Focus on local solutions to address migration challenges says PES network
Addressing the challenge of migration must start at a local level, the PES Migration & Integration Network agreed during its meeting in Brussels today.
The network, which regularly brings together policymakers and representatives from PES member parties across Europe, met to discuss local integration projects which are successfully helping refugees and other migrants to access basic services, find work and integrate into the local community, whilst also helping local communities to build resilience.
The meeting in Brussels was hosted by the PES Group in the Committee of the Regions and was attended by MEPs, progressive representatives from local authorities and civil society organisations around Europe.
Marije Laffeber, PES Deputy Secretary General, and member of the PES Migration & Integration Network said:
“Addressing the challenges of migration requires a long-term, sustainable strategy with a strong local focus. We need to invest in integration policies so refugees and other migrants can participate in society and access opportunities. We need to support them based on the values of solidarity, responsibility and humanitarianism and at the same time we need to strengthen the resilience of receiving communities.”
At the meeting the PES Network also expressed solidarity with Domenico Lucano, the mayor of Riace in Italy, who is currently under house arrest for allegedly facilitating “illegal migration”.
Marco Dus, Member of the PES Group in the Committee of the Regions and Councillor of Vittorio Veneto (Italy), said:
"As progressives, we stand with Mimmo Lucano and Riace, a worldwide recognised model of hospitality and integration. Lucano showed what a migration policy based on solidarity really is. The extraordinary experience of Riace is an example for the entire European Union and it must continue to live."
The meeting was attended by:
- Marije Laffeber, PES Deputy Secretary General
- Peter Bossman, Mayor of Piran (Slovenia) and PES coordinator in the CoR CIVEX Commission
- MEP Maria João Rodrigues, PS Portugal, Vice President of the S&D
- Marco Dus, Council Member of the Vittorio Veneto Municipal Council (Italy) and the Committee of the Regions
- Sabrina Halkic, Advisor on integration and migration in the city council Vienna
- Malisa Zobel, program director of the Municipal Integration and Development Initiative and Coordinator of the project “Integration of Refugees as a Joint Municipal Development” at the HUMBOLDT-VIADRINA Governance Platform
- MEP Brando Benifei, PD Italy
- Carina Ohlsson, SAP Sweden, chair of the PES Migration and Integration Network