The last plenary session of the European Committee of the Regions on 19th March saw the official launch of a new CoR/European Commission DG HOME partnership on integration. This partnership – foreseen in the European Commission’s new Action Plan on Integration and Inclusion 2021-2027 – builds on the existing Cities and Regions for Integration initiative, launched in 2019, of which the CPMR is an associated partner. It is a clear sign that the EU institutions recognise the important role of regional and local authorities in integration and inclusion and wish to give them a greater voice at the European level.
The partnership aims to:
Build an open and regular dialogue between the Commission, the Committee of the Regions, and local and regional authorities on integration through political roundtables, public consultations and a new forum to map the territorial impact of migration and identify specific needs of the most affected local and regional authorities;
Build capacity and promote exchange of experiences for local and regional authorities on different aspects of integration and on community sponsorship through workshops, online training materials, study visits, mentoring and exchange programmes;
Improve evidence and data on integration at the local level, for example by providing information on the European Website on Integration, drawing on data collected in the EU Annual Local and Regional Barometer and other sources.
Starting early summer this year, a series of events is planned, including a high-level conference in early autumn in the presence of Commissioner Schinas. The Committee of the Regions has also commissioned a study entitled “Barometer on the Territorial Impact of Migration” due in the second half of 2021.
The CPMR is already in discussions with the Committee of the Regions to identify areas of collaboration and synergies with its own activities, including through the REGIN Project. Given the configuration of its membership, which is made up of peripheral and maritime regions, the CPMR has been clearly identified as a key partner in shaping the Forum of forefront regions as foreseen under Objective 1 of the partnership document.
In addition, we see this new partnership as a great opportunity to promote the results of our REGIN Project and the tools we are developing to enhance regional policies and performance on the integration and inclusion of migrants and refugees by:
The CPMR is looking forward to making the most of this new channel to contribute to the European policy debate and share experiences and knowledge in the field of migrant and refugee integration at the regional level.