At the beginning of September a group of experts from municipal or national institutions from 9 European countries (Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Slovenia, Hungary, and Romania), active members of immigrant communities from these countries and NGOs met in Berlin to learn how advisory bodies for immigrants are organized in Germany. Latvia was represented by the Latvian Centre for Human Rights, the Ministry of Culture and the Arabic Cultural centre. The study visit was organized within the framework of the project co-funded by the European Union “Fostering political participation and policy involvement of immigrants in 9 Central and Eastern EU countries”.
The participants had the following meetings and visits:
- Round table discussion on the experiences of the partner countries with advisory bodies;
- Meeting with the former Commissioner for Integration and Immigration for the municipality of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg Berlin and Director of the Advisory Board Regina Reinke and the founding member of the Advisory Council for Integration and Immigration in Berlin Kreuzberg, former municipal politician Riza Baran;
- Visit to the German federal parliament to discuss the role of different social partners (trade unions, advisory bodies);
- Round table discussion with organizations involved with integration in Berlin: Member of Berlin ParliamentDr. Turgut Altug and Managing Director of VIA e.V. „Association for Intercultural Work“ Holger Förster;
- Visit to the office of the Berlin State Commissioner for Integration and Immigration on the work of the State Advisory Board for Integration and Migration and on topic of the Berlin Integration Law.
During all the meetings, extensive discussions on the importance of self-mobilization of immigrant communities, selection criteria and procedure for the participation in consultative mechanisms and impact of the advisory bodies on decision making were held.
Project is co-funded by the European Fund for the Integration of Third Country Nationals.