In the framework of the Strasbourg summit, a multi-actor international encounter that anticipates the Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE), EPIC partners gathered in the French city for the 7th Steering Committee (SC) of the project on May 5th, 2022.
As the project enters the last year of implementation, exchanges among partners and a joint strategic planning are key to guaranteeing the achievement of the target outcomes of this European network of integrating cities.
After almost two and a half years of intense baseline analysis and capacity building, carried out in the shape of identification of priorities and job shadowing meetings, international training, research activities and webinars, among many other physical and online tasks, the year 2022 will see all that knowledge gained put into practice.
Partners arrived prepared in Strasbourg and presented their local strategies for the several activities that will be taking place in parallel around the EPIC partners ‘cities.
- Pilot projects: with a human-right based approach in mind, and thanks to the enriching exchanges among partners, each city is now ready to start testing on the ground what is meant to be the basis for new local integrating services. 8 pilot projects have been designed to tackle the main priorities identified in each city. Conversations to make the pilot results sustainable after the end of the project are already underway.
- Local communication campaigns: As part of its mission, the project aims to tackle the issues of negative narratives on migration based on prejudices, misinformation, or racism. Different exercises to develop the capacities of the partners and empower them to design their own local campaigns have been taking place since the beginning of the project. Now all partners are ready and about to launch their 8 different local campaigns. From generating empathy towards the difficulties refugees face not only during their journey but also upon arrival, to encouraging the youngest to find common grounds around the universal principles of respect and tolerance, the 8 EPIC local campaigns all aim to deconstruct harmful or discriminatory discourses existing in each territory.
- Local networking path events: these bottom-up events aim to reflect on how to improve migrants’ life and their integration within the hosting community. It will be a key moment for the partners to grasp first-hand feedback from the local citizens about the pilot project and the communication campaign the partners are implementing in their territory and thus adjust them accordingly.
However, although the local level receives particular attention in EPIC, transnational exchange and cooperation are also essential to advocate for an EU migration policy cohesion. In that sense, following the 1st International Networking Path that took place last year in Croatia, the project is planning celebration activities for the 2nd International Networking Path meeting to be held in September 2022in the Portuguese city of Amadora, as well as a final event, which will showcase all the final results. Stay tuned for all that has to come!
Lastly, on Friday 6th of May, EPIC partners ALDA and the Metropolitan Area of Gdansk, in cooperation with the Young European Federalists (JEF) hosted an event focused on “Solidarity with Ukraine: Testimonies of the war”. Participants could hear the powerful and emotional testimonies of different panellists, such as Andriy Sadovi, the Mayor of Lviv, Antonella Valmorbida, ALDA Secretary-General, and Marta Siciarek, representing the Gdansk metropolitan region.
In this video, Maddalena Alberti, Managing Director of ADL Zavidovici, tells us why and how the EPIC project is an opportunity to put the human-rights approach at the center of integration policies :