Integration of migrants and refugees

New EU Integration Partnership for Local Action

Brussels, 19 March. Integration initiative ccre

Today, a new Integration Partnership was launched between the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) and the European Commission. As Ylva Johansson, the European Commissioner for Home Affairs stated: “This partnership will increase support to all cities and regions to open a constructive dialogue on topics related to integration.”

This partnership is, as Commissioner Johansson stated, the first concrete result of the Action plan on integration and inclusion presented in November 2020. Local and regional governments have already put in place a number of important good practices in the area of integration. However, many still face challenges accessing funding, data and knowledge. All these are obstacles that make it difficult to promote integration and inclusion at the local level.

This new partnership aims to strengthen the dialogue between the Commission, the Committee of the Regions, and local and regional authorities on integration. More concrete objectives are :

  • To map the territorial impact of migration and identify specific needs of the most affected local and regional authorities through political roundtables and public consultations;
  • To build capacity and promote exchange of local best practices on different aspects of integration and on community sponsorship by organising workshops, study visits, mentoring and exchange programmes;
  • To improve data on integration at the local level, by providing information on the European Website on Integration, or the EU Annual Local and Regional Barometer and other sources.

The partnership will build on the already established cooperation under the Cities and Regions for Integration initiative, which was launched by the European Committee of the Regions in 2019 together with CEMR and other regional and local authorities networks, such as  Eurocities, Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR) and Assembly of European Regions (AER). This initiative already offers a political platform for European mayors and regional leaders to showcase positive examples of integration, promote diversity as an added value and ensure social cohesion. It also gives a stronger voice to small municipalities, medium-sized cities and regions by encouraging city-to-city cooperation, promoting solidarity and tackling disinformation.

With the IncluCities project and activities within Inclusion Partnership of the EU Urban Agenda, CEMR and its associations of local and regional governments are already showcasing the importance of collaboration, knowledge exchange and promotion of the best integration practices on a local level.

CEMR’s Migration and Integration officer Maria Grazia Montella noted that this new partnership is: “An important step forward towards the recognition of the substantial and foremost role that local authorities play in the welcoming and integration of migrants and refugees communities in Europe. Commissioner Ylva Johansson inaugurated the brand-new Partnership on the Integration of Migrants. The partnership will play a key role  in supporting EU cities and regions in their work on integration.”

Good practices on integration are gathered on the European website on integration run by the European Commission.