The atmosphere was cosy, the panellists were knowledgeable, the audience was engaged and the topic was compelling.
It was the perfect setting for the presentation of the “Welcome! Migrants make Europe stronger” study/report released and launched this morning by Caritas Europa in Brussels.
Unlike the typical and self serving press events that blow self- referential matters into the Brussels bubble, the Caritas' report presentation offered experiences from the ground, the added values of some best practices, innovative approaches, and put forward proposals that serve the vision of the Christian organization: fostering refugees integration within the European society. A win-win goal that must be pursued not only out of respect for the values Europe is built on, but also because the financial benefits of effective integration are assessed to be higher then the cost of non integration.
What I appreciated the most about the presentation and the study, has been the communication approach of its launch. For once, I did not hear nor read statements such as “Europe must do more to help refugees” or “It is time to do something for such and such”; clichéd, overused and ineffective lines so often adopted by several civil society organizations and policy makers in their communication outreach efforts. On the contrary,I perceived a sense that a silent, humble and well methodical work has already been done and much more can be accomplished for the sake of refugges integration if players from local institutions, civil society organizations, integrated migrants and responsible media join forces in a proactive way.
As for the report, Caritas brings the attention on the barriers that delay and render impossible migrants’ integration. These barriers are cultural, structural and economic. Caritas experiences and work on the ground demonstrate that such obstacles can be overcome. To prove this, the publication includes no less than 21 best practices from 13 countries across Europe. Which ones ? Find them out by reading the report here.
Cover photo:PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP/Getty Images