Gino Sorbillo's pizza place in Naples hosted migrant chefs who attended a training course with the SPRAR center in Caserta | Photo: ANSA /CIRO FUSCO
Gino Sorbillo's pizza place in Naples hosted migrant chefs who attended a training course with the SPRAR center in Caserta | Photo: ANSA /CIRO FUSCO

A new forum in Naples connects local authorities that promote integration programs for refugees.

 A new Forum in Naples aims to connect local authorities and NGOs in the region that work on projects for refugees. The Forum SPRAR/SIPROIMI (system of protection for those with international protection status and unaccompanied foreign minors) is a network vying to promote public and private initiatives for migrants and refugees in the region, organizers said. 


Naples Mayor Luigi De Magistris said: ''We want to put together the virtuous experiences of integration in our country that were able to create cohesive communities, showing that immigration is not a business but implies being able to live in a world with more peace." 

The mayor continued saying that "we must eliminate those situations, created by governments including the last one, in which immigration can become a weight and a problem that can lead to social conflict." 

A network for mutual support 

Talking about positive experiences, de Magistris spoke about the 'Riace model' that ''has been destroyed'', referring to the southern town's widely lauded model to integrate migrants without public money. The government has been accused of dismantling the Riace model, which saw migrants help revive the small town in Calabria whose population was dwindling, by several critics. ''Today in Riace the problem is not immigration but emigration'', the mayor said. 

The Forum was created to promote a direct connection between local authorities and institutions in charge of integration programs in the Campania region around Naples, said Laura Marmorale, the port city's councilor for citizenship rights. 

The idea, she said, is to create an integrated network "for mutual support and to promote an effective and systematic dialogue with central organizations." The initiative, she stressed, was prompted by ''radical changes'' in the refugee-management system introduced with new migrant and security legislation approved by Parliament at the end of 2018. 

The Forum has been praised by Luca Pacini, who is in charge of welfare and immigration at ANCI, the Italian local authorities association. Pacini highlighted Campania's ''strong experience'' in integration projects, stressing the importance of regional coordination ''so the network works''. ''The municipality of Naples in this way is in charge of activating, supporting and setting in motion this network with ANCI'', he noted.
 

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