Towards an European model of community sponsorship for refugees: access, reception and integration

The kick-off meeting of CoSME Project was held online on 16 February 2023, introduced by Daniela Vitiello (University of Tuscia) and moderated by Stefano Montaldo and Virginia Passalacqua (University of Turin). The meeting featured presentations by the following speakers: Sara Bortoletti (European Commission - DG Home), Andrea Pettrachin (University of Turin and Collegio Carlo Alberto) and Petra Hueck (ICMC Brussels). 

Sara Bortoletti from the European Commission highlighted the importance of defining community sponsorship and its role in supporting the reception and integration of refugees. The Commission has been advocating for closer cooperation between civil society organisations and national authorities to develop community sponsorship schemes. Efforts include policy frameworks, funding for pilot projects and encouraging Member States to contribute to the new approach of community sponsorship. Key elements for successful community sponsorship include flexibility in national contexts, strong partnerships, compliance with legal frameworks and robust monitoring and evaluation. Looking ahead, she noted that there's growing interest in different forms of sponsorship, including university corridors and refugee mobility programmes. Lessons learned from past initiatives, such as those supporting Ukrainian refugees, are informing future strategies. However, challenges remain in ensuring the long-term sustainability and scalability of community sponsorship, addressing issues such as sponsor fatigue and maintaining community support. 

Andrea Pettrachin from the University of Turin discussed findings from the Whole-COMM Project, which focuses on integration in small and medium-sized cities. Research shows limited social interaction between migrants and locals in these areas, with different perceptions of integration between locals and migrants. Integration policies are often underdeveloped and fragmented, influenced by political factors and public attitudes. The project highlights the need for inclusive responses and multi-level governance to effectively address integration challenges. 

Petra Hueck from ICMC Brussels highlighted the different interpretations and contexts of community sponsorship. While it serves as a tool for refugee reception and integration, there's no one-size-fits-all approach, leading to different objectives and responsibilities among stakeholders. Challenges include fatigue among host communities, political divisions and the need for flexible, context-specific solutions. Despite these challenges, community sponsorship remains crucial for shaping positive narratives around migration and fostering social cohesion.

Event Details

16 Feb 2024

10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Location: University of Turin

Event’s video

Event’s flyer

CoSME 2024