The International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC) has published 'Building a resettlement network of European cities and regions - experiences of the SHARE network 2012-2015', marking the culmination of four years of SHARE network learning.
Over the past four years, the SHARE project, in which EUROCITIES is a partner, has been building a European resettlement network of regions, cities and their civil society partners with the aims of: promoting refugee protection and resettlement and a culture of welcome; and improving planning and coordination for refugee reception and integration in Europe.
SHARE has expanded the EU Resettlement Network (ERN), engaging over 1,200 local and regional contacts either already active in resettlement, contemplating resettlement projects, or planning advocancy for resetttlement in their respective countries.
The project spanned Europe, engaging stakeholders in Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Ireland, Luxembourg, Latvia, The Netherlands, Norway, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Romania and the UK.
SHARE sought to develop a network to share best practices on resettlement between more experienced actors and those in emerging resettlement countries or countries considering resettlement. The aim was also to facilitate refugee integration at local level, exchnage information and learning in a formalised fashion, advocate on resettlement and share creative and contextualised local resettlement solutions.
Given the continued loss of life in attempts by refugees to cross the Mediterranean, developing adequate channels for the orderly admission of refugees to Europe must be at the core of strategies to address asylum and migration challenges in the EU. With this in mind, resettlement is an important tool.
Resettlement allows for forward planning and coordination, leading to better reception and integration of refugees. SHARE learning suggests that all countries can develop successful resettlement programmes with proper planning and coordination between stakeholders. It also demonstrates that a Europe-wide response, involving all countries, regions, and municipalities - from large cities to small villages - is crucial.
The SHARE network position is that the same kind of planning integration services applied to resettlement should be used in the case of relocation or any other mechanism to distribute refugees across countries or territories. A number of key policy recommendations were drawn up from the SHARE project with the potential to improve and strengthen resettlement, relocation and refugee reception and integration in Europe.
These policy recommendations include:
Non-discrimination between refugees from the same country when granting refugee status and service provision.
Recognition of the need to strengthen reception and integration services in those regions and municipalities receiving larger numbers of specific - vulnerable - profiles of refugees.
A need for greater attention on refugee placement decisions in a way that is sensitive to refugees' specific needs and potential, particularly with regards to integration in the labour market
Strenghtening multi-stakeholder cooperation between regions, municipalities and civil society in providing reception, welcome and integration services
Including regional and local actors in financial decision making (e.g. the EU's Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund - AMIF) and programming.
Promoting initiatives and volunteering that provide welcome and integration services
Prioritising the use of Personalised Integration Programmes (PIPs) and including employment as an important benchmark in such intgration plans.
The summary of policy reflections, tools, resources and reflects produced by the SHARE network should support and offer guidance to regional and local actors implementing reception programmes in Europe.
EUROCITIES is a partner in the SHARE project. A full list of partners can be found here.