Created from the need and desire to have a multicultural European space, where all people, regardless of their background, origin country, cultural mindset, and lifestyle find joy in togetherness and cohabitation, the European Pact for Integration is a 30-month project, funded by the European Commission, aiming to support the integration of newcomers from outside of the European space, in 7 cities across Europe.
Impact at a European level
Cartagena (Spain), Cluj-Napoca (Romania), Linkoping (Sweden), Lublin (Poland), Dietzenbach (Germany), Ravenna (Italy), and Riga (Latvia) have worked together in identifying their areas of priority, building a strong local integration strategy and implementing actions and activities together with other local stakeholders, to enhance the newcomers to learn the language, find a job, understand the culture and make a pleasant and peaceful living for themselves in the European country they have chosen as their home. Each city involved the international citizens in the decision-making process and co-created the most impactful initiatives, to support and smoothen the practical, as well as cultural integration process.
Impact at a local level
In Cluj-Napoca, the identified needs were facilitating access and opportunities for education and integration in labor, either by finding jobs or by starting own businesses. The strategy focuses on one integrative objective that will become the basis for all the actions: EPI One-Stop-Shop – an initiative that brings together all the information, assistance, and guidance to support the integration process of newcomers from A-Z. An online platform that integrates information from the most basic one (finding a home, finding a job, legal considerations, schools, and universities, cultural aspects) to more detailed guides on starting life in Cluj. The online platform is completed by an in-person service desk, where newcomers can pop in, ask questions and receive full support to understand what they need to do and overcome any difficulties they might encounter.
Replication and sustainability
The problem-solving model that EPI is using is co-creation and co-implementation, as well as replication of the processes and results all over Europe. Local stakeholders from each city are directly involved in all stages of the project, from research to implementation, encouraged to contribute with their ideas and their resources and incorporate the actions in the strategies in their daily work. Public administration offices, non-governmental organizations, the business community, academia, and service providers, work together to create a space where multiculturality thrives, that encourages people to learn from each other, work together, give and receive, identify strengths and overcome difficulties, to develop a feeling of belonging and togetherness on the long term.