The European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager, came to see how Bart Somer, ALDE Group President in the European Committee of the Regions and Mechelen Mayor, has successfully built an inclusive society in a super diverse city.
Both liberal politicians see successful integration in a diverse Europe as a key challenge which must be a priority for the next years and decades to come. Commissioner Vestager and Mr. Somers discussed integration and inclusion with several representatives of the social and city services, civil society, volunteers,... through concrete examples.
Mayor Bart Somers was delighted at the visit of the Commissioner: "We discussed the challenges of diversity and how to make it a success – it is a challenge for Europe but also for cities. In Mechelen, a diverse city, we’ve been rather successful by not reducing people to one identity, but recognising that everyone has several and by working to create opportunities for every citizen whatever their background."
European Commissioner Vestager spoke, among others, with social workers who work with vulnerable families to get them back on track, participants of a buddy project where newcomers are matched with citizens of Mechelen to learn about the city, make new friends, and exchange experiences, as well as the “Colour in Youth Work” project which guides about 100 children with a foreign background to youth movements.
Commissioner Vestager: "Mayor Somers and his team are making a reality of the European motto of “United in Diversity”. It’s a truly inspiring story for the future of Europe."
Very honored of having EU-Commissioner @Vestager in #Mechelen, talking about how we can make cities more inclusive. “United in diversity” is an ambition we share with Europe ! pic.twitter.com/6EfW2e6E5N— Bart Somers (@BartSomers) May 3, 2018