The official launch meeting of the CITIES GROW project ‘Cities integrating refugees and migrants through economic activities’ was held on 15-16 May in Brussels. Representatives from all 16 partner cities (Athens, Barcelona, Birmingham, Brighton & Hove, Dresden, Gdansk, Ghent, Helsinki, Lisbon, Munich, Nantes, Nicosia, Riga, Rotterdam, Tampere, Utrecht) as well 3 expert partner organisations (Migration Policy Group, Migration Policy Institute and Migration Work) attended the two day meeting. EUROCITIES, lead partner of the project, organised and coordinated the event while Migration Work provided training on the methodology to all partners.
The first day started with a general introduction by EUROCITIES on the Integrating Cities Charter, the framework of CITIES GROW and its main objectives. It continued with two presentations by Agnese Papadia and Raffaella Battella from the European Commission’s DG HOME. Ms. Papadia explained the main pillars of the EU integration framework and Ms. Battella briefed the partners on the administrative and financial requirements of the project.
In the afternoon, trainers Sue Lukes and Ceri Hutton of Migration Work delivered actively engaged the partners on the mentoring methodology through a mix of presentations, interactive exchange and games. Focused group sessions continued the next day tackling aspects such as outputs and goals of the project, transferability of good practices and action planning.
The final four breakout sessions gathered the cities of each mentoring scheme ‘cluster’ chaired by their respective expert facilitator. The cluster sessions allowed the partners to discuss the prepared benchmarks in a collaborative way in advance of the meeting, and define cities’ needs and possible gaps for the first round of study visits. These study visits will see each implementing city visiting its mentor city and will take place between September and December 2017.