks were delivered by the new Coordinator of the OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities (OCEEA), Ambassador Vuk Zugic. The discussions looked into key elements of response, starting with long-term aspects such as integration in the new social and economic environment, circular migration, voluntary return and reintegration.
 
In his speech, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus, Oleg Kravchenko, emphasised that “the Hamburg 2016 Ministerial Decision on OSCE's role in the management of large movements of migrants and refugees encourages the participating states to regard the OSCE as a platform for further work on migration ensuring complementarity with other relevant international organisations and agencies. This is why we deem it natural that the two organisations, the OSCE and the CEI, join their efforts in looking for synergies in addressing the complex and multifaceted challenges posed by large movements of people in Europe and beyond”.
 
“I am very pleased that the growing cooperation between the CEI and the OSCE has led to this joint event. Special thanks for taking this initiative go to the CEI Belarusian Presidency and the Austrian Chairmanship of the OSCE. I see this as a timely opportunity to exchange views on a prominent issue on the agenda of our two organisations,” OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier said.
 
CEI Alternate Secretary General, Amb. Margot Klestil-Löffler, underlining the key role of regional cooperation, recalled the extraordinary programme promoted by the CEI through its Cooperation Fund to support a number of activities dealing with asylum seekers, refugees and irregular migrants. Through these activities, various aspects of the migratory crisis were covered, e.g. the role of local authorities, health care, migrants’ entrepreneurship, unaccompanied children, brain drain and diaspora from South-East Europe, protection of human rights and European values, training for youth and security issues.
 
During the event, the Belarusian side made a number of tangible recommendations. They aimed at enhancing cooperation at the international level and at providing synergies in the activities of international organisations in the migration area, e.g. strengthening national capacities of states and exchanging experience and best practices in the field of migration.

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