IncluCities training academy in Brussels

Learning one form another to improve migrant integration practices

at the local level

family photo 2


Press release by BRULOCALIS

Brussels, 8 December 2022 - On 7 and 8 December 2022, the Training Academies IncluCities were held in Brussels, marking the end of this EU-funded project led by CEMR (Council of European Municipalities and Regions) and aiming at improving the integration of foreign nationals in European cities. The City of Brussels and the municipality of Schaerbeek have been involved in this project for the past three years, with the support of Brulocalis, to strengthen the links and exchange of knowledge and experience in this field between local authorities. A look back at the lessons learned over the past three years.

Over the last decade, migration flows have transformed cities in Europe, mobilising local and regional authorities in the reception and inclusion of migrants and refugees in order to meet the needs related to their settlement in a new host country. Local authorities play a key role in the integration of migrants through a range of measures taken at the local level, such as housing and education.

In the midst of the migration crisis, it is worth highlighting some initiatives that have a local impact when they prove successful. The IncluCities project, coordinated by the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR), and funded by the European Union's Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF), brought together eight European cities and associations of local authorities for three years (2020-2022) to reflect on how to better integrate migrants on the ground, through this city-to-city cooperation.

IncluCities or mentoring applied to migration policies

The IncluCities initiative aims to bring together cities with varying degrees of experience, means and resources to learn from each other and make long-term recommendations on the integration of foreign nationals. This is the purpose of the project: to capitalise on experiences and exchange good practices by following a mentoring approach. Thus, four "mentor" cities worked with four "mentee" cities, with the support of their respective local associations.

In the Brussels region, the City of Brussels and the Municipality of Schaerbeek were involved as mentors, with the support of Brulocalis, the association representing Brussels local authorities, in relation to their mentee cities, Saint-Jean-de-la-Ruelle (France) and Jelgava (Latvia) respectively.

According to a report by the Federal Public Service Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue, presented at the Training Academies, nearly 80% of the inhabitants of the Brussels-Capital Region are of non-Belgian origin. Four out of five Brussels residents were not born to two Belgian parents and, therefore, probably experienced migratory movements before settling in the capital, with very different life paths, whether they originate from EU countries or have fled countries in a state of war. It is an understatement to say that this is an important issue for the cosmopolitan Brussels region.

Results after three years

Over the past three years, the IncluCities project has conducted study visits to identify areas where the integration policy of these cities could be improved. Aspects addressed have included: education and training, housing, access to basic services, active participation and social inclusion, including exchanges between the host society and migrants.

Training workshops were organised in order to capitalise on the expertise accumulated and to extend it to other local authorities concerned with the proper implementation of migrant management policies.

These two days, entitled Training Academies IncluCities, which were held in Brussels, in the heart of the Belgian and European capital, brought the project to a close and marked the time for taking stock.

The two-morning colloquiums and afternoon workshops were attended by a number of political representatives who came to exchange their final points of view, as well as other stakeholders who came to present the results of the project, such as a Women's House created in Saint-Jean-de-la-Ruelle on the model of the one in Schaerbeek, or the Digital Counters set up by the Bureaux d'Accueil des Primo-Arrivants (BAPA) in Brussels and Schaerbeek, in the form of one-stop-shops, accessible in different languages, to centralise all information for migrants. The action plans of the French and Latvian "learning cities", which aim to improve their performance on the ground, were also shared.

Various Belgian experts or representatives of local Brussels associations - including Pierre Verbeeren, who spoke about the management of the integration of Ukrainians in the Brussels region - were invited to debate and discuss various issues related to the reception and integration of migrants in the fields of employment and professional integration, linguistic integration, access to housing for newcomers, equal opportunities and the situation of migrant women.

Local associations, as well as local authorities and CPAS in Brussels, were invited to participate in order to share the results of this three-year cooperation, in particular the role of the City of Brussels and the municipality of Schaerbeek in supporting the mentored cities.

Key European support and dissemination

IncluCities aims not only to disseminate good practices at the city level but also to ensure that the solutions formulated in the project are reflected in future European migration policies.

In this respect, local and regional government associations, such as Brulocalis for the Brussels region, have played a central role, both in accompanying the mentor and learner cities throughout the process but also in disseminating the results and good practices of the project in their respective networks, while acting as an interface with national governments and EU institutions.


Brulocalis press contact: CĂ©line Mercier, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

IncluCities contact at Brulocalis: Justyna Podrazka, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

See the detailedprogramme of the training academy. Check the IncluCities Twitter thread of Day 1 and Day 2 of the training academies.


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