Current migration and refugee fluxes present opportunities as well as challenges. European communities and municipalities, as well as organized civil society, have considerable experience in integrating a highly diverse and culturally rich immigrant population into the local community. We should make better use of their experience in developing strategies on how best to integrate immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers and encourage their participation in labour markets and society.
The two-day kick-off meeting of the Horizon 2020 project SIRIUS, led by the Caledonian University of Glasgow, was organized in Brussels by SOLIDAR. SIRIUS builds on a cross-national comparative design that includes seven European countries with different degrees of exposure to the recent migration and refugee crisis and different socio-economic contexts, and; an integrated methodological approach based on quantitative data gathering and analyses of macroeconomic, labour market forecasting, qualitative analyses and related data gathering tools including in-depth interviews, focus groups, observations, organizational study. The consortium is composed of SOLIDAR members as well as many educational institutes and universities. The main aim of the meeting was to present all members as well as roles and responsibilities related to different work packages.
In the framework of the meeting, SOLIDAR organized a public lunch talk that aimed to present the best practices field of reception and integration of migrants. The interesting presentations by Solidarity Now, NGO, Greece and SOLIDAR members CDI Serbia (Firsthand information from Serbia) and Arci Liguria (Best practice from Italy) were followed by discussion with public as well as invited interlocutors from European Commission , UNHCR (UN Refugee Agency) and UNRISD ( UN Institute for Research and Social Development).