Local communities are the places where integration happens. They offer great opportunities for migrants and non-migrants to interact, be it through working, studying or raising their families. But local communities also face challenges regarding integration and inclusion. The EU works very closely with local and regional authorities in the design and implementation of integration policies and supports them through funding.
The Urban Agenda for the EU Partnership on Inclusion of Migrants and Refugees
The partnership brings to the same table cities, national governments, the European Commission and civil society organisations to discuss and put in place concrete actions to improve migrants’ integration in the EU. Launched under the umbrella of the Urban Agenda for the EU, the first phase of the partnership run in the 2016-2019 period. Among the main results of the partnership are:
- the creation of the European Migrant Advisory Board, a self-led group of advisors with immigrant and refugee-backgrounds, providing advice on integration matters
- the creation of the Urban Academy on Integration, a training programme on integration for policymakers from cities and regions
In its current 2021-2022 phase, the partnership strives to consolidate past achievements while also addressing new challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic. To learn about the concrete Urban Agenda objectives and their implementation, see the 2021-2022 action plan here.
Several EU funds support local and regional authorities in their integration activities, such as the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF), the European Social Fund (ESF) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). All funding opportunities can be found on EWSI here.
Committee of the Regions
The European Committee of the Regions (CoR) is the voice of regions and cities in the European Union. It represents local and regional authorities across the EU and advises on new laws that have an impact on regions and cities. In 2019, the Committee of the Regions launched the Cities and Regions for Integration Initiative (CRII) to promote exchanges between local and regional authorities working on integration. A recent 2020 CRII study, for example, explores the good practices and challenges in migrants' integration within smaller cities and rural areas, and outlines CoR's role in further strengthening integration.
Those who are working in cities and are looking for specific information on studies, projects and funding opportunities can also visit the Commission's webpage Inclusion of migrants and refugees in cities.