Integration takes place at local level – this is clearly taken on board in the European Commission’s recently published EU Action Plan Integration and Inclusion 2021-2027, which includes many of Eurocities’ main advocacy points. The plan takes inclusion for all as its basis and outlines several objectives and actions to build inclusive and cohesive societies.
The action plan includes proposals to ensure easier access for cities to EU funding through increasing involvement in national programmes and specific national funding calls for cities. It specifies the strong involvement of cities in multi-governance partnerships and displays a clear recognition that cities play a key role in welcoming and integrating newcomers. Indeed, the importance of the local level in integration measures is a red line which runs through the entire action plan. It covers the main policy areas of relevance throughout the integration process: education and training, employment and skills, health, and access to adequate and affordable housing.
This summary and analysis of the responses to the Commission’s public consultation, to which Eurocities also responded, makes it clear that there was an impressive showing by local authorities, and that a large number of respondents echoed the fact that cities must receive more support from the EU. That these voices were heard and included is evident from the final wording of the action plan. We have also prepared a short policy briefing on the main points of relevance to cities, which you can find here.
To learn more about how cities are making integration work on the local level, you can join the Integrating Cities Conference to be held on 2-3 December by registering here.