28.9.2007

Embargoed until delivery

WELCOME BY MR VAN DER LINDEN,

PRESIDENT OF THE PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY
TO MR BRUNSON MCKINLEY, DIRECTOR GENERAL OF THE INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR MIGRATION (IOM)

(Strasbourg, Monday 1st October 2007)

Dear Mr. McKinley,

It is a pleasure to welcome you again to our Assembly that you also addressed in 2003. Since then, Migration has become an issue at the top of the European and World-wide policy agenda.

An illustration is the fact that this afternoon; the Assembly will debate and vote three important and sometimes controversial reports on different aspects of migration and integration.

I have myself, taken the initiative, together with the Government of North Rhine-Westphalia, and in co-operation with the European Parliament, to organise a European Day on Migration and Integration later this year in Aachen, with a particular emphasis on inter-cultural and inter-religious dialogue. My good friend and Chairman of the Migration Committee, Mr. Çavuşoğlu, is actively preparing this event with his Committee.

Regarding the relations between the IOM and our Assembly and its Migration Committee, these have been very good under your Directorship, and I want to thank you for all assistance IOM has given us during the elaboration of numerous reports and conferences.

I also think our Assembly should know that since you took office in 1998, the IOM has increased its membership from 67 states to 120 states. Your number of projects has doubled and the IOM’s budget has increased 3 times. You have also taken the initiative to set up the Global Migration Group to face the future challenges of migration and mobility world-wide.

I hope that your presence here today and our debate will give a new impetus for the strengthening of relations and co-operation between the IOM and the Council of Europe.

Mr. McKinley, the floor is yours.