Local and regional authorities led by Giuseppe Varacalli, representatives of the European Commission and other European institutions, academia and civil society attending the “Empowering regions and cities in migrant integration governance” conference discussed how to promote the integration of migrants and refugees, intercultural interaction and social cohesion in increasingly diverse societies.
The event focused on multi-level coordination and the intercultural approach to the integration of migrants and refugees in cities and regions across Europe.
Giuseppe Varacalli, member of Gerace Municipal Council, and rapporteur of the Attracting skills and talent to the EU report, said:
“For Europe to grow, we need everyone, so let’s break down the fences, let’s fight illegal migration and promote synergies between member states. We need legal migrants, especially if they have skills and talents essential to the EU. This is vital for our economic recovery as well as for the digital and green transition.”
But, he stressed, legal routes to Europe for migrants were vital to stop the people-smugglers and avoid “more tragedies like Cutro”, the site of a recent shipwreck in Italy that took the lives of over 70 people.
Established in 2019 by the European Committee of the Regions, the Cities and Regions for the Integration of Migrants network provides a political platform for European mayors and regional leaders to showcase positive examples of integration of migrants and refugees, share relevant information and promote diversity as an added value to building inclusive cities and ensuring social cohesion. The initiative is run in cooperation with the European Commission and several European territorial associations – Eurocities, CEMR, CPMR and AER.