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Europe: Urban Agenda partnership on migrant inclusion

On 30 May, the informal Ministerial meeting on urban matters agreed on the "Pact of Amsterdam", which sets out the principles of the EU Urban Agenda for multilevel governance.

The Partnership on the Inclusion of Migrants and Refugees, coordinated by the city of Amsterdam, is one of the 12 partnerships developed as part of the Urban Agenda so that cities, Member States, EU Institutions and stakeholders can work together to design action plans for a more effective and coherent implementation in urban areas of existing EU policies. This specific partnership aims to manage the integration of incoming non-EU migrants and refugees and to provide a framework for their inclusion based on willingness and integration capacity of local communities. This will cover: housing, cultural integration, provision of public services, social inclusion, education and labour market measures, chances of second-third generations and spatial segregation. The first exchange on 10 March showed that in practice, cities cannot benefit sufficiently from the funding for integration projects provided by the Commission, while cities are most directly confronted with the integration needs of migrants and refugees. The partnership cites a 2016 report by Eurocities, a member of the partnership, surveying refugee reception and integration in 34 cities in 18 European countries.

Integration raises specific issues of 'urban' planning and multilevel governance. URBACT, a member of the partnership, has outlined some of the partnership's goals. In terms of regulations, the partnership is drafting an extensive mapping of the regulations concerned, an exercise requiring better coordination among the different DGs. In terms of knowledge, there will be actions related to coordination of existing platforms, and mapping of practices and case studies of city-led migrants integration projects. In terms of funding, there will be actions to coordinate the existing funds: the EU Funds available for urban sustainable strategies (circa 15 billion €), and social inclusion (circa 21 billion €) should be better used to facilitate the cooperation of local authorities with managing authorities, national and/or regional. The first results of the Urban Innovative Actions show (50 proposals under the migrants and refugees strand, with an overall budgetary envelope for 2016 of 80 million€) an additional investment in the topic. Future steps of this partnerships is the organisation of ad hoc seminar in specific thematic areas as housing (involving the Affordable Housing partnership), jobs, education and community organising.

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Read URBACT's article