Integrating Cities VI


160 participants, 40 cities and three new charter signatories at our sixth Integrating Cities Conference in Tampere

The sixth edition of our Integrating Cities conference took place in Tampere on 9-10 September 2013. It gathered more than 160 delegates from 40 cities as well as representatives from civil society organisations and international bodies such as the European Commission, the Council of Europe, the Committee of Regions and the United Nations.

Anna-Kaisa Ikonen, mayor of Tampere, and Paul Bevan, EUROCITIES secretary general, opened the conference, which featured political plenary sessions and workshops addressing the most topical issues faced by European cities in the field of migrant integration. For the first time, Integrating Cities broadened its scope beyond Europe, including an exchange with Toronto in Canada.  

Ramon Sanahuja I Vélez, chair of our working group on migration and integration, presented the findings outlined in the first Integrating Cities Charter implementation report (below: 'Cities and migrants: implementing the Integrating Cities Charter'). Reacting to the findings, Marco Martiniello, director of the Center for Ethnic and Migration Studies at the University of Liege, expressed ‘quiet optimism’ and described his hopes for a multicultural local citizenship in the EU.

Politicians from Athens, Brussels, Genoa, Helsinki, Manchester, Rotterdam and Tampere gave examples of how integration works in their cities.

A further three cities signed our Integrating Cities Charter during the conference: Brussels, Montpellier and Toulouse. They join the 27 existing signatories in committing to the principles outlined in the charter (below). 

Stefano Manservisi, director general of European Commission DG home affairs responded to politicians’ concerns regarding undocumented migrants, integration implications of the movement of people within the EU as well as European funding instruments.

He confirmed the Commission’s attempts to push the local agenda on integration through legislative and funding proposals, and invited cities to contribute to shaping the national funding programmes of the new Asylum and Migration Fund, which are currently under discussion. He invited cities to provide input to the next EU strategic document on freedom, security and justice and acknowledged the importance of cities’ achievements in transferring knowledge and collecting evidence  through projects such as ImpleMentoring.

Twelve workshops and ten speednetworking sessions allowed cities representatives to find out more about their peers’ practices and to present their own initiatives. The three ImpleMentoring workshops were particularly successful. They presented the preliminary findings of our project which involves 14 cities in a city-to-city mentoring scheme. Sessions on undocumented migrants, migration and development and EU mobility also attracted strong interest.

A joint meeting of our working group on migration and integration and ImpleMentoring partners took place the day after the conference. Five ImpleMentoring videos and six city action plans were launched. 

The next phase in our migration and integration activities will be the continuation of the ImpleMentoring project. Amsterdam will visit Athens on 15-18 October 2013 for the final mentoring visit, and four thematic cluster meetings will take place in Genoa, Oslo, Manchester and Malmo in early 2014.