37 EUROCITIES members from 25 cities met in Lisbon on 5 & 6 April 2017, following the EUROCITIES Social Affairs Forum. They were joined by guests from the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) and from DG REGIO of the European Commission.
The members of the working group, chaired by Anu Riila (Helsinki) and Lefteris Papagiannakis (Vice-Mayor, Athens) discussed several topics currently considered as top priorities for European cities dealing with the integration of large numbers of third-country nationals, beneficiaries of international protection and undocumented migrants.The group discussed the future of EU funding for integration and cities' unequal access to it, following the meetings of the European Integration Network, the EU info-day on funding and the Urban Partnership meeting on 28, 29 and 30 March. The Working group is collaborating directly with the EU Commission (DG for Regional Policy and DG Migraiton and Home Affairs) to provide evidence about the obstacles faced by cities and their recommendations for the next programming period post 2020.
- The working group allocated its thematic session to the difficulties of working on refugee integration in the current political context, and decided to go forward with the development of its vision on the human rights approach of refugee and migrant integration.
- Catarina Homem and Joao Almeida present the Lisbon's integration strategy and refugee reception policies.
- Jan Braat, from the city of Utrecht, presented a 2-year project on provision of services to irregular migrants funded by the University of Oxford and Open Society and joined by several working group members.
The next working group meeting will take place in Helsinki in fall 2017.