15 February 2014 10:10

Aiming to offer social support and educational programmes to third country nationals to promote their integration in society, local authorities have launched a programme as well as educational seminars for social partners.
The iniative is being implemented by the local authorities of Nicosia, Ayios Dometios and Lakatamia and the Interior Ministry.
The mayors of participating municipalities said programmes and actions concerning integration of legal immigrants who are third country nationals as well as their integration are to the benefit of immigrants but also of their host countries.
 At the conference, the mayors presented the implementation of the B1 Action Plan that includes the integration programme of third country nationals by local authorities co-funded by Solidarity Funds.
It aims to encourage the active participation and involvement of local authorities and other organisations in the integration process of third country nationals in society though the provision of opportunities for immigrants to socialise and interact with local communities.   
Speaking at the press conference, Head of Solidarity Funds and EU funds Alexandros Kelveris said that this productive iniative is taking place for the second consecutive year.
He said among the positive results of implementation of the programme, is the fact that Nicosia municipality has managed to secure use of 98% of EU funds.
Lakatamia Mayor Loukas Iatrou said that nearly half of the third country nationals in the capital live in the municipalities of Nicosia, Ayios Dhometios and Lakatamia host.
According to state records the immigrant population of third country nationals in 2013 in the municipalities mentioned amounted to 11,130.   
Nicosia Mayor Constantinos Yiorkadjis said that the programme "is a coordinated action and is being developed with the involvement of immigration clubs and organisations, Cypriot society and local authorities within the framework of a range of integration activities being organised".
Activities within the programme include the care of immigrant children and creative activities, maintaining the cultural heritage for children, educational programmes for adults, learning of Greek, IT, history and culture Cyprus and the EU's institutions, career and guidance workshops concerning various issues and psychological support.
 Nicosia Mayor added that a number of cultural events will also be organised such as dance, live music, art workshops and folk festivals to promote integration.  
 Interior minister Socrates Hasikos said efforts are being made through social and educational activities to facilitate the integration process of third country nationals in society.
He added: "The ministry will continue its coordinated efforts to improve handling of immigration policies and contribute towards promotion of equality and respect of human rights."
   Ayios Dometios Mayor Costas Petrou said that the implementation of the programme is based on the needs of third country nationals who come to Cyprus for a better future, better job and quality of life for themselves and their families and that such programmes help them achieve their goals trough integration.
 Lakatamia Mayor added that the Lakatamia Multi-functional Centre is organising career workshops, psychological support workshops and a multi-cultural festival to take place in June.
The "Programme to integrate third country nationals by local authorities" and "Educational Seminars for social partners" are co-funded by the EU integration Fund and the state with the amount of €126,000.


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