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Empowering migrants in energy transition efforts through community-driven projects: these initiatives can help developing and manage local renewable energy projects, such as community solar installations or wind farms. By involving immigrants in decision-making processes and ownership structures, these projects can enhance social cohesion, foster a sense of belonging, and provide economic opportunities for both migrants and the host communities. To effectively engage migrants in the energy transition, it is crucial to promote cultural awareness and provide education on energy-related topics. Language-specific information campaigns, targeted outreach, and culturally sensitive materials can enhance immigrants’ understanding of sustainable energy practices, energy-saving measures, and available support programs. This approach ensures that immigrants can fully participate in and benefit from energy-related initiatives.
Energy efficiency measures targeted at migrants communities can improve living conditions, reduce energy bills, and contribute to the EU’s energy efficiency goals. Policies and incentives for retrofitting buildings, providing energy audits, and offering financial support for energy-saving upgrades can make housing more affordable and sustainable for migrants. The energy transition offers significant job opportunities in sectors such as renewable energy, energy efficiency, and green technologies.
In 2020, the EU has adopted a strategy for the inclusion of migrants for the period 2021-2027. However, the strategy does not explicitly address energy issues or the integration of immigrants. Rather, it recalls that successful integration of migrants relies “on proactive measures and long-term investments”. It is crucial to provide support to migrants and their host communities as early as possible in the migration process. Integration efforts can begin even before migrants arrive in the EU.
Therefore, Member States should strive to establish and expand pre-departure integration measures, such as training and orientation courses. These measures should be effectively connected to post-arrival initiatives, which can facilitate and expedite the integration process, including resettlement and community sponsorship. Importantly, integration should not be limited to a specific timeframe.
The proposed Multiannual Financial Framework for the period 2021-2027 acknowledges the necessity of investments throughout the entire integration pathway. It includes a dedicated Asylum and Migration Fund, as well as financial support for employment, education, social and health care, and housing through Cohesion Policy Funds. These funds comprise the European Social Fund Plus, the European Regional Development Fund, and other sources such as the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and Erasmus+.
Written by: Nenad Stekić