The first Study Visit of the Social Affairs Forum for 2021 took place virtually on 6-7 July 2021. The title of the event was: “Inclusion of Migrants, Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Europe - State of the Art and Exchange of Good Practices during the Pandemic and Beyond”. Participants form our member organisations and their networks took part in the event. The Study Visit was divided into 3 main sessions.
The first session was held in the morning of 6 July. On this occasion an important first step in the direction of the creation of a Task Force on Migration was made. The results of a survey disseminated among members on their ideas and vision regarding the Task Force were analysed. Consequently, some of the members who were present expressed their interest in creating the Task Force and outlined their expectations. The Task Force will be led by members and supported by SOLIDAR Secretariat; it will focus on the development of advocacy, joint projects, and internal exchange of information. Next steps will be carried out in the coming months to officially launch it.
During the first session the concept of community of practice (COP) was also explored. In terms of chore features, a COP is a community that shares a same domain of interest and action and that cooperates to develop joint actions, discuss, share information, and build relations. Therefore, SOLIDAR network and its members are all COPs and should foster this role in order to increase their impact. To conclude the first session, the Secretariat presented policy developments at the EU level in the field of migrants’ inclusion.
The second session of the Study Visit consisted in the final conference of the SIRIUS project, which concerns the integration of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in the European labour market. During the conference, the results of the project were presented in a creative way through the screening of the filmed theatre play “Routes”. Read our article and watch the film.
The third session took place in the morning of 7 July. This session was entirely dedicated to the exchange of good practices among members active in the field of migrants' inclusion. The exchange revolved around three main topics: employment, education and active citizenship, access to services. The good practices shared came from 7 countries (Croatia, France, Italy, Portugal, Serbia, Spain, Sweden) and were presented by the following organisations: ARCI, CMS, REMIV (Cémea), Liga de la Educación, PIN and Sigma Plus (IDC), Casa do Brasil de Lisboa (Redes Sem Fronteiras), RFSL, MPDL, Ligue de l’Enseignement.
The Study Vist was an occasion to reiterate the crucial role played by migration and inclusion policies for the achievement of just and cohesive societies. Progressive movements and parties should anchor their action in this idea in order to contrast far right and xenophobic counterparts and avoid the mistake of shifting away from progressive positions on the topic for the fear of losing political ground. CSOs’ role is pivotal for carrying out advocacy and amplifying the voice of migrants in Europe. For this reason, communities of practice like SOLIDAR network, its members and other progressive CSOs should join their forces for this objective. SOLIDAR’s upcoming Task Force on Migration will be a concrete step in this direction.