This fifth conference in our Integrating Cities series took place in Amsterdam on 8-9 March 2012.
Over 250 representatives from cities, regional and national governments, EU institutions, civil society, academia and international organisations gathered in Amsterdam to address the main challenges and implementation gaps around migrant integration in Europe today.
The Conference was hosted by Amsterdam and EUROCITIES and formed part of the MIXITIES project, which is co-financed by the European Commission's DG home affairs through the European Integration Fund.
Opening the conference, Andrée Van Es, Vice Mayor of Amsterdam, explained:
“Cities stand at the forefront of European migration and integration. Especially in times of crisis, be it economic, social or cultural, cities need to uphold European solidarity and resist the mechanism to close off and lash out against what is considered threatening”.
The event honed in on the issue of multi-level governance and a strategic partnership between the EU and cities and regions to implement the immigrant integration agenda in Europe.
Stefano Manservisi, Director General of Home Affairs of the European Commission said that:
“Europe's cities are the best example of openness to diversity”.
EUROCITIES members Madrid, Rennes Metropole and Riga signed our Integrating Cities Charter, bringing the total number of signatories to 27. By signing the charter, cities commit to strengthen their efforts in ensuring equal opportunities and non-discrimination for migrants through their roles as policy makers, service providers, buyers of goods and services and employers.
The event also saw the attending mayors and vice mayors back the Amsterdam Statement, which urges governments of all member states, regions and cities to work constructively together on migrant integration. The MIXITIES video on migrant youth views on integration was also launched at the conference.
Participants took part in a series of high-level panels, workshops and site visits to discuss an array of issues related to the practical implementation of integration at the local level including the role of women in migrant integration, the participation of migrants in society, procurement and leadership.
The Integrating Cities conference series is the largest debate on migrant integration for cities in Europe. The conference in Amsterdam is the fifth such conference in the Integrating Cities series, which examines migrant integration in Europe, focusing on the concrete work done at local and city level around this issue. A video report and the findings of the conference are available at www.integratingcities2012.eu.