EU Commission and CoR Partnership Launched to Support EU Local Authorities in Migrant Integration Efforts
A new partnership to assist cities and regions across the EU to receive additional support in their work to integrate migrants has been announced as part of the 141st plenary meeting of the European Committee of the Regions, held virtually from Brussels, this week. The European Commission and the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) are set to join forces in the development of the New Pact on Migration and Asylum.
The European Commission’s proposal for a New Pact on Migration and Asylum is a “welcome and necessary” initiative that would – if approved – help build resilient communities as well as manage migration, according to the President of the European Committee of the Regions, Apostolos Tzitzikostas. He was speaking in a debate in which European Commissioner Ylva Johansson urged regions and cities to make use of increased EU funding available to support the integration of immigrants.
A central pillar of the New Pact on Migration and Asylum, first presented in September 2020, is an Action Plan on Integration and Inclusion for the period 2021-2027, drafted in November.
The partnership will build on the well-established cooperation between the European Commission and the European Committee of the Regions under the Cities and Regions for Integration initiative, launched by the CoR in 2019 to offer a political platform for European mayors and regional leaders to share information and showcase positive examples of integration of migrants and refugees.
The new partnership will support cities and regions in the EU through three main strands of work:
- Building an open and regular dialogue between EU institutions and local and regional authorities on integration
- Building capacity and promoting exchange of experiences for local and regional authorities
- Improving evidence and data on integration at a local level.
Apostolos Tzitzikostas (EL/EPP), President of the European Committee of the Regions and Governor of Central Macedonia, said, “Migration is not a challenge just for a few Member States, it is a matter for the whole of the European Union. The EU must support regions, cities and islands – such as Lesbos, Lampedusa and the Canary Islands – that are in the frontline to provide support, integration and other services to newly arrived migrants. While local authorities have put in place many successful and innovative practices for integration, they still face challenges in accessing funding, data and knowledge, in particular in small towns and rural areas. The partnership will support their efforts and show concretely that the EU is by their side in addressing the many challenges they are faced with.”
The latest tranche of funding available from the EU, totalling €37.2 million, was published in late November and will support projects that help migrant children and victims of trafficking, ease access to basic services, include migrants in the design and implementation of integration policies, and support the development of multi-stakeholder partnerships.
The CoR will agree its recommendations on the New Pact on Migration and Asylum at its plenary session in March 2021.
(Image courtesy of European Committee of the Regions via Flickr)