On February 20-22, 2018, all partners involved in this EaSI PROGRESS project gathered in Gothenburg to discuss about different models for fast-track integration of migrants and refugees in European areas. The rationale behind this European Commission’s (EC) programme is to identify social innovation that — if successful — could be scaled up within the European Social Fund for the next period. Coordinated by Region Västra Götaland, the Fast-track Integration in European Regions (FIER) project got the best grade from all of the 29 proposals presented to this EC call, from which only 5 were finally selected.
For a period of two years, it will analyse the main challenges for new arrivals when it comes to establishment and integration. Building up on those findings, it willidentify, analyse, adapt and pilot different kinds of measures for inclusion, comprising the capitalisation of existing knowledge at local and regional level (from both main stakeholders and individuals). The overall goal is to discuss and further foster knowledge on how findings can facilitate the establishment of new arrivals by seeking synergies and assuming the EC Action Plan on integration of third-country nationals.
This kick-off meeting allowed the twelve partners — coming from different areas and organisations in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Norway, Sweden and Turkey — to establish a closer contact, to participate in different working groups focusing on the goals of the project, and to build further synergies in order to take it to the next step. The event also held presentations of the Support Group network as an example of best practices of integration in Restad Gård (Vänersborg). Finally, the partner representatives also had the chance to visit the facilities of Göteborgs Folk High School at Nya Varvet, the Kvinnocentrum Bergsjön women’s centre, and the Mölndal Municipality (including the city museum as an example for immigrant workers integration, and Campus Mölndal).
The next project meeting will take place in October 2018 in Istanbul (exact dates to be confirmed soon).
[Amendment: the Autumn 2018 meeting took place on 8-9 November 2018 in Stuttgart, and Istanbul hosted the Spring 2019 meeting on 9-10 May 2019]