Sponsorship and grass root efforts key for integrating refugees

S&D Hearing on refugee sponsorship

S&D MEPs are calling for more support to be given to communities and refugees working to integrate newly arrived refugees into their societies. That was the message to come out of two seminars in the European Parliament today, focused on refugee integration.
S&D Group vice-president Tanja Fajon said:
“Across Europe there are thousands of examples of individuals and communities going to great lengths to help refugees integrate into their new homes. From providing education to helping find jobs, this can make a huge difference to peoples’ lives. These grass-root efforts don’t just help the refugees, they help build relationships and trust between communities and are essential if our asylum system is going to work effectively.
“Currently we have no EU-wide sponsorship programme for refugees; we are clearly lagging behind other parts of the world on this. We are calling on the Commission to act and deliver a programme that could strengthen our resettlement efforts in the EU.”
S&D Group vice-president Josef Weidenholzer added:
“Canada and other countries have been running programmes to help individuals and communities ‘sponsor’ refugees for many years now. These have shown significant advantages in helping people integrate into their new societies and find work. We need to look at how sponsorship could help strengthen refugee relocation and resettlement in the EU - helping refugees and boosting local communities. We spend so long focusing on the difficulties of asylum policy that it is also important to show the positive benefits it can bring to our communities.”