On Tuesday, 23rd of June 2015, the 5th training seminar took place at Hilton Park Hotel as part of the educational and training activities of the European Municipalities Network. Officers from the Cypriot Municipalities of Engomi, Agios Dometios, Deryneia, Strovolos, Latsia, officers from European countries (Italy, Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden), representatives from the Nicosia Development Agency and from foreign consulates as well as other interested parties participated in the last training seminar of this project for local authorities and learned how to manage migration and integration at the local communities.
In the frame of the seminar activities, the trainer briefly presented the “European Municipalities Network” project and, then, informed the participants about migration statistical details in Cyprus, the main stakeholders involved in migration issues, the key job characteristics for migrant job seekers in Cyprus and difficulties that the migrant workers face at their workplace. Then, the participants were divided in small groups in the context of which they discussed and elaborated the role of main stakeholder groups in immigrants’ integration; the presentations of the results provided the basis of a very fruitful and enlightening discussion with regard to the different practices and challenges at a European level.
Then, the debate shifted to the central role of local authorities in dealing with migration and leading integration actions. After presenting the EU “holistic” approach towards migration, which focuses on six key areas (access to the labour market, education and language skills, housing and urban issues, access to health and social services, familiarization of the social and cultural environment, joint responsibility, and respect for diversity), further group discussion followed on the topic of how local authorities will be able to achieve these EU objectives. The participants arrived at a general consensus on the following two main points: firstly, that local authorities should be given the opportunity to become actively involved in developing integration strategies at an early stage and, secondly, that their implementation and integration policies should be developed with a genuine 'bottom-up' approach, close to the local level and its community needs.
Overall, the active participation and involvement of all stakeholders to all activities revealed their level of commitment towards migration and integration. Moreover, it ensured the seminar’s successful outcome as well as the accomplishment of its objectives through the exchange of views and good practices in respect to the management of Third Country Nationals integration and the management of diversity in local communities.