AMIF┋Local and regional integration networks
In May 2015 the European Commission adopted the European Agenda on Migration (EAM), which brings together the different steps the European Union should take now, and in the coming years, to build up a coherent and comprehensive approach to reap the benefits and address the challenges deriving from migration. Building on the European Agenda on Migration and as announced in the Communication of 6 April 2016 on the reform of the common European asylum system and enhancing legal avenues to Europe, the Commission adopted an Action Plan on the integration of third-country nationals on 7 June 2016. The Action Plan is a general policy framework for integration and includes actions to support Member States across all the policy areas that are crucial for integration.
As stressed by the Action Plan on the integration of third-country nationals, the role of local and regional authorities in the integration process is crucial as most of integration measures are implemented at local level. Confronted with several challenges (inter alia lack of experience and knowledge in the field, lack of human and financial resources, political and societal environment not favourable to migrant integration), while facing direct demands to ensure the social and economic well-being of immigrants, the support of the EU can prove essential to help local governments rise to the challenge of integration and contributing to building inclusive and cohesive societies.
Due to the large influx of asylum seekers in 2015 and 2016, local and regional authorities in Europe are now facing several challenges relating to the different areas of integration such as education, housing, integration in the labour market, participation, health, etc. Many cities and regions are confronted with these challenges for the first time, with none or little prior experience in the field. Experience and knowledge on integration varies a lot between Member States and between local and regional authorities within each Member State.
In that respect, a recent study carried out by the OECD on the local integration of migrants and refugees has highlighted the need to share good practices between local authorities. The existing networks involve generally large cities and regions having a long experience on integration. The Commission considers it very valuable to give the possibility to local authorities having less experience in the field, and having been confronted with this issue only recently, to benefit from the knowledge and practices developed by experienced local authorities in that field.
Therefore, in order to promote the exchange of experiences on this topic at EU level, the Commission intends to finance transnational projects setting-up network of regions and cities to work together on integration. These projects, which will be implemented over a relatively long time-scale (up to 3 years), will allow transfer of knowledge, exchange of practices and experiences at local and regional level across Member States.
Partnerships should, in particular, include local and regional authorities having none or little experience on integration and local and regional authorities having experience in that area through the development of integration policies and measures.
The networks funded under this call should aim at exchanging and transferring knowledge and best practices in all relevant areas of integration, and in particular:
- Setting-up of local or regional strategies and policies in the field of integration
- Setting up of "one-stop-shop" structures for integration or local integration centres
- Education and training
- Access to basic services, including health services
- Integration in the labour market
- Promoting active participation and social inclusion
- Favouring exchanges between migrants and the host society as well as raise awareness on the benefits of integration
Considering the potential EU added value of large networks, projects involving more Member States than the minimum number identified in the eligibility criteria (see section 5.2.) would be particularly welcome.
Concretely, the objectives of this priority are to:
- Facilitate the transfer of experience and knowledge on integration between local and regional authorities at EU level through setting up networks of local and regional authorities at EU level
- In the context of the network, develop concrete projects and activities on integration at local or regional level (particularly in the areas indicated above), for which a support by a local or regional authority having experience on similar project might be useful, especially in the setting–up and the development of the first phase
- With the support of the network, promote exchanges, between the host society and migrants on the topic of integration
- Facilitate the dissemination of know-how and best practices beyond the partners of the network.
Although the networks should be mostly made of local and regional authorities where relevant and useful for the implementation of the projects and activities the partnerships could also involve NGOs, social and economic partners, employers as well as national authorities.
- Trainings, workshops, mutual learning activities aiming at transferring and sharing knowledge on integration
- Technical assistance from members of the network for setting up and implementing projects to local and regional authorities in the field of integration
- Transfer of knowledge between members of the network, implementation of projects in the field of integration
- Awareness raising activities and events organised at local level to facilitate integration (e.g. presenting success stories of integration, fighting prejudices).
- Create tools or platforms to facilitate the dissemination of know-how and best practices
The projects financed under this priority should achieve the following outcomes:
- Improve transnational cooperation between local and regional authorities for the integration of third-country nationals;
- Improve the situation and integration of third country nationals in cities/regions involved in the projects and/or demonstrate and evaluate how the national/transnational actions contributed in this regard;
- Share and exchange experiences, information and best practices on integration at local level;
- Develop and implement concrete integration projects and measures at local level following the exchange of information and experience between members of the network
Applicants are also invited to take note of, to avoid duplication with, and to build on projects previously funded by the EU in relation to legal integration. You may find additional information at: