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Is Spain on the front line of reception and integration? The Spanish asylum system within the EU framework

National Meeting 

CIDOB hosted a public meeting in Madrid to present the baseline comparative results of the National Integration Evaluation Mechanism project (NIEM, 2017-2021) and the National Report regarding the Spanish asylum system, which will be further analysed through the NIEM project in years to come. During the meeting, presenters explored: to what extent is Spain fulfilling its obligation to provide international protection as a signatory of the 1951 Geneva Convention? How do efforts in Spain compare to those of neighboring countries? Is Spain on the front line of reception and integration within the European framework? 

The meeting brought together key actors involved in the organization and management of international protection in Spain, including government officials, migration experts, non-profit and service provider leaders, and other members of civil society. Estrella Rodríguez Pardo, General Director of Integration and Humanitarian Attention under the Ministry of Labour, Migration, and Social Security, kicked-off the meeting together with Elena Sánchez-Montijano, Senior Researcher at CIDOB, and Juan José Juárez, Senior Project Manager at Foundation Bertelsmann. Following the welcome, the meeting consisted of three sessions that provided various perspectives in the debate regarding international protection and reception.

The first session offered an institutional perspective with representatives from the Refugee and Asylum Office Ministry of the Interior (Juan Vallterra de Simón), the Ministry of Labor, Migration, and Social Security (Amapola Blasco Marhuenda), and the Basque regional government (Monika Hernando Porres). In the second session, CIDOB researchers (Elena Sánchez-Montijano and Francesco Pasetti) presented the scientific findings of the NIEM project. The presentation highlighted both strengths and weaknesses of the Spanish refugee reception and integration system, particularly in relation to other EU member states. The final session provided the perspective of the third sector, including practitioners from ACCEM (Bernabé Catalán Llano), CEAR (Paloma Favieres), and the UNHCR (María de Zabala Hartwig). Throughout the day, esteemed academics Joaquín Arango and Ramón Mahía served as moderators. Discussion was further enriched by active participation and questions from the general public, consisting of more than 50 individuals representing all sectors of society including journalists, students, immigrants, and service providers.

Advocacy Meeting
Following the public event, select stakeholders were invited to continue the conversation in a private advocacy meeting. During the meeting, stakeholders expounded upon issues raised in the public session, discussing with further precision and detail their knowledge and experience. Conversation focused specifically on the most recent changes and challenges within the national refugee reception and integration system.