€1 million from the European Regional Development Fund will now supplement the Brussels-Capital region's efforts to fight poverty and social exclusion in urban areas by supporting the activities of two care centres operated by the NGO 'Médecins du Monde' in Molenbeek and in Anderlecht. The centres will help marginalised communities, including migrants, by providing healthcare and social services to those most in need in the city.
Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos said: "European societies are becoming increasingly diverse, and successful integration is a key prerequisite for strengthening our social fabric and cohesion. Effective integration happens at the local level, and the European Union continues to support cities and communities, particularly in the challenging context of the current refugee crisis, but also in the long run. The city of Brussels is no exception to that."
Commissioner for Regional policy, Corina Creţu said: “EU cities are at the forefront of the response to the migration challenge and the integration of newcomers in urban areas will become increasingly important. Fighting poverty and spatial exclusion and promoting equal chances for all is a priority for the EU Cohesion Policy. We remain ready to be flexible in modifying programmes and to maintain a direct dialogue with mayors.”
The integration of migrants in cities and the fight against urban poverty are priorities under the Urban Agenda for the EU, and the subject of the first Partnerships launched in this context. Belgium and France jointly coordinate the Partnership on urban poverty.
In September 2015, President Juncker announced in his State of the Union address that the Commission was ready to modify Cohesion Policy programmes and redirect funding to address both the emergency of the refugee crisis and the social inclusion challenge in the long term. Italy and Belgium have both already had one of their Cohesion Policy programmes modified in this context.
To support the integration of marginalised communities in urban areas further, the Commission and its partners made it one of the Urban Agenda's top priorities.
The Commission also launched a direct dialogue on this matter with the mayors of large European cities and included a new investment priority dedicated to the integration of migrants in the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Regulation, in the context of the mid-term review of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF).