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Europe: New Integration Network takes off with first meeting

As a key measure of the 2016 EU Action Plan on the integration of third country nationals, the National Contact Points on Integration have undergone a make-over to become the European Integration Network- EIN, which has a stronger coordination role and mutual learning mandate. On 11 and 12 October 2016 in Brussels, the network held its first meeting with a focus on three hot topics: integration through sport and culture; promoting diversity and combating discrimination; as well as participation in local governments. The European Web Site on Integration is now publishing a report summarising the content discussed during the meeting.

Workshop discussions were based on eight good practice presentations and brought up some key lessons:

  • Culture and sport are very good entry points for integration, as they give refugees and asylum seekers the chance to meet locals, build friendships and find work. Public administrations should identify barriers and suggest steps to make organisations such as sports clubs more inclusive to refugees and migrants.
  • It is important for asylum seekers and refugees to remain active while in centres and to keep practising their skills. In this context, self-empowerment is a key, as it shifts people’s mindset from a ‘victim approach’ to a ‘competence approach’.
  • Involving refugees in the work of a migrant centre or support organisation helps them to keep busy, acquire skills and learn about the host country. It also offers migrants the chance to discuss with people who have had similar experiences.
  • Individual guidance is a key element of successful integration. Holding courses about subjects (e.g. civic orientation) in the migrant’s language helps ensure they acquire the skills that they need.
  • People will only participate fully in their local community once confidence, trust and a sense of belonging have been created. For example, there is a shortage of teachers and police officers with a migrant background because of a lack of confidence.
  • And more. Read the full report of the first EIN meeting

The European Integration Network is to promote cooperation with national, local and regional authorities; civil society organisations and other EU level networks in connected policy areas (employment, education, equality, etc.). With a stronger coordination role and mutual learning mandate, members will participate in targeted learning activities such as study visits, peer reviews, mutual assistance and peer learning workshops on specific aspects of integration. The European Website on Integration will be your first source of information for all upcoming EIN activities.

Other measures from the 2016 Action Plan on Integration

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