MPI Europe held two focus groups in December 2015. Despite landing on a day of a national strike in Belgium, participants from the European Commission and civil society braved the lack of public transport to participate in rich discussions about how mainstreaming has been put into practice within the EU Institutions.
The first focus group on how the European Commission promotes mainstreaming in education, discussed the importance of education to the European Union’s sustainable, inclusive, growth strategy. The second focus group on social cohesion and neighbourhood policy, discussed the difficulties of addressing housing and homelessness in the European Commission, as it falls between policy portfolios. Participants highlighted the difficulties of horizontal coordination (working across DG borders on cross-cutting issues such as integration) and vertical coordination (taking into account the needs of the local level). Debate also centred on ways to better manage EU funds to promote integration objectives, especially in light of the new Asylum and Migration Fund.