Barka UK and INISE in the conference of European Mayors

On the 11th of February Ewa Sadowska of Barka UK and INISE took part in the conference of European Mayors.

Please see Ewa’s account below:

Dear All,

I’m coming back from the conference of the European Commission organized in Brussels for European mayors, regarding the intro-EU migration (please refer to the information below and the enclosed attachments).
It was a very fruitful meeting.

The main topic of the conference was the challenges faced by the “mobile citizens of the EU” in the host countries, as well as introducing the methodology and model programs for prevention and support to migrants / solving their problems. The best practice presented during the conference was the “Barka” program and the “Crossroads” program (“Crossroads” is working with migrants in Stockholm). Barka was the only organization which has been invited to present it’s work. It is, I think, an enormous recognition. In the conference participated London’s Deputy Mayor for Housing – Richard Blakeway who in his presentation, spoke about Barka’s work in London and mentioned his study visit in Poznan in 2009.

At the meeting present was also Deputy Mayor of The Hague (he came to the conference with his employee – Mrs. Bindoe who, on behalf of The Hague local government, is responsible for cooperation with the Barka NL). The Mayor and Mrs. Bindoe told me, that the cooperation with Barka NL in The Hague runs very well and they will talk about Barka during the panel discussion (certainly this was the case, but unfortunately I did not hear the presentation of the Mayor of The Hague because I had to go to a meeting regarding INISE).

My presentation was positively received. I spoke about multicultural centres for migrants in Europe (also for non-EU migrants), the need to build social economy structures in Romania and Bulgaria (the stronger the social market economy is in sending countries, the fewer citizens of these countries will decided to go to the UK or the Netherlands for “better lives”, and migrants who are going back home from Western Europe, will find a friendly environment to assimilate and find employment upon return). The European Commission and the Committee of the Regions showed interest in Barka activities. The Committee of the Regions’ advisor said that the path which Barka follows is extraordinary and that her and Mrs. Vivienne Reading would be interested in coming to Poland and meeting us!

The Mayor of Stockholm was interested as well to visit Barka in Poland and experience the social economy in the context of a young Polish democracy and growing civil society.

It looks like the INISE will have a lot of work to do. The space was outlined yesterday. It is the space for all of us, the space for development of the matter, which we carry and development of ourselves. Present was also the Mayor of Hamburg – Mr. Porksen. In his presentation, he spoke about a greatly organized return program for migrants in Hamburg, however he did not mention that this work is being done by the Barka representative. He only said that „German organizations have Polish workers”. After the presentation I approached Mr. Porksen and I said to him that the 2000 migrants who returned from Hamburg and whom he mentioned, had been helped by us and Staszek Szczerba associated with Barka Poland. The mayor said he knows and respects Barka, but mainly spoke about the work of Andrew Stasiewicz (A. Stasiewicz from Stadt Mission organization prepares reports on the outreach work with people on the streets, which is performed by Stanislaw Szczerba). He said that Andrew Stasiewicz became popular in Germany because of his involvement in the “returns project”. Recently he participated in the main German TV programme and he became „Germany’s favorite”.

The consequence of yesterday’s afternoon meeting with Mr Kaczmarek’s office in Brussels (and earlier meetings, including a the meeting with Mr. Kaczmarek in Poznan) will be a lobbying meeting in Brussels. Its purpose it to influence the future of the historical proposal submitted by MEP Kaczmarek for implementation of an experimental pilot project for creation of environments, institutions and partnerships for social market economy in local communities in Eastern Africa.

Details on the conference and the conference’s materials you will find here

Ewa Sadowska

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