Municipal Integration and Development Initiative (MIDI)
The European Union is facing major challenges. Climate change is progressing rapidly, and people are dying on the escape and migration routes to Europe. In addition, economic and social inequality is increasing, and youth unemployment – especially in the southern Member States – still persists. Moreover, in some Member States there is increasing pressure on democracy and the rule of law. The corona pandemic and its serious impact on all areas of social life, has added a further challenge to the long list of challenges to which the EU must find answers.
„If this development continues, the EU will become more and more unable to act because of its internal divisions.”Prof. Dr. Gesine Schwan
The EU needs creative, democratic, sustainable and effective approaches to respond to these challenges. On the one hand, it must strengthen the participation of its citizens in the political process. On the other hand, the EU needs an investment initiative to achieve more sustainable growth providing social security, fighting climate change, achieving a responsible and economic use of finite resources, and establishing a circular economy. Therefore, several proposals on how to stimulate public investments have been discussed at the European level in the past months. The EU Commission proposed a ‘Green Deal’ and a ‘Recovery Fund’ and entails investments of billions of Euro, but negotiations on the exact amount of the Recovery Fund and the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF 2021-2027) have not yet been concluded. The new fund, however, offers the opportunity not only to show solidarity with and provide support to the Member States most affected by the Corona pandemic, but also to revive European democracy and its fundamental values.
However, it is not enough to provide only public money to stimulate investment. The money must also be invested in viable projects that add value to the European economy, promote sustainable growth, European integration and strengthen social cohesion.
Approach and Goal of the Municipal Integration and Development Initiative (MIDI)
In the context of these discussions on investment recovery stimuli, such as the Recovery Fund or other financing options for investments, the HUMBOLDT-VIADRINA Governance Platform proposes a strengthening of local and regional communities in Europe to identify projects that create additional value for the European Union.
The aim of the Municipal Integration and Development Initiative (MIDI) is to promote a socio-economically sustainable growth in the European Union. This growth should contribute the reduction of unemployment and the strengthening of social cohesion. The focus of the initiative is on improving working relations and strengthening the identification of European citizens with the European Union.
Which actors and processes are necessary to identify realistic and sustainable investment projects that are supported and sustained by the national and European public?
Reception and Integration of Refugees in Europe as a Joint Municipal Development
Europe urgently needs a medium and long-term strategy that perceives the arrival of asylum seekers not as a threat and crisis but ensures fundamental rights. A decentralized, participatory and community-based approach to asylum and refugee policy could help the EU to a positive new start by seeing the reception of refugees not as a burden but turning it into an opportunity for sustainable development.
In the project “Reception and Integration of Refugees in Europe as a Joint Municipal Development” we aim at decentralizing EU refugee and asylum policy. Many European municipalities have emphasized their continued commitment to receive refugees. Additional funds, for example from an European Fund, should provide local authorities with more leeway to carry out projects that serve the whole community. European municipalities that receive refugees on a voluntary basis should therefore be reimbursed reception and integration costs and get an additional amount for their own municipal development. A Matching Method would make it possible to incorporate both municipalities’ and refugees’ preferences in the relocation and resettlement process. The application to the here proposed EU fund should be prepared by Municipal Development Councils. By involving the various stakeholder groups at the local level, the recommendation to receive additional refugees can build on a broader basis of legitimacy. Moreover, since many different actors participate responsibility is shared among many.
Previous Activities of the Municipal Integration and Development Initiative (MIDI)
Events of the Municipal Integration and Development Initiative (MIDI)
MIDI in the Media
Publications of the Municipal Integration and Development Initiative (MIDI)
- From the sea to the city: Ideas, good practices and next steps for a welcoming Europe
- Report of Municipal Development Councils (DE)
- Manifesto Relaunching Europe Bottom-Up
- Relaunching Europe Bottom-Up: Conference Report
- Note Conceptuelle: L’intégration européenne des réfugiés: vers un mouvement communautaire commun
- Concept note (short): Integration of Refugees in Europe as a joint municipal development
- Concept note (long): Integration of Refugees in Europe as a joint municipal development
- Konzeptpapier: Europäische Flüchtlingsintegration als gemeinsame kommunale Entwicklung
- Workshop Report Energiewende as a mean of strengthening local communities in Greece (EN)
- Workshop Report Energiewende as a mean of strengthening local communities in Greece (GR)
- Workshop report: Good practice exchange between Bottrop and Thessaloniki