Rome conference mulls winning responses to Europe's migration crisis

The opportunities and challenges for Europe posed by migration was the focus of a conference in Rome on Thursday whose speakers included Paolo Gentiloni, foreign minister of Italy - one of the main arrival points for millions of refugees and asylum-seekers from the Mideast, Africa and Asia.

Key issues at the 'The New Europe: Migration, Integration and Security' conference' were the social integration of newly arrived migrants and guaranteeing security across the European continent, especially amid the threat of Islamist terrorism.

Europe is facing an unprecedented migration crisis triggered by the Syrian conflict, while violence in Pakistan and Iraq, poverty and oppression and terrorism in Africa are all contributing to the phenomenon, the conference agreed.

If Europe gives a cohesive and effective response to migration, this can provide the continent with political, social, economic and demographic opportunities, not just challenges, speakers at the conference concluded.

Italy's justice minister Angelino Alfano, ex-Italian premier Romano Prodi, former EU commissioner and ex-Italian foreign minister Emma Bonino and the chairman of Italian bank Unicredit, Giuseppe Vita, also addressed the conference, as well as top European officials, business and charity representatives.

The conference was organised with the European Council for Foreign Relations think-tank as part of the East Forum 2016, with support from Unicredit, Italy's largest bank.