Amidst the backdrop of a refugee crisis and recent attacks in Brussels and Paris, the 2015-2016 class of European Young Leaders met on 19-21 May in Marseille together with alumni and external guests to offer fresh and innovative solutions to the broad range of issues resulting from the mass arrival of refugees in Europe.
“Migration is an absolute added value to every society, period,” Sander Loones, European Young Leader and Vice Chair of the European Parliament Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, said to kick off the seminar in Marseille. As the European Young Leaders examine Europe’s migration crisis from several angles, solutions are considered. Part of the solution to the migration crisis is the recognition that immigration is a challenge that can only be met at the European level, Loones stressed.
Emran Mansour, a Syrian refugee living in Paris, noted some of the hurdles that new arrivals to European countries must overcome, specifically language learning and housing, which are at once the most important needs for migrants and underfunded and poorly organised in many European countries. Though there has been a single European policy on asylum and migration since the early 2000s, “what has always dragged us away from an efficient and coherent asylum policy is a lack of reform, implementation, and most importantly, political will,” underlined Sandra Pratt, European Commission Expert on Immigration and Asylum (1999-2007).
Part of the responsibility for finding solutions to the migration challenges lies with origin countries and the various diasporas in Europe, Theodora Xenogiani, Senior Economist at the OECD International Migration Division, said, adding that “many origin countries are increasingly aware of the potential of their diasporas for economic growth and human capital development.” Beyond remittances and the economic benefits of a diaspora, there are other interesting forms of exchange – scientific, technological and academic exchanges, for example – that should be explored more deeply between Europe and the Middle East and North African (MENA) countries.
Indeed, Mary Fitzgerald, European Young Leader, Libya Analyst and Columnist for the Irish Independent, suggests that key members of the MENA diaspora, with links to origin countries and host countries, should be considered as ambassadors and experts and consulted on questions of policy. It was further noted that these key members of immigrant communities should be consulted on integration and community cohesion, in order to address what is perceived as growing violent extremism in Europe.
The European Young Leaders (EYL40) programme led by Friends of Europe is a unique, inventive and multi-stakeholder programme that aims to promote a European identity by engaging the continent’s most promising talents in initiatives that will shape Europe’s future. The European Young Leaders represent a promising European leadership from all over the continent and with a wide variety of backgrounds including politics, business, civil society, academia, arts, science and the media.
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The European Young Leaders programme led by Friends of Europe is a unique, inventive and multi-stakeholder programme that aims to promote a European identity by engaging the continent’s most promising talents in initiatives that will shape Europe’s future.
The European Young Leaders represent a promising European leadership from all over the continent and with a wide variety of backgrounds including politics, business, civil society, academia, arts, science and the media. The 2015-2016 class of European Young Leaders was selected by a jury headed by Enrico Letta, former Italian Prime Minister.
Amidst the backdrop of a refugee crisis and recent attacks in Brussels and Paris, this seminar will have a special focus on integration and migration. Until last year, the arrival in Europe of migrant workers from elsewhere has been comparatively slow and manageable, and required no comprehensive policy response from national governments. This crisis, in stark contrast, is so overwhelmingly large that it demands a ‘Grand Strategy’ at EU, national, regional and local levels with the involvement of all.
The seminar will offer fresh and innovative solutions to the broad range of issues resulting from the mass arrival of refugees in Europe and will seek to make up for the current lack of action at EU level. As a symbolic bridge between the European Union and the Arab world, Marseille is the perfect host city, having good examples both of success stories and of radicalisation cases.
Europeans are waking to the scale of the refugee crisis, but the EU and its member governments have yet to forge credible responses. Tensions across Europe, from Greece to Germany to Sweden, demand realistic and comprehensive EU-wide policies ranging from social integration to job creation, but the first step will be to change the narrative shaping public opinion from threat to asset. What role should private sector employers and entrepreneurs play to speed aging Europe’s integration of refugees?
European Commission Expert on Immigration and Asylum (1999-2007)
European Young Leader Contribution
Member of the Belgian Federal Parliament, former Member of the European Parliament and 2015-2016 European Young Leader (EYL40)
CEO of Navigator Shipping LTD , 2014 European Young Leader
Marseille is both a melting pot and a simmering stew, being both religiously and racially diverse. It is home to one of Europe’s largest Muslim as well as Jewish populations along with a wide range of different nationalities. While boasting a greater tolerance and social harmony than Paris or Lyon’s, Marseille is facing new strains as the National Front’s popularity grows. Are there lessons here for the rest of Europe?
Introductory remarks by
Journalist and 2014 Laureate of the Albert Londres Prize for his series of articles Quartiers shit on the northern districts of Marseille
Journalist and analyst specialising in the Euro-Mediterranean region with a particular focus on Libya, Trustee of Friends of Europe and 2013 European Young Leader (EYL40)
Head Teacher of the Second Chance School
The potential of the Middle East and North Africa diaspora in Europe has not been adequately explored in terms of building relations in the Mediterranean neighbourhood. From the Tunisian, Algerian, Moroccan and Lebanese diasporas in France and other EU states to the large Libyan diaspora in the United Kingdom and Ireland, there are young entrepreneurs, business people, academics, activists and artists who straddle both worlds and can play a role in deepening links and informing policy on a range of issues including economic development in the southern neighbourhood, countering extremism and facing the refugee challenge.
Introductory remarks by
Senior Economist at the OECD International Migration Division
European Young Leader contributor
French politician and Member of the European Parliament and 2015-2016 European Young Leader (EYL40)
Head of Regulatory and Government Relations France & Benelux at VISA and 2013 European Young Leader (EYL40)
Senior Operations Officer at the Center for Mediterranean Integration (CMI)
The recent attacks in Brussels and Paris have brought the issue of violent extremism in Europe into sharp focus. How responsible are host countries for radicalisation and the creation of ‘home grown’ terrorism, given that local shortcomings on education, housing and employment opportunities combine with EU nations’ foreign policy positions? Can Europe balance the protection of civil liberties with rapidly evolving security challenges it faces and win the battle of ideas?
Introductory remarks by
Journalist, former ISIS Hostage and Author of Jihad Academy
European Young Leaders contribution
War Reporter, Delo and 2015-2016 European Young Leader (EYL40)
Trainer and Advisor; Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Campaigner and 2014 European Young Leader (EYL40)
These breakout working groups offer an unusual opportunity for European Young Leaders and other guests to engage in a multi-stakeholder dialogue to exchange best practices and experiences. They seek to encourage open discussions and critical engagements through testimonials and knowledge-sharing from cities, businesses and entrepreneurs. The aim is to identify policy solutions suited to immigrant communities and refugee concentrations around the EU.
- Connection between pop culture and integration
- Housing policy and labour market in cities
- Media’s role in the migration and refugee crisis
- Use of new technologies to help refugees
- Obstacles to employment for refugees and migrants
- Future development of the European Young Leaders programme
Author and Chief Executive Officer at NewsMonkey and 2017 European Young Leader (EYL40)
Aiming to move from talk to action, the unconferences’ agenda promotes fresh thinking and creative solutions. European Young Leaders and other guests are invited to initiate discussion on new topics or suggest concrete actions regarding refugees’ and migrants’ integration in Europe. Concrete pledges and action-oriented commitments coming out of the discussions will be shared among the full group and disseminated through our broader network with the aim of creating global change.
Geert Cami co-founded Friends of Europe, the action-oriented think tank, in 1999. As Secretary General, Geert mainly deals with the strategic development of Friends of Europe, he coordinates the work of the high-level Boards involved in the governance of the organisation and chairs the Strategic Leadership meetings. He oversees both the financial health and the successful running of the organisation and its flagship initiatives, and focuses on the expansion and the activation of Friends of Europe’s vast network of trustees, European young leaders and other senior political, corporate, media and societal contacts and partners throughout the world.
Geert also is a founding member of the Executive Board of the Africa-Europe Foundation, launched in 2020, and of TownHall Europe (the Davignon Centre for New Leadership), launched in 2019.
Geert headed the European conference organising, press relations and publishing company Forum Europe for more than ten years, and managed the revival of one of Belgium’s finest architectural examples of Art Nouveau, after creating La Maison de l’Europe in the prestigious 100-year-old Bibliothèque Solvay.
At the outset of his career, Geert worked for a few years in ECHO at the European Commission, as deputy in the newly set-up Information and communications unit. His focus was mainly on raising the profile of the EU’s humanitarian efforts throughout the world, through publications and media initiatives such as exhibitions, television debates or Humanitarian Days in Member States.
He also worked for 2 music programmes at Belgian public Radio 1, and very briefly as a teacher and TV journalist.
Sander is a member of the Belgian Chamber of Representatives. He was formerly a Member of the European Parliament with the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, and Vice President of Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie (The New Flemish Alliance). In the European Parliament, Sander was Vice Chair of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, and a member of Delegation for relations with the countries of Southeast Asia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Sander has previously worked for the Belgian Ministry of Interior Affairs in the migration office, and as a scientific researcher at the Law faculty of Catholic University Leuven.
Danae is the Managing director of Navigator Shipping Consultants LTD. One of her important achievements is the organisation of the Navigator Conference since 2001 which is considered to be one of the biggest shipping events gathering the decision makers of the shipping community and speakers from all over the world on an annual basis. Through her participation in lectures and seminars, Danae has travelled the world to promote and strengthen women’s entrepreneurship. Her latest venture includes the foundation of Greek Food Obsessions, a gourmet culinary company providing the Greek and international food market with high quality Greek gourmet products from all over Greece. Danae holds a Bachelor of Science in International Hospitality and Tourism Management from the University of Surrey.
Mary is a journalist and analyst specialising in the Euro-Mediterranean region with a particular focus on Libya. She has worked on Libya since 2011 and lived there throughout 2014. Her work has appeared in publications including The Economist, Foreign Policy, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, Financial Times and The Guardian. Mary has also conducted research on Libya for the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) and the European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMED), among others. She is a contributing author to an edited volume on the Libyan revolution published by Oxford University Press. In her previous role as Irish Times foreign affairs correspondent, Mary reported from 40 countries across the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe. She is a member of the Global Women’s Forum ‘Rising Talents’ network.
Karima Delli from the French party, Europe Écologie–Les Verts, is one of the youngest Members of the European Parliament. She is the ninth of thirteen children, and has written about her modest upbringing and its effect on her ecological commitments in her book, ‘La politique ne me fait pas perdre le nord’ (Politics have not made me lose sight of the North). First elected in 2009, Delli has remained a committed activist during her tenure though work at Jeudi Noire (Black Thursday), a group dedicated to helping young people find housing, and Sauvons les Riches (Save the Rich), which demands the introduction of a maximum European income. She is a member of the Committee on Transport and Tourism, and a substitute
Rabah is the Head of Regulatory and Government Relations for France and Benelux at VISA and an Adjunct Professor of Economics at Sciences Po Paris. Prior to this, he was group director of public policy and regulatory affairs at VEON and director of European legislative affairs, European government affairs and public advocacy at NYSE Euronext. Rabah has had a successful diplomatic and legal career having worked as a counsellor for major corporations and states. Rabah is a founding member of the Transatlantic Network 2020, which brings innovative perspectives on transatlantic relations by connecting rising North American and European leaders of tomorrow. He has also been awarded the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations Fellowship and selected as a member of the Young Atlanticists Group by the Atlantic Council.
Boštjan is a journalist, author and playwright. He is currently a foreign correspondent with Slovenia’s largest daily newspaper, DELO. He has also written for major international media outlets including The New York Times, BBC World, POLITICO and the Atlantic Post. An experienced war reporter, Boštjan has covered major events ranging from conflicts in Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo to natural disasters in Southeast Asia. He has so far published three books including 21st Century Conflicts: Remnants of War(s) in 2012, which was a national best-seller in his native Slovenia and was also published in the US.
Jamila is a leading innovator in the fields of youth involvement and social outreach in the Netherlands. She currently works as an independent strategic consultant and sits on the supervisory board of Stichting JES Rijnland, an organisation which promotes the rights of children and young people in education and society. Jamila previously worked as a senior international political trainer for the the Max van der Stoel Foundation, where she worked with political parties and politicians in the Middle East, Eastern Europe and North Africa on a range of topics, including diversity, the inclusion of young people and women, EU enlargement and democracy. She is the former Dutch women’s representative to the United Nations and a former member of the European Elections Programme Committee of the Social Democratic Party of the Netherlands (PVDA). Jamila is also an alumna of Israel’s future European leaders programme and the US Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program.
Wouter is the founder of Newsmonkey.be, a social media tailor-made news website, partly funded by a successful crowd-funding action. In 2013, he made a documentary and book about the future of the news business: Stop The Presses: the Golden Age of Journalism starts now. The documentary was partly based on his experience as the Editor-in-Chief of De Morgen that he managed for over 2 years. Before that, he worked at De Standaard, as a political journalist, and won several Belfius-press prizes. During that period he acquired his passion for politics and the inner workings of the system, which resulted in a fiction series about Belgian politics that he co-wrote for television and that will air in Belgium. He holds an MA in Political Journalism from the Columbia School of Journalism in New York. He also has a Master in Business from the Vlerick Management School in Ghent and a Masters in Politics at Ghent University and Université de Bretagne Occidentale.
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