On the Agenda 31 October – 6 November

See our collection of relevant events, conferences, and meetings taking place next week. Tune in to them to stay updated on EU developments.

3 November 2022, 15:00-17:00 CET

This hybrid event, organised by the UN University Centre for Policy Research (UNU-CPR) in partnership with the MIDEQ Hub and Geneva Science-Policy Interface (GSPI),  is the first in a series of migration policy roundtables and provides an opportunity to reflect on progress related to the implementation of the Global Compact on Migration (GCM). Taking place six months after the first International Migration Review Forum and ahead of the next round of Regional Reviews, it will discuss challenges that lie ahead to turn the Global Compact’s promises into practice.

                  To register click here.

6 – 18 November 2022

From 6 to 18 November 2022, Egypt will host the 27th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP27) in Sharm El-Sheikh, with a view to building on previous successes and paving the way for future ambition.

This public hearing organised by the ECO section brings together experts from organised civil society and academia, as well as decision-makers to discuss the measures taken by Member States in their RRPs, the current methodology to assess their results, potential incentives (through taxation, by promoting investment in work-life balance, as well as in care services, training, improvements in working conditions, etc.) to increase gender equality in the Member States, and other effective measurement tools to assess the impact of such measures.

The event will be webstreamed (original, EN, FR, DE). No registration is needed and participation is free of charge.

UNITEE attends the 7th European Migration Forum in Brussels

From 20-21 October 2022, along with 200 other organisations from across Europe, UNITEE joined the 7th edition of the European Migration Forum (EMF) that took place in Brussels at the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC). Coinciding with the European Year of Youth in 2022, this year’s edition of the EMF was organised under the title ‘Youth inclusion: key to successful migrant integration‘.

The two-day event featured discussions and workshops around young migrants’ perspectives. Participants and speakers included representatives of civil society organisations, networks and collectives representing migrant groups and sectors, European institutions and associations, media organisations and local governments. The organisations joining the Forum brought with them their experience and insights into topics ranging from democracy, participation, gender equality, anti-racism, media and inclusion to education, entrepreneurship, social economy, local democracy and climate action.


Debates and workshops focused on migration through the perspective of youth, including how young migrants can be actors of youth inclusion, young migrants’ access to education and training, specific challenges and measures regarding integration of young refugees, legal migration, youth mobility education and employment, the participation and engagement of young migrants, public attitudes towards migrants as well as current policy challenges and actions at the European level support migrants and refugees. The European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, as well as EESC president Christa Schweng joined the EMF to share their thoughts on the current state of asylum and migration policy in the Europe, the challenges faced by young migrants and how the EU can migrants’ integration and inclusion. A debate on the second day also featured remarks by a representative of the Czech Presidency of the Council of the EU.

More information about the speakers of this year’s EMF can be found here

A special discussion format titled ‘The floor is yours’ let all participants put forward and vote for additional discussion topics on the first day. The most popular topics where then used for small, parallel roundtable discussions with groups of 5-10 people and allowed for more informal and intimate talks on topics participants were interested in.

Moreover, the EMF programme this year included a performance by the group MIKSI with songs inspired by traditional Albanian, Kurdish or Syrian pieces rearranged by the group’s coordinator. During the concert, a networking village allowed organisations to share information about their projects and connect with other participants. UNITEE participated in the networking village with a table displaying information material about UNITEE as well as its projects, in particular MILE – focusing on advancing the local participation of migrants and refugees and their collaboration with municipalities – and RIDE – aiming to advance empowerment and labour market inclusion of migrant and refugee women through digital skills training and job markets.

Last but not least, two new members of the EMF Bureau were elected for the term of one year: Anila Noor (New Women Connectors) and Rudi Osman (Union of Exiled Students – France).

Hosted by the EESC in cooperation with the European Commission, the EMF is a platform for dialogue between civil society and the European institutions, on issues relating to migration, asylum and the integration of third-country nationals. It brings together, at least once a year, representatives of civil society organisations, local and regional authorities, Member States and EU institutions. In January 2015, the EESC, in cooperation with the European Commission, organised the first edition of the European Migration Forum (EMF). This developed from the European Integration Forum, of which 11 editions took place between 2009 and 2014.

The aim of the EMF is to enhance coordination and cooperation between key players involved in the multilevel European governance of migration. The EMF aims at providing more information on the latest policy developments but also to gather information on how European policies are implemented at regional, local and grass-root levels; it should help improve the understanding of the main challenges that civil society organisations and social partners face in the field and identify ways to better support them in their efforts to address migrants’ needs.

Upcoming Events 24-30 October 2022

See our collection of relevant events, conferences, and meetings taking place next week. Tune in to them to stay updated on EU developments.

The Prague Process Ministerial Conference on migration will take place in Prague on 24 and 25 October 2022 under the auspices of the Czech Presidency of the Council of the EU. Ministers of     the    participating countries responsible for migration are expected to approve a political declaration and an action plan that will shape the framework for cooperation for 2023-2027.


24-28 October 2022At the initiative of the FEMM Committee, the European Parliament held its second European Gender Equality Week during the last week of October 2021. Following the success of the first European Gender Equality Week organised in October 2020, the European Parliament continued this important initiative: all parliamentary committees and delegations were invited to hold events addressing gender inequality issues in their areas of competence. On 24th October the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality will held an extraordinary meeting. Draft program here.


This public online consultation will feed in the European Committee of the Regions’ outlook opinion in view of the forthcoming Proposal for a Council Recommendation on developing social economy framework conditions, following a referral from the European Commission Vice-President Šefčovič. It will gather input from key social economy stakeholders and cities and regions regarding the creation of  favorable conditions for the social economy sector to grow in the EU. You can register here by Friday 21 October.


On the agenda the renewed cooperation agreement between the European Commission and the European Economic and Social Committee, and the European Commission work programme 2023, women Entrepreneurship, energy transition and climate action. The session will be web streamed.


This hearing will focus on topical questions such as the possible avenues to help MSMEs be well informed and prepared to grasp the opportunities of the transition to climate neutrality, coupling it with the possibilities offered by the digitalisation and hedging the current geopolitical risks. It will also take into consideration the challenges faced by the Belgian companies and the opportunities offered to them if they successfully adjust to the climate neutral and digitalised world.


Agenda available here.


On the Agenda “The status of third-country nationals who are long-term residents (recast)”. Full agenda available here.



UNITEE joins the European Week of Regions and Cities

Image source: European Week of Regions and Cities 2022 (see use guidelines here)

Young migrants as agents of change: Stories of participation and inclusion

#EURegionsWeek Workshop

As part of this year’s European Week of Regions and Cities, UNITEE, in collaboration with INTEGRIM Lab and Eurocities, partners of the MILE and UNITES projects, hosted an online workshop titled “Young migrants and cities – new pathways for local participation and inclusion” with around 50 participants. The event focused on shaping narratives around the movement, local inclusion and participation of young newcomers in Europe and featured stories of migration from Razan Ismail (Asociación Kudwa), JuanFra Alvarado Valenzuela (University of Amsterdam of Applied Sciences) and Bohdan Yeromenko (Promote Ukraine).

The session was recorded, you can watch it here. In additon, the session was illustrated by Blanche Ellis, creating a graphic recording. You can see the graphic recording here.

In their accounts,  Bohdan, Razan and JuanFra reflected on some of the challenges they faced when settling in Europe as young migrants as well as the opportunities, support and lasting connections they found as they started studies or jobs, started their own initiatives and businesses. Together with Elisabeth Ries, City Councillor for Youth, Family and Social Affairs at the City of Nuremberg in Germany and the workshop participants, they exchanged their visions of inclusive cities. Moreover, they discussed the potential of young migrants and agents of change, innovation, development and social cohesion.

Meanwhile, Elisabeth Ries shared the experience and approach of Nuremberg, a city that has a long history of migration and integration and where local governmental bodies are working to support migrants and meet their needs in local decision-making.

We are trying to create our city’s policies so that they are inclusive for everyone. In Nuremberg, two-thirds of young people have some sort of international background: parents or grandparents who migrated here.

Elisabeth Ries, City of Nuremberg

One key takeaway from the session was the need for two-way interactions between newcomers and long-term migrants. Newly arrived migrants and refugees can need a variety of support, ranging from administrative guidance to someone who can lend an ear in difficult times. To this end, cities could involve migrants who have already learned to navigate the city and are further along in their integration process, to support newcomers, share their experiences and help with things like language and cultural barriers. Not only can migrant communities support the integration of newcomers but also help long-term migrants to feel needed and connected in their cities as they are given the space to share their skills and experience with others.

It is very important to realise that you yourself can be helpful and have much to give others. You have skills, knowledge, and connections - please come and help us as a society to reach newcomers and help them in their integration.

- says Elisabeth Ries, addressing young migrants coming to Europe.

For Razan Ismail, founder and director of Asociación Kudwa in Spain, her experiences as a young migrant led her to do exactly what Elisabeth encourages. Originally from Syria and having worked in the UK before coming to Spain, Razan founded Kudwa in an effort to support in particular Arabic-speaking newcomers, especially women, who are starting their integration journey in Barcelona.

Having access to friendships with locals or with people who have the same objective as you - that can make a big difference.

Razan Ismail, Asociación Kudwa

Bohdan Yeromenko migrated several times within Europe: originally from Ukraine, he moved to Austria to work in technology before eventually ending up in Brussels working as an IT consultant. He now spends his free time volunteering for Promote Ukraine as an IT coordinator. Promote Ukraine works on advocating for Ukrainians in political, business and non-governmental circles in the EU. Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the organisation has started initiatives supporting the integration of Ukrainians arriving in Belgium.

Meeting people who are facing similar problems will allow you to build a community, and it will help you learn tips and tricks on how to get through this difficult transition period.

Bohdan Yeromenko, Promote Ukraine

JuanFra Alvarado Valenzuela shared his story with workshop participants through a recorded video. Originally from Ecuador and now living in the Netherlands, he is a researcher and educator focusing on migration and diversity in entrepreneurship. He suggests universities should  take a critical look at how diverse their student body is and re-examine their entry requirements to allow more people with diverse backgrounds and lived migration experience to pursue their studies in Europe.

He also reminds young migrants to not be afraid to ask for help and to not forget to offer their help and share their experience and skills with others.

Young migrants have so many skills, so much knowledge, and so much experience on how the world is changing nowadays. This is very valuable, and this can be given to other people.

JuanFra Alvarado Valenzuela, University of Amsterdam of Applied Sciences

Cities, institutions, and authorities also have a role to play in creating platforms to allow for this exchange of support. Aside from offering physical spaces for meetings, cities can foster interactions by utilising technological advancements, for instance by setting up Facebook or Whatsapp groups and thus bringing together newcomers and long-term migrants. Decentralising support this way can lower the pressure on municipalities and cities, which may have limited capacities and struggle to offer certain types of support, services, or spaces. A further point raised during the workshop is the lack of diversity in their decision-making bodies of many municipalities.

Newcomers, long-term migrants, and cities all have a role to play in the successful integration of young migrants. If they all do their share of the work, the integration process can be smoother and more successful, leading to a more cohesive and diverse Europe.

The European Week of Regions and Cities has been the yearly hub of EU cohesion policy for the past 19 years. In 2022, the event took place from 10-13 October, and it was organised in a hybrid format: it combined physical networking and Q&A sessions with online presentations. The themes of this year’s event were more relevant than ever, centering around the topics of the green transition, territorial cohesion, digital transition, and youth empowerment.

The session was illustrated by Blanche Ellis, creating a graphic recording. You can see the graphic recording here.

UNITEE, Eurocities and INTEGRIM Lab are part of the MILE project, an initiative funded by the EU which works towards promoting collaboration between migrant communities and local policy-makers. Read more about the MILE project here.

Eurocities and UNITEE are also part of the UNITES project, funded by the EU and aiming to advance the involvement of migrants in integration policies.

Did you miss our session?

Learning From Best Practices – UNITES Training Event

Since the beginning of 2022, UNITEE is part of the EU-funded UNITES project – “UrbaN InTEgration Strategies through co-design”. Led by Eurocities in cooperation with UNITEE, MigrationWork, and New Women Connectors, UNITES trains the eight European cities participating in the project to co-design integration policies with other local stakeholders and migrants.

Based on existing best practices of co-design strategies used by other cities worldwide, UNITES is developing training material which will be tested in the participating cities Athens, Bologna, Düsseldorf, Grenoble, Oulu, Prague, Zagreb, and Zaragoza. As UNITES partners, these cities will receive outreach grants, allowing them to implement some of the co-design best practices identified throughout the project. The training materials will be published at the end of the three-year project, allowing further cities to benefit from the outcomes and insights.

Kicking off at the beginning of 2022, UNITES has already identified six cities to inspire the UNITES partners with their approaches to co-design and the participation of migrants and refugees in integration policies: São Paulo, Nuremberg, Nantes, Liverpool, Fuenlabrada, and Mörsil.

The best practices of these six cities in co-design of integration policies were shared with the 8 UNITES cities for a training event in September 2022.

The importance of co-design

The event included an insightful introduction to co-design through which migrants and their experience are valued as experts in the policy-making process. To this end, co-design can break down the traditional, hierarchical approach to policy-making: instead of the local authorities making policies for migrants,  the process is a collaboration between the two, allowing for better, more effective outcomes. Such a participatory approach is still not very common in the area of integration, despite considerable gains that were illustrated and discussed during the training.

Co-designing integration policies can be a complex but rewarding task. Newcomer migrants and refugees are usually not citizens in their country of residence, barring them from political participation such as voting. Undocumented migrants are even harder to account for and include in co-design processes.

Such exclusions need to be compensated for by creating accessible and safe spaces with inclusive communication that can make all people feel welcome and heard.

This presents another challenge: reaching a diverse group and being inclusive to all. Migrants and refugees come from different cultural backgrounds, they all have different stories and daily challenges. Cities and municipalities need good data about their migrant and refugee populations to understand how to be more inclusive and how to accommodate everyone. However, as some migrants are not present in the data the question arises how they can be accounted for in the policy-making process and encouraged to voice their opinions.

When cities recognise that they are limited in their approach to inclusion and participation of newcomers, they need to be prepared to make changes. They might set up consultative bodies or integration councils, but these solutions have their limitations: true representation beyond tokenism and consultation, and transparency being key challenges.

Lastly, transitioning to inclusive decision-making and co-design strategies takes time and resources in the short run.

Despite these challenges, results show that co-designing integration policies is worth the time and effort. Co-design can bring intersectional perspectives to new policies, leading to innovation, creativity, and attention to previously unheard voices and views. Diversity and inclusion in decision-making can lead to the empowerment of marginalized communities, who feel a sense of ownership towards the new policies. All of these practices are essential when striving for good governance.

Best practices from all over the world

Some best practices and success stories show the significant benefits of co-design approaches when it comes to integration. São Paulo, Nuremberg, Nantes, Liverpool, Fuenlabrada, and Mörsil presented their strategies and programs at the UNITES training event in  September 2022. The city of Nuremberg showcased its Integration Council and the different local government bodies that all collaborate on integration.

The Spanish town of Fuenlabrada, located on the outskirts of Madrid, shared insights into its program called “Table for Coexistence”, which is both a platform for local associations, and a stakeholder in local cultural diversity management, aiming at interculturality in Fuenlabrada.

Mörsil, located in the Swedish municipality of Åre, is home to fewer than 1000 residents. After a wave of local discontent and conflicts surrounding the growing number of migrants and refugees in Morsil, the municipality embarked on a long and detailed consultation with local stakeholders, involving people of all backgrounds and providing any additional support that was needed to encourage otherwise unheard members of society to participate. By making all people feel comfortable with sharing their thoughts and insights, Mörsil was put under the looking glass, and the municipality could gain a deeper understanding of the opposing grievances. After this, the municipality launched a program toward reconciliation and unity in Mörsil, which is still running today.

What comes next?

The UNITES project will move forward in  2023 and 2024 with the 8 UNITES cities developing their integration co-design strategies, and learning from each other through a series of field visits. These experiences will be used in the following step, when a publicly available online training material will be developed – serving cities all across Europe.

Read more about the UNITES project here.