Joint statement by the European Commission and the High Representative on International Migrants Day

On the occasion of International Migrants Day, the European Commission and the High Representative have issued the following statement:

"Today, an estimated 281 million people worldwide live outside their country of origin, choosing to live, work and study outside their home country. Migration is as old as humanity. As an integral part of human history, migration remains a constant. Migrant workers contribute to the prosperity and cultural diversity of their countries of destination, along with the economies in their countries of origin.

The European Union places a high priority on establishing safe and legal pathways, to mitigate and reduce irregular migration. We value the enriching role and contribution migrants bring to our societies and are committed to bolstering the protection of their rights and safety. The European Union is also stepping up its collaboration with countries around the world to create more legal opportunities for people to come to work and study in Europe.

At the same time, displacement and migratory movements driven by poverty and lack of opportunities, poor governance, conflict, climate change and natural disasters are reaching record numbers. The UNHCR predicts more than 130 million forcibly displaced persons in 2024. The protection of vulnerable migrants and refugees must be ensured, and the root causes of irregular migration and displacement addressed. We must not allow criminal networks to thrive on the desperation of people. In the newly formed Global Alliance to counter migrant smuggling, the European Union, together with partners around the world, pledged to take decisive action against criminal smuggling networks that exploit people on the move and put their lives at risk.

Long-term and sustainable solutions are necessary to manage migration. To that end, the Pact on Migration and Asylum, on which work is currently ongoing, puts forward a comprehensive approach to manage migration in a fair and effective way, providing a balance between solidarity and responsibility."