EUROCITIES was involved in a series of events on 28, 29 and 30 March 2017, which focused on the use of EU funds to foster the reception and integration of third country nationals, asylum seekers and refugees.
The European Integration Network, which is the new form taken by the former National Contact Points on Integration, had its second meeting on 28 March. It is composed of national managing authorities of the Asylum Migration & Integration Fund. EUROCITIES and several of its members attended the meeting to discuss with these national authorities good and bad practices on collaboration with local authorities.
On 29 March, the EU Info-Day on integration funding gathered national authorities, EU institutions, and regional and local practitioners to discuss the future of integration funding (Asylum Migration and Integration Fund, European Social Fund, European Regional Development Fund / AMIF, ESF, ERDF). Andréas Schönström, deputy mayor of Malmo and vice-chair of the EUROCITIES Social Affairs Forum, took part in the opening panel and made a strong point for direct city access to EU funding, as national authorities are sometimes unable or unwilling to guarantee that funding reaches the level where it is most needed. EUROCITIES was furthermore represented during a workshop on ‘expectations about the future of integration funding’.
Finally, on 30 march, the EU Urban Partnership on inclusion of migrants and refugees met to discuss its action plan, after a first year of exploratory work which included two public working conferences and two high-level political roundtables. EUROCITIES, with the support of is working group migration & integration, will lead on a crucial action which aims to explore potential reforms of the current funding regulations to guarantee better access to EU integration funding for cities.