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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Brussels Forum and the Impact of the Mideast Conflict in Europe

I will be attending the Brussels Forum that is put on by the German Marshall Fund this week (March 25-27).  The focus is on issues related to Transatlantic security, trade, etc...and immigration won't be very high on the agenda, but I will also be attending a conference on minority political participation, being held by the Helsinki Commission on Thursday.  I will blog from both events.

Europe is facing many challenges on the immigration front, including the prospect of refugees coming from conflict areas in the Middle East.  Although there is a European Border Agency (FRONTEX) it is relatively new and mainly focused on coordination, rather than taking actions on its own.  The EU is not yet in a position to come to the aid (see the article in my blog from March 10th) of countries dealing with inflows of refugees, despite the fact that this is one of the key areas of cooperation on immigration.  I will be curious to see if any of the discussions during the forum touch on these issues.  There seems to be a trend toward focusing on immigration and in particular immigrant integration as a security issue (see David Cameron's Munich speech), which would fit into the broader agenda of the Brussels Forum.  In the past I have been disappointed with the speakers chosen to talk about the immigration issue -- we'll see how things go this year.

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