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On 26 and 27 February, 2015the Centre for the Study of Democracy (CSD) had the pleasure to host the third and last workshop within the international research aimed at monitoring the integration of three vulnerable migrant groups in ten EU Member States (migrant women, children and victims of trafficking). The following partners took part in the meeting: Mila Mancheva, Slavyanka Ivanova and Andrey Nonchev (CSD, Bulgaria), Luigi Bellesi and Sara Giannone (CENSIS, Italy), Jennifer Zuppiroli and Magdalena Queipo de Llano Lopez-Cozar (ACCEM, Spain), Dia Anagnostou (ELIAMEP, Greece), Terezia Palickova (People in Need, Slovakia), Susanne Kimm (Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Human Rights, Austria), Myroslava Keryk and Katarzyna Gmaj (Lazarski University, Poland), Vera Messing (CPS-CEU, Hungary), Andrew Vassallo (People for Change Foundation, Malta), as well as Joris Michelsen and Dirk Vanheule (CeMIS, Belgium). The meeting was joined by Prof. Heaven Crawley from the Advisory Board. The workshop focused on the completion of the final products of the study that will be released to stakeholders and the public together with national and EU level recommendations for improvement of the monitoring and integration of vulnerable migrants.

The meeting was opened by Dr. Mila Mancheva (CSD, Bulgaria), who introduced the program of the workshop. Susanne Kimm (BIM, Austria) presented the Compendium of Promising Practices, which lays out ten best practices from across the ten countries partaking in this research. Dr. Mila Mancheva (CSD, Bulgaria) remarked that the compendium should reflect the fact that some countries have a much more advanced framework of policies and practices focused on vulnerable groups, while others, like Bulgaria, have less pronounced initiatives. In this context the Compendium should serve to illustrate the limitations in integration policy across the EU member states especially with regard to vulnerable categories of migrants. Susanne Kimm (BIM, Austria) agreed that policy context will be added to the Compendium as well as a discussion of the limitations of the presented promising practices. Slavyanka Ivanova (CSD, Bulgaria) and Krystyna Gmaj (Lazarski University, Poland) noted that even if certain criterion is missing, such as sustainability for example, a practice can still be a promising one especially in contexts with less well developed integration frameworks and initiatives. Participants agreed that the approach of the Compendium should involve a review but not promotion of promising practices since the effectiveness of most initiatives is not evaluated.

In the afternoon session, Andrew Vassalo (PfC, Malta) presented a European Report providing review of EU directives relating to the integration of vulnerable migrant groups. The partners agreed that the relevant audience for the report is national stakeholders. Katarzyna Gmaj (Lazarski University, Poland) noted that the national context in which EU measures are implemented is crucial and that the incorporation of EU Directives in national law is not a guarantee in itself of effective migrant integration. Dirk Vanheule (CeMIS, Belgium) remarked that the EU Directives have limitations and imperfections and that they exist together with other international frameworks, with UN legislation being particularly important.

The 27 February session was opened by Dr. Mila Mancheva and Dr. Slavyanka Ivanova (CSD, Bulgaria) who presented the main results of a comparative study of the integration of vulnerable migrants conducted in ten EU member states. The presented study results related to comparative analysis of policy measures in set areas of migrant integration such as employment, social inclusion, active citizenship, education and anti-discrimination. In addition, main results were presented with regard to migrant integration outcomes along rich set of statistical indicators. A heated discussion followed regarding the gaps in available statistical data for comparing the integration outcomes in countries with big and moderate migrant populations (Vera Messing, CEU); the limitations and gaps in the use of national statistical and administrative data (Slavyanka Ivanova, CSD); the need to interpret statistical data and variations in integration outcomes in the context of migration patterns and migrant profiles at national level (Dia Anagnostou, ELIAMEP); the need of caution in discussing integration outcomes in the context of policy frameworks only (Joris Michelsen, CeMIS); the need to design studies of the agency of migrants as important factor in the process of integration (Katarzyna Gmaj, LU); the need to stress and problematise the limited focus on vulnerable migrants and their specific needs across the studied countries (Heaven Crawley, Advisory Board). Participants put under discussion the country typologies in the patterns of migrant integration. They also agreed that the results from the presented comparison can be used to feed into useful recommendations for improvement of monitoring and integration mechanisms for vulnerable migrants at both national and EU level.

Slavyanka Ivanova (CSD, Bulgaria)
Prof. Heaven Crawley, Advisory Board
Participants in the ASSESS Project Workshop 3
Dia Anagnostou (ELIAMEP, Greece)
Joris Michelsen (CeMIS, Belgium) (left), Dirk Vanheule (CeMIS, Belgium) (center), Nadya Stoynova (CSD)

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