2. Welcoming refugees and economic migrants in rural areas
This theme was led by Hela Sverige ska leva HSSL, Rural Sweden – the Swedish rural movement, and the Project Manager was Josefin Heed of HSSL. The work involved project partners from Austria, Estonia, Finland, Serbia, Turkey, Hungary and Slovenia and 41 participants from 10 countries plus wider conference delegates, in surveys, workshops, lectures, webinars and participation in conferences at European and national levels.
The project aims were:
- To clarify key issues of integration and inclusion of asylum seekers and economic migrants in rural areas
- To identify and document case studies of successful integration through community action
- To offer conclusions on what could be done on a political level to help integration of newly arrived in rural areas.
- To prepare a report to disseminate the findings of the project (key issues, case studies and propositions of statements for the European Rural Parliament).
The project gathered examples, experience and knowledge from rural Europeans who are working with initiatives to welcome refugees and migrants into their communities. Conclusions identified experience, good practice, obstacles and challenges and support needs. In summary, rural Europe has a great potential to welcome refugees and migrants and provide a good life. If authorities do their job in the establishment and cooperate with local volunteers, the people in the local community can create good conditions for the rest. The rural movements of Europe could create better conditions for local volunteers by developing a toolbox of good practices, creating exchanges of experiences through conferences and webinars and to spread the point of view that newcomers contribute to the society rather than creating problems. It is also important that we work with advocacy to change policies concerning how we welcome refugees and migrants.
We are convinced that rural Europe has a great potential to welcome refugees and migrants and provide a good life. We base this on the fact that many rural Europeans have become involved in welcoming activities and by that contributed in creating a better life for migrants and refugees to Europe. For the upcoming European Rural Parliament we wish to gather experiences, good examples and thoughts on what has been done and what can be done further in welcoming refugees and migrants in rural areas. We welcome everyone who has experience of participating in activities in rural areas with refugees and migrants to participate in the work. Contribute to the work by doing the survey below and by joining one of our virtual think tanks, please register below.