2nd staff exchange meeting between the municipalities of Thessaloniki & Delta (Connection Project)

On 11 and 12 October, the 2nd meeting for the exchange of experiences and guidance between executives of the municipalities of Thessaloniki and Delta took place, in the framework of the European project CONNECTION (CONNEcting Cities Towards Integrationactioon), co-funded by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) of the European Union. The aim was for the municipality of Delta (municipality with less integration experience) to present its strategies and integration plan of refugees/immigrants and for the municipality of Thessaloniki (city with experience in integration policy) to provide guidance and know-how for the municipality of Delta to finalize its integration plan.

The two-day event was welcomed by Yannis Ioannidis, mayor of the municipality of Delta, Socrates Dimitriadis, Deputy Mayor of Social Policy of the municipality of Thessaloniki and Paraskevi Eleftheriadou, Deputy Mayor of Social Protection and Public Health of the municipality of Delta. The meetings took place in structures of the municipality of Delta, organized by ANATOLIKI SA, under the guidance of Eurocities (project leader) and Migration Work (expert), and attended by executives of the municipalities of Delta and Thessaloniki and ANATOLIKI SA.

On the first day, Ms. Eftychia Kivrakidou, partner project manager and Director of Administrative – Financial Management, ANATOLIKI S.A., presented the project actions that have been implemented so far with the participation of executives of the two municipalities. Ms. Lambrini Tsakalaki, Head of the Department of Social Protection, Public Health, Education, Sports, and Culture of the municipality of Delta analysis, analyzed the updated integration plan for migrants and refugees. The first day was concluded with the detailed presentation of the social policy actions for the disadvantaged groups, followed by the comments and discussion on the action plan of the representatives of the Municipality of Thessaloniki, Virginia Politis, Head of the Department of Support and Integration of Refugees and Immigrants of the Municipality of Thessaloniki, Tzortzi Leoton (same department) and the executives of ANATOLIKI S.A.

On the second day, a visit to a faculty for migrants and refugees took place, where the recent developments in its operation and the needs they cover in terms of reception and integration, as affected by the completion of the ESTIA II programme, were discussed. Subsequently, at the Community Centre with a Roma department, both the actions addressed to vulnerable populations of the municipality and the way of approaching and communicating with the Roma minority group were analysed by Ms. Anastasia Mantziou, Social Worker of the structure, as a good practice.

Before closing the meeting, a thorough discussion was held among the participants where particular emphasis was placed on the proposals for improving the inclusiveness of the migrant support structures of the Municipality of Delta and the integration plan for migrants/refugees of the Municipality of Delta was updated.

The work of the 2nd staff experience and know-how exchange meeting was concluded with the participants being informed about the final project meeting and the 10th international conference highlighting best practices and strategies for the integration of migrants/refugees, which will take place in Utrecht, the Netherlands, from 15-17 November 2022.