Answer given by Ms Malmström on behalf of the Commission
As already mentioned in the reply to the Honourable Member's Questions E‑4890/10, E‑4894/10, E‑4900/10(1), the Member States will see their working populations start to decrease from 2013 or 2014.
In that context, the Commission believes that investing in human resources, including encouraging intra-EU labour mobility and facilitating properly managed immigration from outside the EU, could help attenuating the impact of the demographic challenge and the ageing of the workforce. It should be recalled that it is for each Member State to decide the number of third‑country nationals that it admits to its territory according to the needs of their labour markets.
In this context, a comprehensive approach to migration cannot be limited to fighting against irregular immigration while a well-organised and effective policy of legal migration can contribute to reducing the risk of irregular immigration.
An analysis published by the Commission in the report ‘Employment in Europe 2008’(2) concluded that there is no evidence that immigrants have had a major impact on native labour market outcomes, such as wages and employment rates in the main destination countries. These results are confirmed by a more recent study of the International Organisation for Migration on migrant labour market outcomes financed by the European Commission. The preliminary findings of this study, which will be published in autumn 2010, are that long-term migration does not have any substantial negative effect on domestic employment and wages.
Moreover, according to the Stockholm programme adopted by the European Council in December 2009, the Commission should take further steps to maximise the positive and minimise the negative effects of migration on development of third countries by using all available instruments of the EU ‘Global Approach to Migration’ — e.g. migration profiles, migration missions, cooperation platforms on migration and development and Mobility partnerships — to create a comprehensive partnership with the countries of origin in order to encourage the synergy between migration and development. More generally, the Commission will promote the positive development effects of migration within the scope of the EU’s activities in the external dimension and the alignment of international migration more closely to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
The EU 2020 Strategy(3) agreed by the European Council clearly refers to the need to better integrate migrant workers and further increase their employment rate. The Commission is committed to uphold a new EU Agenda for migrants' integration, which is planned to be launched in 2011.
The Commission monitors the development of public opinion in Member States, primarily through regular Eurobarometer perception surveys. For instance, in the perception survey on quality of life in European cities carried out in November 2009, a majority of the inhabitants in a majority of the cities concerned (68 out of 75) considered that the presence of foreigners is beneficial to their cities.
Integration is a dynamic two way process of mutual accommodation by all immigrants and residents of Member States. Participation of migrants and strong commitment by the host community are essential elements to successful integration. The Commission is responsible for developing structures and tools in support of the exchange of knowledge and experience of effective integration practices between Member States, including measures to enhance democratic values and social cohesion in relation to migration and integration as well as to promote intercultural dialogue at all levels. Measures focused on the children of migrants, supporting their access to education, are key in this respect in order to achieve long‑term integration.
European Commission, Employment in Europe 2008, chap. 3, Geographical labour mobility in the context of EU enlargement, http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?langId=en&catId=113&newsId=415&furtherNews=yes