RET closing conference
With the handover of the final report to ENARO, the Reception Expert Teams (RET) project came to a formal end on Thursday 8 December 2011.
About fifty employees of European Reception Organisations and the COA attended the RET closing conference in Zandvoort. The programme began on Tuesday evening with a ‘meet and greet’ event. The five project themes were then further discussed in smaller sessions on Wednesday.
Five guest speakers also presented readings during both Wednesday and Thursday. Speakers included Willem van de Put, director of HealthNet TPO and Han Entzinger, professor of Migration and integration. The programme came to an end on Thursday afternoon with a tour of the Crailo asylum seekers centre.
Maarten Visser (ENARO) accepted the final report from Désirée Horbach (COA), RET’s project leader, on behalf of ENARO. The most important project objective has been to find solutions for five themes concerning the reception of asylum seekers. These themes include: accommodation, personnel capacity, cooperation, vulnerable groups and integration.
RET in a nutshell
In December 2009, RET began (in Amsterdam) with a conference for 22 European countries; hereafter, followed seminars for the five different themes. Experts from the COA were closely involved with each of the five topics. COA was awarded a European subsidy for RET.
Horbach reviewed the project with a sense of satisfaction: “The past two years have been very busy. Sharing knowledge and expertise with one another has led to ‘best practices’ from the various countries being combined. This has led to the creation of a useful end-product which is summarised within the final report.”
The project thus came to an end but, according to participant Isabelle Plumat from Fedasil in Belgium, further rewards will also be reaped after the final conference. “Just getting to know colleagues from other countries is extremely useful. I am now much more aware of who I need to call on in other countries“, says Plumat, who had to pay particular attention to the topic of vulnerable groups. “The project was brought to a close today but the shared knowledge will continue to be very valuable.”
Horbach concluded: “In addition to disseminating the final report (on a USB key) to all participating countries, we will also publish the reports on ENARO’s website. The conclusions can thus be accessed by all and the RET results will continue to ‘live on’ after the project has come to an end.”