Concrete Recommendations from the EU Migration Policy Summit

What were some of the recommendations which emerged from the EU Migration Policy Summit?


Social Innovations for Labour Market Integration

  • Jane Leu, Upwardly Global/Migration Ventures, USA/Germany
  • Jimmy Antonsson, Mitt Liv, Sweden
  • Robert Kratzer, Social Bee, Germany
  • Sera Choi, DG EMPLOYMENT
  • Laura Catana (facilitator), Ashoka Romania

Key issues discussed:

  • What Social Entrepreneurs bring: they bring the data. SEs can more easily test and prove concepts: capturing and sharing this data is incredibly helpful for policy makers to create and defend new policies. It is important to have clear theories of change, proof of concept, impact and modelling.
  • What SEs need to know: creativity on how to lobby, as well as specific needs, priorities and obstacles policy makers face. Stakeholder maps to identify other interested parties could be very helpful: cities (can lobby), businesses, and migrants themselves to bring to the table.
  • Policy proposals: more incentives for innovation for states, businesses and citizen sector organizations: e.g. social impact bonds, or funds for organizations successful at hiring and retaining migrants and refugees.


  • Stakeholder mapping: to know who are the people influencing particular laws and policies: how can we bring them into the room? Who can help put this together?
  • Analysis commissioned by EU to identify integration process and policies needed to adjust.
  • Refugees in the room: spaces for EU Commission to hear directly from refugees and migrants and involve them in designing solutions.
  • Incentives from the EU to member states – e.g. Awards for 3 regions best at integrating migrants in their community.
  • A funding mechanism to use 2-5% of EU procurement for organizations employing refugees or helping others employ them.

Designing Infrastructure for a Welcoming Culture

  • Daniel Kerber, More Than Shelters, Germany and Global
  • Luisa Seiler, Singa, France
  • Mauro Striano, Policy Officer FEANTSA (Migration and Employment).
  • Alessandro Valera (facilitator), Ashoka Italy

Key issues discussed:

Physical space impacts our wellbeing. Access to regularization and documents gives migrants and refugees certain access to the housing market, but in recent years residence permits are for shorter periods which puts the individual in a very difficult transitional phase and no real investment and integration takes place, especially since during the application phase the refugees cannot change residence. The housing market is already saturated. Housing is also based on a quantitative perspective. There is no funding going to more qualitative indicators (social environment, access to labour market, etc.).


  • Permanent residency should be offered for longer duration.
  • The housing should be allocated in connection to other factors, such as access to labour market, education, socio-cultural integration processes.
  • Funding opportunities should be given for housing.
  • Even if housing belongs to national competences, the EU has a mandate to give policy support to national level. The last action plan of 2016 recognizes the barriers to housing.
  • Funding from the EU investment bank for reception centers, and for long term housing would be an advantage.

Contextualised and Effective Solutions for Mental and Physical Wellbeing of Migrants

  • Inge Missmahl, IPSO Context, Afghanistan/Germany
  • Geertrui Serneels, Solentra, Belgium
  • Ramazan Salman, MiMi, Germany
  • Rainer Höll (facilitator), Ashoka Europe

Key issues discussed:

The existing welfare systems do not offer enough recognition to newcomers and refugees and access to basic healthcare assessment and mental healthcare counseling is not provided everywhere. There are certain gaps in the health service provision. The most striking one is the lack of access to interpretation services. A change of paradigm is needed when dealing with migrants experiencing different types of trauma. The long procedures for accessing a legal status (for asylums seekers and refugees) or integration of migrants are aggravating the situation.



  • Healthcare should be treated both European and national level, although currently it is more a national competence.
  • For asylum seekers, a European fund should be allocated to give Health Vouchers to all newcomers. The voucher could consist of minimum conditions a person needs to have when starting a new life in Europe: a health check, psychological care, access to some life skills assessment and language skills (to learn the language of the country he/she is in).
  • A change in paradigm should occur also at the educational level: cultural sensitive education and health literacy campaigns should be implemented in basic education.
  • In dealing with migrants and refugees, there should be an EU standardization on access to translation.
  • EU-funded training for health professionals dealing with migrants should be provided so that they are more sensitive and better equipped.
  • Connect healthcare with livelihood projects and to acknowledge that mental health at work is a responsibility to by shared by the employer.

Tools to Recognise Skills and Enable Migrants to Contribute

  • Lily Scheuerpflug, Kiron, Germany
  • Pascaline Servan-Schreiber, University of the People, USA
  • Michael Stenger, Schlau Schule, Germany
  • Maria Illies, DG EMPLOYMENT, Policy Officer in Disability and Inclusion Unit
  • Loic van Cutsem (facilitator), Ashoka Austria

Key issues discussed:

  • Online access to Internet
  • Language levels – twofold barrier
    • Need to lower language thresholds (often people are excluded because the requirements are too high – ex. C1 language level)
    • Need to foster language learning
  • Local government requirements sometimes act as barriers
  • Lack of readily available information on skill recognition in the host country
  • Loss of motivation is a recurring problem
  • Legal, societal and political barriers


  • The need to foster relationships with local ministries (particularly with national ministries of education).
  • The importance of creating a network in each municipality – this is needed for a holistic education system;
  • agreements with universities (equivalence of credits as part of Bologna system – which, currently, is not applicable to all newcomers).
  • More recognition of learning outcomes.
  • Quality assurance.
  • Financial supporters.
  • Develop more forward-looking political approaches.

Skills for 1st and 2nd Generation Migrants: Models that Work

  • Rui Marques, Ubuntu Academy, Portugal
  • Andrea Puschhof, Chancenwerk, Germany
  • Tom Barratt, Peace First, UK
  • Alliyyah Ahad, Migration Policy Institute, Brussels
  • Emma Lindgren (facilitator), Ashoka Sweden

Key issues discussed:

  • Importance of the narratives in politics: young leaders must take a real part of designing policy recommendation – they are part of the solution
  • Involving youth in delivering new policies
  • Building consensus around migration policies among political parties
  • Funding for supporting youth programmes should be more encouraged
  • Investment in intercultural education is not sufficient


  • Challenge: counter populism/racism —> EU wide school competition (creative answers/action focus) for diversity to promote global citizenship among youth —> enabled by school network and Erasmus +/ European funding.
  • Challenge: decrease administrative barriers for EU funding for youth-led initiatives by simplifying the process —> make it more accessible through digitalisation and translation and involving parents/schools.
  • Make powerful storytelling (me, us, now) available for youth so they can influence public policy more directly. 


Incentivising Self-Organization and Contribution instead of Dependency

  • Abdoulaye Fall, Winkomun / ACAF, Spain
  • Sonia Ben Ali, Urban Refugees, France
  • Luisa Seiler, Singa, Germany
  • Marie Boscher, DG HOME, Policy Officer
  • Laura Catana (facilitator), Ashoka Romania

Key Issues Discussed:

  • Support Migrant Led Initiatives: Migrants and refugees leading initiatives that are supporting each other are rarely recognized. By supporting them, new, local, and cost-efficient solutions could emerge and help solve problems. Their major need is capacity building, funding and access for refugee-led organizations.
  • Incentivizing self-led initiatives is more effective than assistance. Evidence exists from tools like ACAF (Self-Funded Saving Groups) create empowerment, trust, social networks, savings and resources; all the while emphasizing human dignity.
  • Refugees and migrants need to be at the table: identifying successful solutions, leading organizations, helping to plan and execute funding mechanism.
  • A need for a paradigm shift in funding and collaboration: need to reach smaller and more local organizations, form consortiums, give incentives to self-led initiatives.
  • Often legal framework is an issue at national level, e.g. if refugees have no status, they remain in a permanent position of dependence with no ability to self-organize.


  • EU Level organization to support and provide funding and support for migrant-led organizations. A board of migrants, or a platform of refugee led organizations? A certificate or stamp to verify trusted refugee led organizations, and open doors for partnerships with them?
  • Comprehensive approach guidelines for cities and EU level. Do this to support local organizations, and to propose specific incentives that can encourage refugees and migrants to self-organize and support each other.
  • Collect and present data and economic evidence on the cost savings by supporting refugee led organizations through a specific programme.
  • Meeting with different DG folks on funding for incentives and another gathering with urban cities and policy makers with refugees.

Tools for Scaling Social Innovation Across Borders

  • Luisa Seller, SINGA, Germany,
  • Lily Scheuerpflung, Kiron, Germany
  • Liam Carey, Third Age, Ireland
  • Roberto Estelles, DG EMPL, Job Creation Unit
  • Loic Van Cutsem (facilitator), Ashoka Austria

Key issues discussed:

  • It is about Scaling impact, not necessarily scaling the organisation itself.
  • There are many solutions out there, but in some sectors they do not travel well and we tend to reinvent the wheel.
  • Key questions to consider for scaling:
    • When to scale? (ripeness / window of opportunity)
    • What to scale? (what is feasible, what is unique, what is needed in other contexts)
    • How – which model? (ex. Open source, licensing, organic)
    • With whom? (partners)
  • Beware of getting ‘caught’ in national level structures, while in reality having methodologies/thinking on a global level and impact on a local level.


  • In order to promotepromoting systemic collaboration and knowledge transfer rather than pushing organisations to grow, more attention should be given to qualitative indicators (outcomes) rather than quantitative indicators (outputs)
  • European Institutions can play a key role in giving recognition/visibility and networking opportunities to successful scaling stories.
  • More funding should be made available (at pan-European level) to initiate scaling/replication projects.

Successful Cases where Collaboration Works

  • David Lubell, Welcoming International, USA/Germany
  • Rui Marques, Ubuntu Academy / Governança Integral, Portugal
  • Daniel Kerber, More Than Shelters, Germany
  • Francesca Lionetti, Project Officer, Council of Europe
  • Rainer Höll (facilitator), Ashoka Europe

 Key issues discussed:

Civil society and citizen sector organisations need to professionalise and use similar approaches to the ones the corporate sector is using to achieve its goals. Knowledge of the regulatory environment is key. The information on the tools applicable is just as important. When campaigning for changing the law, engagement with all policy makers needs to be achieved. Funding is one of the biggest barriers.


To translate the ideas into policy action, a few elements are needed:

  • The role of intermediaries is important. Government doesn’t always know who to get around the table. So lobbying for more funding to intermediaries could be an interesting approach.
  • Raise awareness about differences between organisations and the need for flexibility in designing projects together. Concrete action: there needs to be funding to give more time to design collaborative projects. Action: more phase zero grants.
  • Do not compete for funding but compete for collaboration.
  • Design a process that is solution-focused rather than problem-focused to foster collaboration.
  • Collaboration building across sectors as a process. Demand from policy makers to ask for collaborative work as a requirement for EU funding.

Changing the concept of profit and what is profitable. We must build an incentive that is as strong as profit, and show that things can be “profitable” in other ways than monetary gain.

How Citizen Solutions Can Organize to Meet Policy Goals

  • Jane Leu, Upwardly Global / Migration Ventures, USA / Germany
  • Pedro Calado, High Commissioner for Migration, Portugal
  • Virginia Rodríguez, Por Causa, Spain
  • Thomas Huddleston, Migration Policy Group, Brussels
  • Alessandro Valera (facilitator), Ashoka Italy

Key issues:

  • Implementing policies is a challenge that requires all stakeholders to participate. It cannot be done alone by the government or businesses or non-profits. So there is a need for collaborative spaces where different organizations can work together.
  • A key to implementing and garnering support for it is solid data research and making it public and easy to understand (Por Causa example, sparking High Commission for Child Poverty).
  • Collaboration needs to be manageable, though, not just many organizations in the same room, but real strategic, deep partnerships and conversations.
  • Collaboration as a manageable process, not just tons of institutions in a room, but purposeful, deep partnerships.
  • Politicians and policymakers won’t normally take risks, they look to SEs for that, to lead the way and test things, but to scale it is important to bring those innovations to the existing institutions.


  • A need to make participation and collaboration mandatory when creating/writing policy, and executing it, especially participation of beneficiaries and organizations that will execute the initiatives.
  • There are a lot of good practices that have been collected from SEs and others, how can we disseminate and scale those best practices? Two-way street, contests or funding for local ideas to get funding and scale, but also for institutions to hear from and integrate innovative ideas.

What is our new Framework for Change in Migration?

  • Creating Changemakers: In this framework, people on the move are no longer seen as passive objects of pity, but rather as resourceful changemakers, eager to contribute. Also, host communities are taken seriously and mobilized as changemakers, with the responsibility and ability to welcome people well.
  • Empathy at the foundation: These initiatives provide intentional ways for empathy to be fostered in communities where integration is happening. This happens through spaces for equal interaction, effective story-telling and listening, creating shared purpose, and seeing diversity as a resource, not a problem.
  • Collaboration across sectors: The challenges that emerge from movements of people across borders cannot be solved by one actor or maintaining the status quo, it is essential to build new spaces for collaborative thinking.

Download the complete EU Migration Policy Summit Report (July 2018).

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