This week some of the team have been participating in the European Migration Forum. Gathering together Civil Society, European institutions and national governments the focus has been on access to the EU and access to services. For Eurodiaconia access to social and health care services are an essential part of the inclusion and integration process and so we were delighted to be asked to co-host the workshop on services at the event and participate in the closing panel to share the outcomes. Core questions for services are how to engage users effectively in service provision, how to access financing, and how to ensure integrated service provision among others. Massimo Gnome from Diaconia Valdese presented the integrated approach to services that his organisation has adopted and how it has provided better support to migrants and refugees.

The forum had many inspiring speakers, not least of which was 18-year-old Muhannad Bitar who had arrived in Europe by boat recently. He spoke of his relocation journey, a journey that has not yet ended, and how services and working as a volunteer translator helped him start to build a new life. Yet he also spoke about the flaws he had seen in the process, the juxtaposition of European values of freedom and tolerance and the reality of delays and restrictions verging on detention and burden. He told us he had seen the best and worst of Europe on his journey – and inspired us to work harder for the best. I hope our workshop on services contributes to an even better best.


Have a good weekend,