To mark World Refugee Day on 20 June, Renew Europe CoR highlighted recommended actions for liberal policymakers towards a more successful migration and integration policy:
- All liberal representatives in the EU institutions and in particular, liberal Heads of State and Government, to ensure that integration is placed high on the political agenda and becomes a permanent pillar of the EU’s migration policy;
- National liberal leaders and parliamentarians all across the continent of Europe to promote a positive approach to immigration as a necessity to prevent Europe’s expected population decline, and challenging anti-migration parties to explain how they propose to avoid the decline without immigration;
- National liberal leaders to make the case for local authorities to receive adequate resources to receive, welcome, and successfully integrate migrants and refugees;
- Liberal mayors throughout Europe, especially those that already lead by example integrating migrants and refugees, to exchange best practices particularly with smaller municipalities that often lack the same capacity to welcome and integrate migrants; points to the Mechelen model as a living and recognised example to follow.
This call for action was included in the Renew Europe CoR-led resolution on the integration of migrants and refugees adopted at the 2023 ALDE Party Congress in Stockholm, Sweden.
Subnational leaders have a crucial leadership role to play to ensure that integration is successful in their regions and municipalities by applying zero-tolerance against discrimination, demanding respect for and enforcing the rule of law, working with schools, migrant families and community leaders to build bridges, promote mixed neighbourhoods, investing equally in all communities, fostering inter-cultural dialogue, language learning and establishing buddy schemes to facilitate integration at the micro-level. This is known as the Mechelen model, championed by our former Renew Europe CoR President Bart Somers, who received the World Mayor Prize for his success in integrating migrants in Mechelen, Belgium.