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7.10.2016 WARSAW // Local Responses to Refugee Crisis - Initial Reception and Integration. Dutch and Polish Experiences.

Investing in integration today, will contribute to making Europe a more prosperous, cohesive and inclusive society in the long term - that was the main concept of the conference Local Responses to the Refugee Crisis:  Initial Reception and Integration – Dutch and Polish Experiences which was held in the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands on the 7th of October 2016.

The aim of the conference was to provide an opportunity to exchange information in the field of integration between representatives public authorities, practitioners and experts from Poland, the Netherlands and the European Commission. The conference was organised by the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) as a part of the project conducted in a partnership with the Dutch Embassy in Poland and The European Commission Representation Office in Poland. The project envisages the exchange of best practices and experience between Poland and the Netherlands in the field of integration of the beneficiaries of the international protection with a special emphasis on the intercultural dialogue and integration of the above mentioned group with the local host societies in both countries. 
The panel brought together the European and national perspectives on questions of the complementarity of the European, national and local levels of governance of integration of asylum-seekers and refugees. The moderator concentrated on three aspects of the issue: (1) the role of the EU in stimulating transfer of good practices and monitoring the progress of actual integration through the use of indicators; (2) the successes and barriers in promoting intercultural dialogue and raising awareness among the host communities on the benefits and costs of integration; (3) the prospects of continuation of welcoming integration policies through reference to Polish and Dutch cases. Both the Dutch and Polish panelists reaffirmed the technical capacity for dealing with larger asylum-seeker inflows, citing their record of managing stronger pressure, faced in the past. At the same time, they expressed concerns about the politicization of the issue, which has been observed since the onset of the migrant crisis in 2015, and which might in the long run further erode public support for migrant integration.