The EU’s new Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson has announced more than €13m in emergency funding to support the integration of immigrants in Italy and Spain.
The funding, announced at a European Committee of the Regions conference titled ‘Go local: supporting regions, cities and rural areas in migrants’ integration’, will be allocated to host communities which have recently experienced a substantial influx of immigrants and refugees. Commissioner Johansson said: “Integration is everyone’s responsibility. It concerns host communities and new arrivals alike, and local, regional and national governments have a key role in promoting and maintaining social cohesion. As Commissioner for Home Affairs, I will ensure that integration is a priority for this Commission as a key element of successful management of migration.”
€10.3m of the funding will go towards supporting the Italian Local Government Network for Rapid Response and Fast Track Inclusion Services in Disadvantaged Urban Areas (LGNet) project, which supports civic engagement endeavours for disadvantaged immigrant communities, inclusive housing provision and ensuring access to basic health and social care facilities. Just over €3m will be directed to Spain’s Activities in Response to the Immigration Situation in the South of Spain (AMIGO 2019) programme, which offers basic assistance to migrants who need it and supports the Spanish Ministry of Interior’s Civil Guard in deploying border and coastal surveillance.
Karl-Heinz Lambertz, President of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Home Affairs and the European Committee of the Regions, said: “We need to end scaremongering, do away with divisive, populist rhetoric and work with pragmatism, fairness and solidarity. Over the past decade, cities and towns across Europe have welcomed and supported refugees during a time of austerity. The Integration Initiative continues to grow, showing that villages, towns, cities and regions are helping integrate newcomers every day, and, in the process, creating inclusive communities. The Commissioner’s presence today, to engage with regions and cities so early on in her tenure, demonstrates that Europe is not only listening, but willing to act locally.”