20th of June 2019





 On the occasion of World Refugee Day, Eurodiaconia launched its new report on how to foster cooperation between local authorities and civil society actors in the integration and social inclusion of migrants and refugees

The increased numbers of migrants and refugees arriving in Europe in 2015 have led to a localization of the public perception of integration. Specifically, there has been an increased acknowledgment of the special capacity and the commitment of the local level in giving a timely response to the needs of the newcomers. While arrivals have decreased over the last two years, it has become increasingly important to find holistic solutions to foster the overall long-term integration process.

Against this background, Eurodiaconia’s new report explores how local authorities and civil society organisations can better work together to create integration models and more inclusive social services for migrants and refugees. The report is based on the experience of thirteen projects from Eurodiaconia members. Their promising practices provide a broad picture of multi-stakeholder approaches to integration and concern different dimensions of integration such as education, access to employment, the empowerment of migrant women, healthcare services, and legal counselling services.

The findings we have gathered from our members have highlighted a concern that a lack of dialogue between municipalities and civil society might lead to unsuccessful and fragmented services. Therefore, well-managed cooperation has proved to increase the expertise and knowledge about migration among all actors and to be crucial to adapt services to changing realities.

The report’s recommendations include:

  • developing policy documents that express commitment to improving relations between public and non-state actors;
  • developing institutionalised multi-stakeholder platforms to coordinate expertise and experience; ensuring clear and transparent contracts;
  • encouraging the setting of standards in service delivery and public and transparent monitoring procedures;
  • fostering an atmosphere of mutual learning;
  • developing spaces for interaction between different communities and increasing capacities across the social services sector. 

Heather Roy, Eurodiaconia Secretary General, commented that “Involving the knowledge of faith-based organisations in the implementation of integration policies is of mutual benefit. The capacities and expertise of our members ensure that services effectively reach out to all migrants and help them settling in European societies and making contacts with local communities. Only through regular dialogue and close cooperation, local authorities and civil society organizations can ensure that we strive for the same cause and contribute to the implementation of integration objectives in an atmosphere of mutual respect.’’

Eurodiaconia is a dynamic, Europe-wide community of social and health care organisations with direct experience in providing services to migrants and advocating for their fundamental rights. Our federation is committed to a Europe of solidarity, equality, and justice. We currently have 51 members in 32 countries and territories who are churches and NGOs rooted in the Christian faith and working in the tradition of Diaconia.