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Sprawozdanie z konferencji Burmistrzów Europejskich Miast na temat migracji wewnątrz-europejskiej
Sprawozdanie z konferencji Burmistrzów Europejskich Miast na temat migracji wewnątrz-europejskiej
Sprawozdanie z konferencji Burmistrzów Europejskich Miast na temat migracji wewnątrz-europejskiej
Sprawozdanie z konferencji Burmistrzów Europejskich Miast na temat migracji wewnątrz-europejskiej
Sprawozdanie z konferencji Burmistrzów Europejskich Miast na temat migracji wewnątrz-europejskiej
Sprawozdanie z konferencji Burmistrzów Europejskich Miast na temat migracji wewnątrz-europejskiej
Sprawozdanie z konferencji Burmistrzów Europejskich Miast na temat migracji wewnątrz-europejskiej
Sprawozdanie z konferencji Burmistrzów Europejskich Miast na temat migracji wewnątrz-europejskiej
Sprawozdanie z konferencji Burmistrzów Europejskich Miast na temat migracji wewnątrz-europejskiej
Sprawozdanie z konferencji Burmistrzów Europejskich Miast na temat migracji wewnątrz-europejskiej
Sprawozdanie z konferencji Burmistrzów Europejskich Miast na temat migracji wewnątrz-europejskiej
Sprawozdanie z konferencji Burmistrzów Europejskich Miast na temat migracji wewnątrz-europejskiej
Sprawozdanie z konferencji Burmistrzów Europejskich Miast na temat migracji wewnątrz-europejskiej
Sprawozdanie z konferencji Burmistrzów Europejskich Miast na temat migracji wewnątrz-europejskiej
Sprawozdanie z konferencji Burmistrzów Europejskich Miast na temat migracji wewnątrz-europejskiej
Sprawozdanie z konferencji Burmistrzów Europejskich Miast na temat migracji wewnątrz-europejskiej
Sprawozdanie z konferencji Burmistrzów Europejskich Miast na temat migracji wewnątrz-europejskiej
Sprawozdanie z konferencji Burmistrzów Europejskich Miast na temat migracji wewnątrz-europejskiej
Sprawozdanie z konferencji Burmistrzów Europejskich Miast na temat migracji wewnątrz-europejskiej
Sprawozdanie z konferencji Burmistrzów Europejskich Miast na temat migracji wewnątrz-europejskiej
Sprawozdanie z konferencji Burmistrzów Europejskich Miast na temat migracji wewnątrz-europejskiej
Sprawozdanie z konferencji Burmistrzów Europejskich Miast na temat migracji wewnątrz-europejskiej
Sprawozdanie z konferencji Burmistrzów Europejskich Miast na temat migracji wewnątrz-europejskiej
Sprawozdanie z konferencji Burmistrzów Europejskich Miast na temat migracji wewnątrz-europejskiej
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Sprawozdanie z konferencji Burmistrzów Europejskich Miast na temat migracji wewnątrz-europejskiej

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  • 1. Brussels, 11 February 2014 Proceedings
  • 2. 2 Joint Conference of Mayors on the impact of intra-EU mobility of EU citizens at local level CONTENTS Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Opening session . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Information session EU policies on free movement and inclusion of the local level . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Panel I Experiences of cities: implementing local policies on free movement and inclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Panel II Implementing local policies on free movement and inclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Panel III Implementing local policies on free movement and inclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Concluding speeches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
  • 3. Joint Conference of Mayors on the impact of intra-EU mobility of EU citizens at local level 3 INTRODUCTION The right of EU citizens to freely move to and live in any EU country, along with their family members, is one of the four fundamental freedoms enshrined in EU law and a cornerstone of EU integration. For 56% of European citizens, free movement is the most positive achievement of the European Union. Indeed, more and more Europeans benefit from this right and live in another EU Member State: at the end of 2012, 14.1 million citizens were living in a Member State other than their own. In Eurobarometer surveys, more than two thirds of Europeans (67%) consider that free movement of people within the EU has economic benefits for their country. Free movement is not only fundamental for citizens; it also has positive effects on econo- mies and labour markets as it creates the conditions for more efficient allocation of resources within the EU. Free movement of EU citizens stimulates economic growth by enabling people to travel, study and work across borders and by allowing employ- ers to recruit from a larger talent pool. Free movement brings economic benefits not only to those who move but also to those who have not exercised their right to move. For the EU-15, GDP is estimated to have increased by almost 1 % in the long term as a result of post-enlargement mobility (2004-2009). In this context, the European Commission (DG JUST) and the Committee of the Re- gions co-organised a Joint conference of Mayors on the impact of intra-EU mobility of EU citizens at local level on 11 February 2014 in Brussels; an event which was attended by more than 220 participants and followed by web-stream and video. The aim of the conference was to share experiences and discuss“ideal” policies for welcoming mobile EU citizens, policies that are manageable for local authorities and benefit everyone. Local and regional authorities took the opportunity to make their needs and concerns heard and to discuss possible solutions which can be adapted to their specific situation.
  • 4. 4 Joint Conference of Mayors on the impact of intra-EU mobility of EU citizens at local level
  • 5. Joint Conference of Mayors on the impact of intra-EU mobility of EU citizens at local level 5 Opening László Andor, European Commissioner responsible for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, welcomed participants by video message to the joint European Com- mission – Committee of the Regions conference on the local impact of intra-EU mo- bility. Opening statements followed from Dimitrios Kafantaris, Mayor of Pylos, and Mercedes Bresso, first Vice-President of the Committee of the Regions. The session was chaired by Françoise Le Bail, Director-General for Justice, European Commis- sion. László Andor welcomed the event, which was intended to put into practice one of the five actions presented in November 2013 in the EC Communication on “Free move- ment of EU citizens and their families: Five actions to make a difference”, namely the promotion of the exchange of best practice amongst local authorities. Mr Andor rec- ognised that the movement of labour can lead to some challenges at local level. He set the stage for the debate by stating that it is a joint responsibility of EU, national and subnational stakeholders to uphold EU citizens’ rights to live and work in another EU country, and he briefly outlined how the European Union provides support at local level in tackling intra-EU mobility and reaping its benefits. In 2013, the European Commission put forward a proposal for a directive that would make it easier for workers to exercise their right to move. Once adopted by the Eu- ropean Parliament and the Council, at least one body would be designated in each Member State to assist employers, EU workers and their families. The Commission also proposed strengthening EURES – the pan-European job research network. Fur- thermore, from 2014 onwards, the European Social Fund will be able to support transnational labour mobility and at least 20% of the fund would be used to promote social inclusion and to fight poverty in the Member States. With 2 million vacancies across the EU and 26.5 million unemployed Europeans, defending intra-EU mobility is imperative in order to address imbalances and uphold one of the four fundamental freedoms enshrined in EU law.
  • 6. 6 Joint Conference of Mayors on the impact of intra-EU mobility of EU citizens at local level Dimitrios Kafantaris considered that providing the opportunity for representatives of local authorities to exchange views and first-hand experience on how to cope with mobility at local level was a tangible contribution to the principle of subsidiarity. He referred to freedom of movement within the EU as a cornerstone of EU integration, which is moreover reflected in the everyday life of EU citizens. This right has, there- fore, to be defended resolutely. Mr Kafantaris spoke from his experience as Mayor of a city of 21 000 inhabitants that was visited by many EU citizens. Some of these purchased holiday homes and some came to work in agricultural holdings on a seasonal basis. None were a burden for the Greek economy or for the country’s welfare system, quite the contrary. His experience confirmes, therefore, the findings of the European Commission’s recent communication. He emphasised that difficulties created by a serious economic crisis or abuse of rights should not be allowed to spoil the achievements of the European project. The crisis has to be faced with dignity, citizens have to be allowed to take advantage of the single market and the single currency. To this end, the role of local authorities has to be boosted to guarantee the proper implementation of fundamen- tal rights. Mercedes Bresso introduced the Committee of the Regions as the “home in Brus- sels” of local and regional representatives and as such a suitable venue for discuss- ing such topical issues at the most relevant level. She recalled the kick-off event for the 2013 European Year of Citizens and other activities throughout the year, show- casing the close cooperation among EU institutions in highlighting the importance of citizens’ rights and of making sure they can be exercised. Free movement is not up for negotiation. The right to move and reside freely is the Treaty-based right which EU citizens exercise most frequently and one that most EU citizens recognises and identify with. Ms Bresso went on to talk about the responsibility of elected politicians to base their decisions on facts and figures, while taking into account citizens’ perceptions and fears, but always treating these issues in an appropriate manner. While she was invoking facts, she stated that there are obvious economic and social benefits to mo- bility, in addition to intangible advantages gained by the mobile citizens themselves. She regardes it as a duty for local politicians to put the discussion back into perspec- tive and uphold the European idea, resisting the widespread use of a populist dis- course with “charged” terms targeting vulnerable groups, such as “poverty migrants” and “welfare tourism”. It is up to local politicians to demonstrate the willingness and administrative capacity to tackle existing and potential problems, and to make sure that the national level is listening to people’s concerns and will not breach their fun- damental rights. Mercedes Bresso Dimitrios Kafantaris
  • 7. Joint Conference of Mayors on the impact of intra-EU mobility of EU citizens at local level 7 Françoise Le Bail also based her statement on facts and figures. Free movement is the right most cherished by EU citizens and a central element of the single market, stimulating economic growth. According to the figures, 68% of mobile EU citizens were working and among the rest were family members and students, who did not constitute a burden for the host Member State. However, the debate was not only about the economy; it is also about European values, about identity, and anxiety related to globalisation and/or EU integration. The social aspects of mobility, such as potential pressure on public services (e.g. housing, health, education), cannot be ignored. The European Commission is ready to help based on its remit to fight any abuse of those rights, which is detrimental to free movement. There were not many instances of abuse, even though they always made the front pages. The Commis- sion’s Communication issued last November contained five concrete actions to as- sist local and regional authorities. Ms Le Bail concluded by underlining that the current rules of free movement are not up for negotiation. They are fair and already contain safeguards to prevent unreason- able burdens on host countries. An online training module is envisaged by the end of 2014 to help local and regional authorities to apply the free movement rules. Françoise Le Bail
  • 8. 8 Joint Conference of Mayors on the impact of intra-EU mobility of EU citizens at local level Information session EU policies on free movement and inclusion of the local level Claudia Gallo from Ernst & Young presented the findings of the study commissioned by the Directorate-General for Justice of the European Commission (DG Justice). This was followed by statements by Armindo Silva, Director for Employment and Social Legislation, Social Dialogue (Directorate-General for Employment, Social Af- fairs and Inclusion) and Charlina Vitcheva, Director for Inclusive Growth, Urban and Territorial Development and Northern Europe (Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy). The session was chaired by Chiara Adamo, Head of Unit, Union Citi- zenship and Free Movement, DG Justice. Claudia Gallo gave a brief overview of the socio-economic impact of EU mobility at local level and presented some examples from the six case studies carried out in Barcelona, Dublin, Lille, Prague, Hamburg and Turin. Those cities were selected for the study on the basis of the number of EU mobile citizens, the development of local relevant policies, and to ensure a wide geographical coverage of the EU. There was a multilevel governance approach to welcoming policies, where many actors contrib- uted to their implementation. Evidence was found that EU mobile citizens contribute to offset the challenges in terms of demographic ageing and gradual shrinking of labour forces, to entrepreneurship, since most of them are young, fill the gaps in the labour market, and support the development of some core sectors of the local econ- omy; over-qualification and wage differentials were noted. Net economic benefits were accompanied by a social impact, notably pressure on housing and education. Finally, the presentation included some practical examples of best practices put for- ward by the cities. Above all, it was reassuring to conclude that the attitude towards mobility is generally improving, also thanks to proactive and inclusive local policies. Armindo Silva stated that, although free movement has a solid legal underpinning in the Treaty and secondary legislation, rights-based legislation was not sufficient to ensure that such rights are fully exercised. Complementary policies are needed to overcome hidden obstacles, insufficient enforcement of rights and inadequate awareness of them among mobile workers. Indeed, while 56% of EU citizens perceiv freedom of movement as a major achievement and 67% believe it brings economic Claudia Gallo Armindo Silva
  • 9. Joint Conference of Mayors on the impact of intra-EU mobility of EU citizens at local level 9 benefits. However, 63% of mobile workers actually felt discriminated against. It was clear that the free movement of labour brought economic benefits, but it was also necessary to bear in mind the effects on sending communities, such as the loss of skilled labour. For destination countries, there was a risk of social dumping that could affect both mobile and local workers. Social inclusion might suffer due to the strains on local resources and services. Circular mobility of the workforce needed to be generated. Mr Silva elaborated on the complementary policies put forward by the European Commission, starting with the European Social Fund, amounting to at least 23% of the cohesion policy budget for 2014-2020. The new ESF Regulation will make the fund easier to use and more results-oriented. The European Code of Conduct on Partnership, recently adopted, will be crucial for local authorities to receive timely information on funds. It will also focus more on social inclusion - at least 20% of the ESF is to be used from this objective, with additional funding available for support- ing transnational mobility. In terms of ongoing work, Mr Silva mentioned the Social Investment Package, which was intended to increase the efficiency of social policies, the follow-up initiative to develop a Social Policy Knowledge Platform for identifying common policy challenges and transferable good practice, and the creation of a Eu- ropean Platform on Undeclared Work. Charlina Vitcheva spoke about funding opportunities from European and Regional Development Fund as a territorial development instrument and considered to what extent EU mobility could be relevant for the urban dimension. This could potentially be the case where intra-mobility is a challenge for sustainable urban development. It was a crucial time in the programming period, with active discussions on drafting and adopting strategic documents for using the funds available. Active participation of local and regional authorities in the programming phase was very important with a view to addressing local needs and challenges and ensuring that the right priorities were covered. In addition, integrated approaches should make full use of synergies among investment tools. The Integrated Territorial Investment tool would thus help to structure investment based on local strategies. Ms Vitcheva underlined the importance of a holistic approach to urban challenges, with 5% of ERDF funding being allocated to integrated sustainable development projects based on partnership strategies. The thematic area most relevant to the subject of intra-EU mobility would be the regeneration of urban areas hosting vulnerable communities. Chiara Adamo concluded by flagging three main concepts: the first was that free movement of EU citizens is not only a cornerstone of the Single Market and benefi- cial to all but became, since the Maastricht treaty 20 years ago, a fundamental right for all EU citizens. Second, current EU rules provide for the necessary safeguards to uphold this right while avoiding burdening national public pursues. Third, EU rules and tools, including EU funding, exchanges of best practices and practical projects such as the idea of developing an on-line training module to help local authorities to implement free movement, are at the disposal of local and regional authorities and require their active involvement - free movement was a joint responsibility. Charlina Vitcheva Chiara Adamo
  • 10. 10 Joint Conference of Mayors on the impact of intra-EU mobility of EU citizens at local level Panel I: Experiences of cities: Implementing local policies on free movement and inclusion The three panels focused on cities’ experiences in setting up and operating welcome policies for mobile EU citizens. Local policies aimed at newcomers cover a wide number of sectors: information offices at arrival, help in entering the local economy and entering entrepreneurship, facilities to help foreign pupils in the education sys- tem, promotion of multiculturalism and of an open society, promotion active civic participation, and responses to inclusion challenges like poverty, unemployment, poor housing, etc. In short, any policy aimed at including foreigners in the local com- munity. Local policies do not follow a “one-size-fits-all” approach and are tailored to the specific circumstances of the city concerned. Panelists included mayors and representatives of cities from different EU countries. Speakers introduced the audience to the profile of their cities and their populations, the administrative structures put in place to implement welcome and other policies, and sources of funding. They also shared their experiences, best practices and les- sons learnt. The first panel was chaired by Agnieszka Kudlinska, Director for Consultative Work at the Committee of the Regions. Panelists included Anna König Jerlmyr, Vice- Mayor of Stockholm in charge of Social Affairs, António Costa (PT/PES), Mayor of Lisbon and chair of the CoR Commission for Citizenship, Governance, Institutional and External Affairs (CIVEX) and Jan Pörksen, Hamburg State Secretary for Work, Social Affairs, Family and Integration, who also spoke on behalf of the Association of German ­Cities. The chair introduced the panel by asking the speakers to share their cities’ views and experiences on setting up an “ideal” welcome policy.Agnieszka Kudlinska
  • 11. Joint Conference of Mayors on the impact of intra-EU mobility of EU citizens at local level 11 Anna König Jerlmyr explained that over almost 20 years since Sweden became a member of the EU, the city of Stockholm has benefited immensely from migration, having a diverse population mix where almost 20% of residents have a migration background and represent 123 nationalities. She pointed out that Sweden has been one of the few countries not to place restrictions on the free movement of EU nation- als after successive waves of EU enlargements and said that nothing indicates that such movements have placed a disproportionate burden on Sweden’s social welfare system. However, she identified the economic crisis as a decisive factor behind the decision of many EU citizens to relocate and agreed that some countries have been hit particularly hard. Stockholm faced the particular challenge of a number of recent arrivals - including some EU mobile citizens - ending up unemployed and homeless and having to resort to begging to survive. Ms König Jerlmyr mentioned that the city of Stockholm has put in place many success- ful programmes designed to tackle the challenges met by new arrivals and faced by the city and its population. For instance, the city has offered emergency support to for- eigners, set up homeless shelters and conducted outreach campaigns through social workers. The city has also helped those EU nationals who wanted to go back to their countries of origin but did not have the means to do so, through voluntary return pro- grammes. The “Crossroads support programme for the labour market” was mentioned as an example of best practice. Partially funded through the ESF, it targeted both mobile EU nationals and third-country nationals legally resident in Stockholm. It was run by the Stockholm city mission, the Salvation Army and the public employment agency of Swe- den. Multilingual and multidisciplinary staff have offered courses in Swedish and foreign languages, helped foreigners in finding work and offered support. The programme has also involved cooperation with the embassies of the countries of origin. Ms König Jerlmyr wound up by underlining the importance of improving education and making micro-credit available to foreign residents for starting up businesses. She recommended that the European Commission help Member States and local authorities in coordinating support from the ESF and the Migration and Asylum Fund in finding long term solutions on combating poverty and increasing labour market participation. She expressed the hope that an EU-wide version of the Crossroads programme could assist mobile EU citizens in need of emergency support. António Costa Ms König Jerlmyr mentioned that the city of Stockholm has put in place many successful programmes designed to tackle the challenges met by new arrivals and faced by the city and its population. For instance, the city has offered emergency support to foreigners, set up homeless shelters and conducted outreach campaigns through social workers. The city has also helped those EU nationals who wanted to go back to their countries of origin but did not have the means to do so, through voluntary return programmes. The “Crossroads support programme for the labour market” was mentioned as an example of best practice. Partially funded through the ESF, it targeted both mobile EU nationals and third-country nationals legally resident in Stockholm. It was run by the Stockholm city mission, the Salvation Army and the public employment agency of Sweden. Multilingual and multidiscipli- nary staff have offered courses in Swedish and foreign languages, helped foreigners in finding work and offered support. The programme has also involved cooperation with the embassies of the countries of origin. António Costa Anna König Jerlmyr
  • 12. 12 Joint Conference of Mayors on the impact of intra-EU mobility of EU citizens at local level Mr Costa stressed that Lisbon has an active integration policy and mentioned one- stop shop facilities for foreigners, the availability of Portuguese courses and work on intercultural and inter-religious dialogues as examples.. He also mentioned the municipal council on interculturalism as an example of administrative structure put in place to facilitate inclusion and participation. Mr Costa noted that the city of Lisbon is focusing on projects in neighbourhoods where foreigners are prevalent and, as an example, pointed to the move of the Mayor’s office to one such neighbourhood.. He called for an end to be put to the brain drain. He reiterated that successful inclusion policies depend on cooperation between national and local levels, in a spirit of multi- level governance, so as to guarantee mutual respect of competences and consistent allocation of resources. Mr Costa also referred to the CoR’s work on Union citizenship and free movement. He mentioned in particular the recent opinion on the 2013 Report on EU Citizenship, which underlines that free movement is a cornerstone of the EU’s further economic and political development, opens up professional and learning opportunities for EU citizens and creates closer bonds between Europeans, making it a central element of Union citizenship. In conclusion, Mr Costa stressed that “benefit tourism” is not an overwhelming re- ality. Most mobile EU citizens are motivated by work. He cautioned that countries of destination wanting to limit flows today might become tomorrow’s countries of origin. He urged those countries not to penalise their citizens and jeopardise their chances of personal development. He pointed out that the EU is based on reciproc- ity and solidarity. Jan Pörksen presented the city of Hamburg, which is a multi-ethnic place where 50% of children attending the city’s schools have a migrant background. Hamburg pursues an integrated urban policy where the public debate is inclusive and the city views all its residents as “citizens” of Hamburg. He mentioned the city’s strategy of increasing the numbers of people with a migrant background in the city-state’s public administration locally and the practice of Hamburg’s First Mayor of personally addressing all foreign residents when they become eligible for German citizenship as good examples of this strategy (“Hamburg my harbour! Germany my home!” cam- paign). Mr Pörksen also addressed the issue of work-motivated mobility, mentioning that Hamburg depends on skilled labour and acknowledging that foreign arrivals in many cases met those needs by providing highly qualified but also highly skilled individu- als for the city’s production sectors. He also underlined the need for Hamburg to continue working on consolidating its welcome culture and service infrastructure. For instance, the system for recognising formal and informal qualifications, with scholar- ships also provided, aims to attain this goal. Mr Pörksen also described the challenges Hamburg faced in ensuring the inclusion of new arrivals. While he acknowledged that similar challenges were faced by other cities, he stressed that it had been a mistake not to grant full right of movement directly upon EU enlargement. By way of example, he described the experience of Polish, and more recently Bulgarian and Romanian, nationals seeking work in the city as self-employed people. Nowadays - with the advent of full freedom of movement Jan Pörksen
  • 13. Joint Conference of Mayors on the impact of intra-EU mobility of EU citizens at local level 13 - these individuals are shifting to steady paid employment, with a concomitant posi- tive impact on the city’s tax and social contribution income. He noted that housing has been one of the challenges faced by the city of Hamburg, where the high cost of housing has affected newcomers in particular and discouraged families from mov- ing to the city. The City of Hamburg has set up a housing service information point for mobile EU workers, where newly arrived workers can seek advice on their rights but also protection and shelter if they find themselves in difficult circumstances. The centre is staffed with multilingual and multidisciplinary personnel and works in close cooperation with various embassies and NGOs. For those who decide to return to their country of origin, it could also provide financial and practical assistance. Finally, Mr Pörksen referred to the work of the Association of German Cities, which has set up a task force on poverty migration. A lively debate followed the panelists’ statements. Representatives of a number of German cities spoke, including the Chief Administrator Officer of Duisburg, Rein- hold Spaniel, and the Mayor of Dortmund, Ullrich Sierau. These cities also shared their concerns and experiences. Representatives of NGOs and civil society organi- sations explained the challenges faced in accessing finance and working with local authorities. The issue of access to jobs and recognition of qualifications also featured prominently in the debate. Members of the audience also wanted to know how differ- ent cities do outreach work. Although speakers drew attention to the different types of challenges facing different cities, there was agreement that freedom of movement should not be called into question. Cities called for more targeted use of EU funding both in the countries of destination and - equally importantly - in countries of origin. Speakers and participants alike referred to the importance of using EU cohesion policy instruments in an integrated and effective way in order to combat poverty and exclusion. One speaker suggested that local authorities of different member states could exchange experiences with a view to capacity-building. The debate was closed by a comment from Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the European Commission. Ms Reding picked up on the issue of EU funding and men- tioned that the European Commission is providing assistance to Member States in view of increasing their absorption capacity and of making useful and targeted in- vestments. She encouraged cities and regions to address national governments with their concerns and funding requests. An example was the EU framework for national Roma integration strategies, under which all 28 Member States presented national strategies to tackle housing, health, work and education issues. Viviane Reding Ullrich Sierau
  • 14. 14 Joint Conference of Mayors on the impact of intra-EU mobility of EU citizens at local level Panel II: Experiences of cities: Implementing local policies on free movement and inclusion Richard Blakeway, London’s Deputy Mayor for Housing, Land and Property, Ovidiu Portariuc, Mayor of Boto¸sani Municipality, Romania, and Gilles Pargneaux, Mem- ber of the European Parliament and Vice-President of Eurometropolis Lille-Kortrijk- Tournai shared their experiences in the panel debate moderated by Chiara Adamo, Head of Unit for Union Citizenship and Free Movement, DG Justice, European Com- mission. Richard Blakeway urged the importance of recognising existing challenges, such as cultural, language challenges or homeless people. One third of homeless people in London came from Europe and among those 72% from recent accession countries, with Poland, Romania and Lithuania ranking highest for the last four years. Policies need to look at raising awareness about challenges faced by mobile citizens; un- derstanding would prevent some of the unsuccessful experiences. Comprehensive data-gathering across Europe would be required in support of such policies. A sec- ond avenue to explore would be voluntary reconnection in association with charity organisations in the country of origin. A framework of such associations could be developed across Europe. Richard Blakeway
  • 15. Joint Conference of Mayors on the impact of intra-EU mobility of EU citizens at local level 15 Ovidiu Portariuc expressed his concern about any re-thinking of fundamental val- ues based on perceptions, which would represent a risk to the credibility and ulti- mately the viability of the European project. He also drew attention to the dangers of misusing terminology. There is a fundamental difference between a “(third-country) migrant” and an “EU citizen enjoying the right of free movement”. Intentional misuse of these terms is spreading an anti-European message, and speaking about “intra- EU migration” is against the European spirit. He expressed regret that the study commissioned by the European Commission did not always seem accurate as for the terminology used. Mr Portariuc insisted that there should be a balanced debate about the local impact of the free movement of EU citizens. To restrict this debate to vulnerable categories such as the Roma or low-skilled workers is ignoring the reality, which confirms the economic benefits enjoy by Member States which receive mobile workers. The idea that social security systems are being abused is exaggerated. Contrary to the cam- paigns against Romanian workers, the facts show that the UK’s health care system is supported by Romanian doctors and nurses. A lot was invested in their country of origin for their training. He is, therefore, very interested in cooperation on “welcoming home” projects to address the brain drain and the causes which made them leave. Mr Portariuc is convinced that the costs of integration were higher at the destination and hoped that the European Commission would support special programmes, in- cluding for the North-Est region in Romania, one of the poorest regions. Natural flows cannot be stopped as long as wide disparities exist. Referring to the local community in Botosani, located in the North-Est region of Ro- mania and bordering on the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, Mr Portariuc men- tioned work on social housing for vulnerable people. During the last three years, six projects have been implemented with EU co-financing to promote social inclusion of vulnerable people, notably Roma, by providing, for example, support for completion of mandatory schooling. Mr Portariuc concluded by welcoming the opportunity for exchanging lessons learned that would make it possible to maximise the potential of free movement. Gilles Pargneaux spoke from the perspective of the 2 million inhabitants of the Eu- rometropolis Lille-Kortrijk-Tournai. As a successful example of a European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation (EGTC), the initiative has facilitated cross-border coop- eration among the 147 communes involved and is having a positive effect on their development. Even if they have different administrative systems, their representa- tives have been developing a common strategy for promoting the implementation of projects, such as enhanced cooperation between poles of excellence (scientific and technology entities) or a Cross-Border Employment Forum. 30% of EU citizens in their territory come from Portugal, Belgium, Italy, Poland and Spain, with above all the numbers from Belgium rising in recent years. Mr Pargneaux reported that the Eurometropolis is looking forward to welcoming even more European citizens, as people have experienced how exchanges with the rest of Europe can transform and regenerate cities (e. g. Lille as a European Capital of Culture). Measures are being put in place to attract young people, notably help- ing foreign university graduates to get established (mostly from Belgium, Romania and Bulgaria at present), providing a guide for newcomers in their mother tongue. Gilles Pargneaux Ovidiu Portariuc
  • 16. 16 Joint Conference of Mayors on the impact of intra-EU mobility of EU citizens at local level It is also planned to create an international strand in university curricula by introduc- ing an intercultural module or a study period abroad. During the audience debate, Heinz Becker, an Austrian member of the European Parliament, took the floor to call for joint responsibility to be taken and political forces that induce fear and propagated discrimination to be curbed. He applauded the Eu- ropean Commission for engaging with local representatives, who are aware of what is happening and what citizens are going through. There is a need for “benchle- arn- ing”. In Austria it has been proven that EU mobile citizens have contributed more to social services than they have received. The balance has, thus, been positive. There are measures to deal with people who abuse the social benefits system; if Member States have not used them, they only have to blame themselves. “We should not be naive, but we need to make it clear that we benefit”, he said. Ewa Sadowska, CEO of the Polish association Barka presented the model system for inclusion of long-term unemployed developed by her association. The Barka as- sociation has already been invited by local authorities in London, Hamburg, Dublin and the Netherlands to cooperate in the field of voluntary reconnection. Part of the association’s success is due to the staff employed by Barka, namely former home- less people whose personal experience has been crucial. She also considered that the social economy has been important in helping people improve their lot. Social enterprises made up for 7% of employment in the EU and are a model which could be applied to African countries. Barka has been approached by the African diaspora in Europe and joint projects in Kenya and Ethiopia could be envisaged . Jan Pörksen, Hamburg State Secretary for Work, Social Affairs, Family and Integra- tion, pointed to some misreading of the figures. According to the figures, the official count of mobile citizens from Romania and Bulgaria is low. This is due to the fact Heinz Becker Ewa Sadowska
  • 17. Joint Conference of Mayors on the impact of intra-EU mobility of EU citizens at local level 17 that laws of the host Member States prevent them for claiming social security. There are, however, more citizens without jobs and needing assistance outside the regular social security system. The panel responded to a comment from the audience about the existence of net- works of charity organisations and NGOs working with marginalised people, al- though, regretfully, local and regional authorities are squeezing their budget and placing restrictions on the support provided by those organisations. Mr Blakeway acknowledged that the level of engagement of civil society, though very important, varies considerably across the EU. In his view, this is not only a question of funding, but also of the way in which services are commissioned to NGOs. Mr Pargneaux agreed that the role of NGOs should be boosted, that they need to be included more in partnerships at EU level and given a new status to accomplish the tasks of public service. Mr Portariuc recognised the active role of NGOs and considered that the main obstacle faced by them in Romania is not lack of partnerships, but of financing. Finally all the participants agreed to a balanced approach in the debate, without questioning European principles, but also without ignoring problems where they arose. Chiara Adamo closed the session by pointing out that the aim of the Ernst & Young study commissioned by the European Commission has not been to generalise the findings into a one-size-fits-all scenario but to kick start an exchange among lo- cal authorities. The current legal framework at EU level is sufficient to tackle potential problems, since it contains adequate safeguards, even though obviously there is more behind the dry reality of the law.
  • 18. 18 Joint Conference of Mayors on the impact of intra-EU mobility of EU citizens at local level Panel III: Experiences of cities: implementing local policies on free movement and inclusion The third panel was chaired by Lieve Fransen, Director “Europe 2020 and Social Policies”, at DG Employment of the European Commission. The panel consisted of Marnix Norder, Deputy Mayor of The Hague in charge of Urban Development, Public Housing and Integration, and Vladimir Kissiov, Municipal Councillor of Sofia municipality and First Vice-Chair of the CoR Commission for Citizenship, Govern- ance, Institutional and External Affairs (CIVEX). Marnix Norder introduced The Hague’s experience with migration and mobility. His city, also known as the City of Peace, has become multi-ethnic, with 7% of its popu- lation from a migrant background. He acknowledged that mobility has brought ben- efits to his city, while noting that it has also given rise to challenges at city level in terms of housing, urban planning and employment. In extreme cases phenomena such as criminality and homelessness have been observed. Mr Norder appealed to Brussels to help cities find solutions to these challenges. Mr Norder also referred to locally implemented policies that have proved success- ful in facilitating the inclusion of newcomers, for instance adult language learning and education modules targeted at EU mobile citizens, as well as public information desks set up together with the Foundation for The Hague and Central Europe, a lo- cal NGO. These initiatives have benefited a large number of migrants in the Hague metropolitan area. With the help of Barka, a Polish NGO, The Hague has also tried to address homelessness by helping 50% of the homeless population return to their countries of origin. Mr Norder put forward some suggestions and recommendations for policy-makers Marnix Norder Lieve Fransen
  • 19. Joint Conference of Mayors on the impact of intra-EU mobility of EU citizens at local level 19 at all levels. Research should be done at the local and national level in order to gain a fuller picture of the situation. Measures should also be taken to ease social tensions; otherwise there is a risk of populist politicians capitalising on unfounded fears. Finally, he called for more support from the EU level to cities in setting up and implementing non-discrimination policies taking into account the needs of all members of the society, including the “local” and “foreign” populations. In his view, cities are faced with different but similar problems, which should also be addressed at the EU level by providing support for locally sourced solutions. He encouraged all players to take responsibility and emphasised the importance of financial support. He also underlined the importance of a transparent and fully legal labour market with structures in place to detect and prevent undeclared work. He finally called for meas- ures designed to tackle the perceived brain drain in the mobile citizens’ countries of origin. Mr Norder concluded by expressing the hope that free movement would be strengthened by effective measures, and underlined the shared responsibility of all levels of governance in realising this objective. He stressed that shedding light on the facts would be the only way to silence populist voices. Vladimir Kissiov started his statement by noting that the terms “migrant” and “EU citizen” have become conflated and reminded the audience that the subject of the conference was mobile EU citizens. He underlined the fact that in the overwhelming majority of cases mobile EU citizens are net contributors in terms of taxes and social security. Referring to his city, Sofia, one of the 20 largest cities in Europe, Mr Kissiov 1 noted that mobility is not a new phenomenon. To date, mobility in Bulgaria has been internal, with people converging on the capital. However, with EU accession some citizens of Sofia have also exercised their right to move to another EU member state for work reasons. Mr Kissiov explained that this has put a strain on the city’s social and health Vladimir Kissiov
  • 20. 20 Joint Conference of Mayors on the impact of intra-EU mobility of EU citizens at local level infrastructure, in which there is, for example, a shortage of qualified personnel. He also noted that the “tsunami” of Bulgarian and Romanian job-seekers has not materi- alised after the full implementation of freedom of movement on 1 January 2014. Mr Kissiov referred to the issue of EU funding, admitting that in Bulgaria there have been low take-up rates for the cohesion and structural funds; this can be attributed to different factors, including time-consuming procedures, lack of political will, poor administrative capacity and corruption. In his view, Bulgaria could benefit from in- creased monitoring and assistance in combating corruption. Mr Kissiov concluded by expressing strong support for freedom of movement, which in his view is an integral element of the single market. He urged politicians at all levels to see things in perspective and not to overreact. He emphasised that free move- ment is not without qualifications, underlining that the EU has put in place rules but also practical tools to help crack down on abusive exercise of this right. In his view, politicians should apply the law instead of giving in to populism or euro-scepticism by putting free movement into question. Making a link with the upcoming European elections, he stressed the need to send out a message of peace to citizens reminding themof the origins of the European project. He commented that the conference has been organised at a very timely moment, when all Europeans should reflect about the future of the EU. A lively debate followed the panelists’ statements. Participants from the audience insisted on the need for better information about mobility, including the risks as- sociated with it, in both cities of origin and destination. Joachim Stamp, a member of the Land parliament of Nordrhein-Westfalen, spoke about the experience in his region with social exclusion of vulnerable people and asked for practical advice from the EU level on providing solutions at regional and local level. Uwe Zimmermann,
  • 21. Joint Conference of Mayors on the impact of intra-EU mobility of EU citizens at local level 21 Deputy Secretary-General of the German Association of Towns and Municipalities, emphasised the need for solidarity between towns and cities in Europe and pointed to the need to continue investing in language training and social skills. Mariana Gâju, Mayor of Cumpa”na and CoR membe, spoke in her capacity as Vice-President of the Romanian Association of Municipalities. She emphasised that free movement is a fundamental right which reflects European values, and underlined the duty of all Europeans to defend it. She also spoke of the importance of the structural and cohe- sion funds, under the new multiannual financial framework, for fostering the social and economic development of countries such as Romania.
  • 22. 22 Joint Conference of Mayors on the impact of intra-EU mobility of EU citizens at local level Concluding speeches CoR President Ramón Luis Valcárcel Siso said that the conference has significant added value for the Committee of the Regions and for local and regional representa- tives with experience on the ground. He reiterated that freedom of movement and residence is one of the cornerstones of the European project and - as the most well- known EU citizens’ right - has proved to be a source of opportunity for all citizens. The CoR President reminded the audience of some of the key features of free move- ment: it provides a response to labour market shortages in the internal market and helps citizens strengthen their competences and knowledge. The President used examples of his home region of Murcia to illustrate this. He acknowledged that the economic crisis has increased pressure on the more vulnerable tiers of society and so prompted mobility, which has had repercussions on public services at local and regional level. He nevertheless stressed that even though maintaining the quality of the European social model necessarily carries a high cost, this does not justify call- ing into question the right of free movement. In this connection, the CoR President also expressed concern about the result of the recent Swiss referendum (9 February 2014), which could be a disastrous example to Europe. The CoR President closed by reminding everybody present of their obligation to defend free movement, which he described as a historic achievement that must not be negated. He reiterated that the CoR, local and regional authorities are poised to continue their cooperation with the European Commission in safeguarding and strengthening EU citizens’ rights, and underlined that politicians have a duty to guar- antee every citizen the opportunity to flourish in shared prosperity. Ramón Luis Valcárcel Siso
  • 23. Joint Conference of Mayors on the impact of intra-EU mobility of EU citizens at local level 23 Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for Jus- tice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, noted that the common European area is an area where capital, goods, services and people circulate freely. She emphasised that the four fundamental freedoms are inseparable. Ms Reding underlined that none of the conference participants questioned free movement as a basic citizens’ right. Local authorities were on the front line when it came to implementing free movement rules and making them work. The conference has been an opportunity to listen to local representatives, find out what challenges they are facing on the ground and discuss how best to get EU funding for social inclusion purposes where it needs to go . Vice-President Reding observed that there is no one single solution for the chal- lenges arising from free movement and she thanked the conference participants for sharing their experiences. The Commission Vice-President stressed that local and regional authorities play a very important role in making EU rules accessible and understandable to citizens. She emphasised the need to avoid simplistic, ideological and nationalist speech, and stressed that this is possible only in full knowledge of the facts and data supporting the arguments. She reiterated that mobility provides advantages to local populations and mobile citizens alike. She also underlined the importance of fair treatment and non-discrimination. Ms Reding repeated that 20% of the European Social Fund re- sources, i.e. around EUR 80 billion, have been earmarked by the European Commis- sion to support local authorities in promoting social inclusion and she pointed to the importance of information in helping to target spending at areas where help is most needed. She also reminded the conference participants that EU rules and tools en- able Member States and cities to address abuse. Ms Reding emphasised that from the Conference discussions, it emerged that the real problem is not abuse, but pov- erty, and she urged all levels of responsibility - local, regional, national and European - to cooperate in eradicating poverty both in the destination cities and in the cities of origin. To that end, the contribution of transnational networks is very important. She closed the conference by saying that the European Commission is keen to listen to cities and will thus continue to hold similar dialogues with mayors. Viviane Reding
  • 24. The European Commission (DG JUSTICE) and the Committee of the Regions co-organised a Joint conference of Mayors on the impact of intra-EU mobility of EU citizens at local level on 11 February 2014 in Brussels, an event that was attended by more than 220 participants and followed by web-stream and video. More information: http://cor.europa.eu/en/events/Pages/conference-of-mayors-on-eu-mobility-.aspx Brussels, 11 February 2014 Proceedings

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