The Cities Network for Integration and the Directorate of Social Integration of the Ministry of Migration and Asylum launched their collaboration by co-organizing a conference on “Funding opportunities and perspectives to strengthen municipal services for migrants and refugees” with the participation of 13 municipalities.
The collaboration, which started in October 2022, aims at strengthening social structures and services at the local government level and the expertise of Municipalities and is part of the corresponding operational pillar of the Cities Network.
The member – Municipalities of the Cities Network for Integration, which operates with the support of the International Organization for Migration and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on the basis of a tripartite cooperation with the City of Athens, have highlighted the need for support regarding the claim and capitalization of financial opportunities, while particular emphasis has been placed on the field of integration into the labor market.
The director of Social Integration of the Ministry of Migration and Asylum, Nasos Vitsentzatos, underlined that the Cities Network for Integration will be the intermediate, critical connecting link between Central Government and the Local Government, both for updating and promoting integration activities and programs for Third Country Nationals, as well as for the transfer of know-how.
On that note he said: “The participation of the Directorate of Social Integration of the Ministry of Migration and Asylum in the work of the Cities Network for Integration will strengthen all sides and primarily the beneficiaries of social integration policies, as through the Network the immediate update of any new integration projects implemented by the Ministry and the Directorate of Social Integration to the Municipalities is achieved. Finally, the cooperation of the Cities Network for Integration with the Directorate of Social Integration will strengthen the role of the Network and intensify its capabilities to strengthen local municipal services and institutions, but mainly to assist the implementation of integration policies in the field, in local level”.
“The cooperation of the Cities Network for Integration with the Directorate of Social Integration of the Ministry of Migration and Asylum is the proof of the value of coordination between local government and the central administration in order to create new possibilities and opportunities. We are particularly pleased that the Cities Network is proving to be a useful networking mechanism that can contribute both to the strengthening of municipal services and to the promotion of integration activities of a national scope and to support their implementation with the necessary know-how”, said Melina Daskalaki, Special Advisor to the Mayor of Athens for the support and social integration of migrants and refugee of the City of Athens.
The European Social Fund Actions Coordination and Monitoring Authority (EYSEKT) participated in the meeting and presented the special objectives and activities of the European Social Fund (ESF) 2021 – 2027 for Third Country Nationals to the beneficiary municipalities. The establishment of new Migrant Integration Centers (KEM), as structures that have the ability to implement integration activities, as well as the safeguarding and strengthening of the role of the existing KEMs, constituted the main topics of discussion.
Afterwards, the Municipalities of Thessaloniki and Athens shared with the member – Municipalities of the Network points that need attention and good practices when submitting proposals for the ESF.
In the last part of the meeting, the director of Social Integration of the Ministry, Nasos Vitsentzatos, presented the integration activities of the Directorate of Social Integration and highlighted their interconnection with the local government.
Both from the side of the Central Administration and the Local Government, a common interest in networking and cooperation for the transfer of good practices on both sides was expressed, as well as the definition of joint planning and implementation of activities and next steps in this direction.
The meeting was attended by the Municipalities of Agios Dimitrios, Athens, Delta, Heraklion Crete, Thessaloniki, Ioannina, Kalamaria, Karditsa, Larissa, Neaopoli-Sykeon, Piraeus, Tripoli, Chania and the following Development Agencies/public benefit enterprises: Karditsa Development (ANKA), Parnonas Development, Public Benefit Enterprise of the Municipality of Livadia (KEDIL).
More information regarding CNI: https://www.cnigreece.gr/en/about-cni/