Lunch Briefing “Voices from Refugees in Europe: Responsibility to Protect”


On Wednesday 16th May The European Foundation for Democracy hosted a closed-door lunch briefing to present the findings of our recently completed research project which examined how different European countries with high numbers of refugees and/or experience of integrating high numbers of refugees (namely Sweden, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands and France) are managing the integration process. The research also identifies good practices for integrating refugees in these countries that might be recommended and replicated in other member states, as well as less good practices to amend.

The research, which included interviews with government officials, academics, NGOs and practitioners, including front-line professionals who work directly with refugees, employer federations and other representative organisations, as well as refugees and asylum seekers themselves, looked in particular at the situation of Syrian refugees in Europe, though not exclusively. More than half of the respondents for this research were refugees or asylum seekers.

In addition to discussing the findings of the report, participants heard first-hand the perspectives of a number of experts and refugees, as they shared their experiences, personal stories, as well as their recommendations for good models for refugee integration.

Speakers included Yousef Wehbe, a Palestinian refugee based in Berlin, has, for most of his life, been working with refugee communities on the protection of their rights and integration into host communities; Mohamad Khadam, a Syrian living in Vienna, works for the integration of his compatriots in Austria and Germany; Sally Othman, a Syrian refugee, works in Brussels to help integrate newcomers into the labour market; Marzia Masjidi, from Afghanistan, works in Antwerp supporting the integration of asylum seekers by focusing on human rights and gender equality; Marwa Farid, from Egypt, is an expert on monitoring and evaluating policy programmes in multiple fields, including integration.