The role of local and regional authorities and communities in shaping and implementing policies on integration of immigrants will be the focus of an expert conference which is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, November 20, in Lefkosia (Nicosia). The conference is organised by the Cyprus Presidency of the Council of the EU and will be attended by representatives of EU institutions, governmental representatives from the Network of the National Contact Points on Integration, officials from European cities local and regional authorities, representatives from civil society, experts and researchers and other stakeholders.
The aim of the conference is to facilitate an exchange of ideas and experiences by way of critical reflection on the direction, meaning, implementation and contextualisation of integration policies in the EU. The focus on local and regional governance and communities intends to reflect the need to think of migrant integration from a multiplicity of perspectives that transcend the top down approach in terms of conception, through an understanding and practise of policy.
Cyprus’ Minister of Interior, Ms Eleni Mavrou, will open the conference, while Mr Kyriakos Triantafyllides, member of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) of the European Parliament, and Ms Marta Cygan, Director of Immigration and Asylum of the Home Affairs Directorate General of the European Commission will address the opening of the conference. Closing remarks will be provided by Mr Demetrios Kalogeropoulos, Member of the Committee of the Regions and Rapporteur on the European Agenda for Integration, and by the Mayor of Nicosia Mr Constantinos Yiorkadjis. The conference will be chaired by University of Nicosia Professor and migration/integration expert, Dr Nicos Trimikliniotis.
“Integration has acquired urgent importance”
“Integration covers a very wide range of policy areas which create a general framework where migrants and non-migrants alike coexist, cooperate, exchange ideas, experiences and socio-cultural expressions as they jointly shape society as it evolves”, said Ms Mavrou. “Within the current climate of economic crisis and social turmoil, uncertainty and fear, as well as the question of immigrant integration has acquired urgent importance”, she added. In order to address the challenges that lie ahead, ‘social exclusion’ needs to be combated so as to develop sustainable communities, a crucial element in the formulation of a successful integration policy in practice.
The conference in Lefkosia (Nicosia) will place emphasis on how crucial the notion of inclusiveness is in urban and rural development, in services and policies at local, national and regional levels. The conference further aims to discuss how to develop integration policy frameworks that would redress the elements of exclusion that undermine the basic premise of integration as inclusion, through the generating of a closer union, through solidarity and a sense of co-belonging.
A multi-level approach to immigrant integration
Discussions will focus on the concept of integration as a dynamic two-way process of mutual accommodation by all immigrants and residents of Member States. The conference will offer the opportunity to assess the possible adoption of a multi-level approach to integration which draws on the logic that democratic and inclusive policy-making requires that EU governance is based on the most effective participation of all stakeholders at all levels of governance both from above and below. Both global and regional issues will be addressed, such as migration-related phenomena and transnational initiatives, which simultaneously value, appreciate and respect national, regional and local specificities and contexts and reflect this in practise. The conference will utilise ‘good practises’ based on the following principles:
- Anti-exclusion, anti-discrimination
- Effectiveness and Impact
- Review and assessment
- Participation of beneficiaries
The first session of the day’s discussions will lay the foundation for the discussion on integration as a genuine dynamic and multi-faceted process from the perspective of enhancing participation, access and belonging. The current reality will be mapped out so that a critical evaluation may be undertaken regarding the successes, weaknesses and failures thus far, so as to enlighten future policy-making initiatives.
The second session will revolve around the topic of the contribution of migrants within society and in the final session of the day various paradigms of multi-level governance will be drawn upon in relation to the design and implementation of integration policies.
The conference is co-funded by the European Integration Fund of the European Union.
Ministry of Interior
External Dimension of Migration / Integration
Telephone: +357 22867622
Ministry of Interior
EU Affairs Unit
Telephone: +357 22867721