– having regard to the communication from the Commission on 'A Common Agenda for Integration - Framework for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals in the European Union' (COM(2005)0389) ,
– having regard to Article 13 of the Treaty,
– having regard to the EC Treaty, which confers on the Community powers and responsibilities in the spheres of immigration and asylum, and in particular to Article 63(3)(a) thereof,
– having regard to the Presidency conclusions of the Tampere European Council of 15 and 16 October 1999, of the Laeken European Council of 14 and 15 December 2001, of the Seville European Council of 21 and 22 June 2002 and of the Thessaloniki European Council of 19 and 20 June 2003, which stress the importance of developing cooperation and exchange of information within the framework of the newly established group of national contact points on integration with a view in particular to strengthening coordination of relevant policies at national and European Union level,
– having regard to the Hague Programme adopted by the European Council on 4 November 2004, which set the objectives to be implemented in the area of freedom, security and justice in the period 2005-2010,
– having regard to the informal ministerial meeting in Groningen on 9 November 2004, where for the first time ministers responsible for integration policy met,
– having regard to the Common Basic Principles on Integration adopted by the Council of the European Union on 19 November 2004,(1)
– having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, and in particular Articles 18, 20, 21 and 22 thereof,
– having regard to Rule 45 of its Rules of Procedure,
– having regard to the report of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on Employment (A6-0190/2006),
A. whereas the challenge of immigrant integration is one to which the EU has risen before; whereas a quarter of a century ago, most of its immigrants were southern Europeans; whereas today, southern Europe is a thriving part of the Union and its citizens are no longer perceived as immigrants, though at the time many considered them alien and 'unintegratable'; whereas the accession of their countries of origin to the Union strengthened the EU as a whole; whereas likewise, citizens of the new accession countries are now full EU members,
B. whereas today the Union faces an integration challenge of a different sort, in that it can no longer assume that most of its immigrants will eventually become incorporated as their countries of origin join the Union,
C. whereas the number of immigrants in the EU is estimated at 40 million, and their descendents total millions more; whereas this growing population is extraordinarily diverse but confronted by similar problems: their labour-force participation rate is well below average and their success rates in school lag markedly behind; whereas they face discrimination in dealing with public and private institutions; whereas they are politically under-represented at all levels of government, including in Member State political parties and in European institutions,
D. whereas although these over 40 million immigrants might be seen as the EU’s 26th Member State (and its fifth largest in terms of population), and the EU’s concern and efforts to integrate this population should be equivalent to EU commitments to integrate accession countries, in trying to overcome this integration challenge, the failure of which could undermine the EU socially, economically, and politically, the Union has committed precious few resources; whereas not only must long-term funding be allocated to the new INTA fund, but it should be ensured that the relevant Commission DGs earmark some of their funding towards EU integration policy,
E. whereas the European Union's commitment to integration has long been restrained by the widely circulated idea that 'integration is local'; whereas in fact, integration is equallyglobal in its implications, especially when it fails, since the failure by a single Member State to implement successful integration policies can have adverse consequences for the Union as a whole, for example:
-under-employment of immigrants, weakening the entire Union economy and thwarting fulfilment of the Lisbon agenda;
-high- and low-skilled workers needed by the EU, seeing how inhospitable Europe can be to them, being driven into the underground economy or into the arms of the EU’s economic competitors;
-absence of effective integration policies, leading to negative perceptions of immigrants and to defensive immigration policies;
-fear among citizens subverting respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities;
-perceptions and prejudices about immigrants who have not integrated undermining the Union’s successful enlargement,
F. whereas the success of integration will strengthen the Union’s economy in the face of global competition; whereas the Union, while cognizant of preventing brain drain, will attract the workers and entrepreneurs its economies need, as well as the scientists and students who are the bedrock of its ability to innovate; whereas EU cities will be safer and communities stronger where a focused, consistent and adequately funded integration policy applies; whereas xenophobic tendencies will be diminished and respect for the fundamental rights of all fortified; whereas Europe's position in the world will be enhanced,
G. whereas local, regional and national authorities play an essential role and whereas their responsibilities in areas such as town planning, housing and education have a direct impact on the integration process; whereas such authorities should become more closely involved in the European debate; whereas through the Community Structural Funds the European Union provides important support for initiatives taken at these levels,
H. whereas there is no such thing as one clear-cut solution for successful integration in the European Union;whereaslocal, regional, and national authorities (and especially urban centres, where the majority of immigrants is concentrated) should have the ability and funds to determine and implement precise integration measures, and Member States and the Union as a whole must zealously develop integration strategies and monitor the effectiveness and outcomes of these integration measures in a more active and effective way, thereby ensuring the implementation of integration strategies whose outcomes advance the Union’s common interests, and to this end the Commission must carry out the proposed research to map levels of participation and integration across the EU,
I. whereas integration is a 'two-way process' that presupposes both the immigrants' willingness to, and responsibility in, integrating into their host society andEU citizens’ willingness to accept and include migrants, and consists in integrated actions for influencing the behaviours of both immigrants and receiving societies on all relevant levels and for mobilising resources on both sides in order to implement policies; whereas this two-way process involves a mutual commitment, with both rights and obligations, for the host society and immigrants,
J. whereas the priorities that guide EU actions in the field should include:
-improving the employment prospects of immigrants and reducing the employment gap with the host population, including through the provision of appropriate information and training programmes by public authorities and social partners and the recognition of immigrants' training and professional qualifications, while taking into account particularly the situation of migrant women, among whom the unemployment rate is often higher,
-enhancing educational and language opportunities for immigrants and their descendents, including through funding from DG Education and Culture, eventually eliminating the performance gap with others, recognising, inter alia, that children of immigrants studying in a different language and trying to adapt to new customs may encounter more difficulties in the learning process than their schoolmates, which may, in turn, lead to difficulties in their adaptation to and integration into society, and also recognising that even migrants who already have high-level qualifications may still need to adapt them to what is required in the host society,
-increasing political and civic education, participation and representation of immigrants in all appropriate domains of governance, civil society and decision- and policy-making,
-fighting racism, xenophobia and discrimination against immigrants, especially in the workplace, schools, housing, health, public services, the mass media and politics, increasing mutual respect and understanding of each other’s similarities and differences and facilitating access to information on equal rights and opportunities tailored to linguistic needs,
while the EU institutions should ensure that their well-meant initiatives do not simply become symbolic policies with no added value,
K. whereas promotion of fundamental rights, equal opportunities for all and non-discrimination are of key importance to integration; whereas the proposal to make 2007 European Year of Equal Opportunities for All and the plans for a European Year of Intercultural Dialogue in 2008 are major awareness-raising initiatives that will help to achieve these objectives,
L. whereas there is a clear link between a successful EU integration policy and the European Union’s endeavour to develop a legal immigration and migration policy; whereas the first practical step should be to improve coordination between the authorities responsible for the admission of immigrants and the authorities responsible for the integration of immigrants,
1. Urges the Commission to ensure the effective implementation of the existing Directives linked to integration, notably Council Directives 2003/86/EC on the right to family reunification(2), 2003/109/EC concerning the status of third-country nationals who are long-term residents(3), 2000/43/EC implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin(4) and 2000/78/EC establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation; whereas many Member States lag behind in effectively implementing these Directives, and it is critical for the Commission to monitor more rigorously both the transposition of integration-related Directives and the effectiveness of administrative practices that implement the relevant legislation in the day-to-day lives of immigrants;
2. Welcomes the Commission proposal to establish the European Fund for Integration of third-country nationals for the period 2007-2013 and urges that use of this fund follow six concrete principles, namely:
(a) a single annual focal point should define disbursements, allowing the Commission to develop a critical mass of expertise and more rigorously to assess, evaluate, and invest in programmes; target investment areas should include reducing the employment gap between immigrants and others, improving immigrant participation and performance in education, advancing the education and employment prospects of women, language and introductory programs, health, housing and urban living and enhancing political and civic participation of immigrants;
(b) the fund should favour initiatives with the greatest potential to be broadly applied throughout the Union;
(c) the Commission should dedicate a reasonable and defined percentage of the fund’s resources each year to underwriting evaluations by independent experts of the effectiveness of the programs financed by the Commission;
(d) once these experts have identified promising programmes, immediate priority should be given to disseminating and adapting best practices from these programmes for use in other Member States;
(e) supporting efforts among Member States to coordinate their integration efforts and exchange best practices should be supported;
(f) a focus on the integration of newcomers, ensuring nevertheless that programs that target second and third generation immigrant descendants also receive funding; programsaiming to help refugees as they prepare to enter and integrate into EU societies should also be considered;
3. Welcomes the reference in the above mentioned Commission communication to the Common Basic Principles (CBPs); is of the firm belief that the CBPs represent a sound set of recommendations which should be the foundation of EU integration policy; regrets that Member States have failed to follow up the CBPs in any meaningful way since their adoption in 2004; calls on the incoming Finnish Presidency to put the CBPs back at the heart of the agenda, especially those principles relating to employment (no. 3), interaction (no. 7) and participation (no. 9);
4. Welcomes the Commission's proposal to promote an annual Integration Forum to facilitate the exchange of best practice, especially in policies where the EU has a limited role to play but where some Member States operate policies which could offer guidance to others; considers that this Forum should seek the participation of representatives from all the authorities involved in integration, being local, regional, national, or EU authorities, as well as of immigrants themselves;
5. Calls on the Commission to clarify, expand and coordinate responsibilities for integration across DGs, including reviving and maintaining a cross-DG working group on integration and defining the precise integration responsibilities among different DGs; further calls for action to be taken to make the new Integration Fund and the European Social Fund complementary;
6. Welcomes the Commission’s recognition of the need for research into and a mapping exercise of Member States’ integration policies and levels of participation of immigrants; considers that this information is a pre-requisite for any EU policy aimed at fostering better integration in the EU and that for such a mapping exercise to be of use, the terms of the EU debate on integration need to be clarified, given that the word 'integration' itself is open to many different interpretations;
7. Calls on the Commission to create a permanent contact group of immigrant representatives, experts, NGOs and others to advise it on all policies related to integration;
8. Calls on the Commission to place special emphasis on promoting immigration and diversity in the EU and on mainstreaming integration at all times through its communication strategy and initiatives; calls on the Commission and Member States to launch information and awareness-raising campaigns to improve understanding of migration and of the economic and social contribution immigrants make to society;
9. Calls on the Commission to establish rigorous monitoring mechanisms for the evaluation of integration programmes in the Member States, including through the use of independent experts, and to launch a rigorous and practical report on migration and integration; as such, urges the Commission to recast the Report as a biannual report that:
-focuses on rigorous indices that measure Member State performance with respect to the CBPs on integration,
-makes Member State reporting of accurate and complete data obligatory; in the absence of such data, alternative means of gathering data consistent with the Report’s indices should be developed,
-enhances the role of national contact points and their cooperation with independent experts,
-looks to the UNDP Human Development Report and the European Inclusion Index as models,
-is released at the annual meeting of EU integration ministers;
10. Encourages the Commission to consult, as appropriate, migrant communities in defining and implementing European aid and development policies in their home countries;
11. Asks the Commission to multiply research and analysis initiatives aimed at understanding what works in integration and to ambitiously expand effective efforts to disseminate best practices in cooperation with Member States and local authorities, not only through the proposed website but by as many other reasonable means as possible;
12. Calls on the Commission and Member States to utilise the broad potential of Commission delegations and consular authorities throughout the world to assist in integrating potential immigrants through familiarising them with EU and Member State culture, history, language and civic rights and responsibilities;
13. Stresses the importance of the composition of the European institutions' staff and the Member States' public administrations reflecting the composition of the Union’s and the Member States' populations;
14. Urges the Council to use the 'passerelle' clause of Article 67(2), second indent of the Treaty to give Parliament co-decision powers on integration and legal migration and qualified majority voting in the Council; considers that it is important for Members to have the power of co-decision on integration policy, given that they represent the political voice of the EU, and that therefore they should represent the opinions of both immigrants and citizens and should share responsibility for making integration policy in the EU legislative process;
15. Urges the Council to make permanent the annual meeting of integration ministers, inaugurated by the Dutch EU Presidency at Groningen in November 2004;
16. Calls on the Member States, when making their final considerations on the EU Fundamental Rights Agency, seriously to consider a role for such agency in promoting trust and good relations within neighbourhoods and to develop this role organically through the successive annual programmes foreseen for the agency;
17. Urges the Council to reconsider the Commission proposal to apply the open method of coordination to integration policy; in this respect, calls for the involvement of Parliament in the whole procedure;
18. Urges the Council to establish a comprehensive and forward-looking framework directive on legal migration, with due regard to the need for integration;
19. Encourages Member States to assign responsibility to a single cabinet minister to monitorimmigrant integration policies, to ensure that policies are mainstreamed throughout agencies at all levels of government and to consider the appointment of a High Commissioner on Integration or an Integration Ombudsman in each Member State to coordinate implementation of policies, disseminate information to migrants, review migrant complaints and take action to correct problems;
20. Calls on every Member State to provide an audit of all government agencies at every level that have or should have responsibilities related to immigrant integration;
21. Calls on the Commission to examine the possibility of incorporating the issue of integration of third-country nationals in the future multiannual programmes of the Fundamental Rights Agency;
22. Calls on Member States to encourage the political participation of immigrants and discourage their political and social isolation; in this regard, calls on the Commission to carry out a legal review of existing provisions relating to EU civic citizenship in the various Member States as well as of current Member State practices regarding the right of long-term resident immigrants to vote in local and municipal elections;
23. Calls on Member States to establish transparent, humane, fast and reasonable procedures for the granting of long-term resident status, for family reunificationand for the naturalization of long-term resident immigrants and their children, taking into account especially the fact that many of those children are born in the territory of a Member State;
24. Draws the Member States' attention to the dependent legal status of immigrant women joining their spouses under family reunification and calls on Member States to review their legislation so as to ensure that spouses and children be granted an individual status and work permit independent of that of the principal legal status holder at the earliest opportunity in order to guarantee and protect their rights fully and facilitate their social integration;
25. Encourages political parties, trade unions and civil society as a whole at national level to include immigrants as full members at all levels of their respective structures;
26. Is in favour of integration programmes applied by certain Member States involving a mutual commitment by the host country and immigrants; hopes that immigrants can in this way be made more aware of the European Union's fundamental values and be enabled at the same time to acquire basic knowledge on the functioning of the host society; stresses the importance of encouraging the learning of the host society's language and organising civic education courses;
27. Encourages Member States to strengthen anti-discrimination and anti-racism laws and to enforce existing ones, as well as to consider appropriate affirmative action legislation for migrants in all appropriate fields, using those Member States where affirmative action has been a success as a guide;
28. Calls on Member States, in order especially to prevent the potential maltreatment of immigrant women, to provide them with easily accessible information as regards the legislation of the host country on gender equality and the rights and protection that derive from that legislation, including the available legal and administrative remedies;
29. Calls on Member States and regional and local authorities to stimulate interaction between immigrants and their host society by promoting, inter alia, shared fora, intercultural dialogue, seminars, exhibitions and cultural and sports activities; further calls for the creation of new, or the support of existing, structures to allow immigrants to integrate in the host society in order to avoid the social exclusion of newcomers and of those who have already settled but who find it difficult to integrate while also supporting migrant organizations in their territories and the strengthening of ties with the migrants' home countries;
30. Encourages Member States to make provision for integration-related measures for refugees during the reception phase, such as language courses or voluntary work activities, taking into consideration the fact that the integration process for refugees starts during the reception phase;
31. Stresses the importance of developing a comprehensive framework for European Civil Citizenship with the cooperation of Parliament, Council and Commission;
32. Stresses the importance of establishing annual hearings on integration with the participation of Parliament, national parliaments and civil society, especially NGOs and immigrant associations, in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the Union’s integration efforts and assess developments regarding immigrant integration at Member State level;
33. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission, the Council and the Member States.
Council Directive 2000/43/EC of 29 June 2000 implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin (OJ L 180, 19.7.2000, p. 22).
Should the EU welcome more immigrants—and, if so, how many? These questions are rightly the focus of sustained public debate in many Member States. The most recent research shows that continued immigration, managed wisely, creates substantial economic and social benefits. Yet, for many, immigration is increasingly also a source of anxiety and insecurity.
By contrast, the question of whether we should integrate immigrants who already live and work amongst us—causing no harm and enhancing our lives—is self-evident. They must become full members of European society, ultimately attaining citizenship. Anything short of this would imply that the Union sanctions a two-tier society, a notion that offends our core values.
This Report is animated by the conviction that integration is an issue tantamount in importance to the successful enlargement of the EU or the global movement for women’s rights. In the face of such a challenge, the Union’s commitment has been largely neglectful. Rather than incorporating immigrants effectively into schools, workplaces, and political systems, European societies are in many respects slipping into a state of 'disintegration'.
Yet in trying to overcome this integration challenge—the failure of which could undermine the EU socially, economically, and politically—the Union has committed precious few resources.
Although the European Council firmly stated its commitment to immigrant integration at Tampere in 1999, and reinforced its conviction in Thessaloniki in 2003, reality has not kept pace with expectations.
If failure of integration is the father of countless problems, success will strengthen the EU in critical ways: Our common achievements in integration will fortify the Union’s economy in the face of global competition; it will attract the workers and entrepreneurs our economies need, as well as the scientists and students who are the bedrock of our ability to innovate; our cities will be safer, our communities stronger. The benefits of integration range even further than GDP growth, stronger pension systems, and diminished unrest. Europe’s immigrants can serve as the Union’s bridge to a globalising world—enhancing our trade prospects, thickening social networks, and confirming the Union’s position as a global leader capable of overcoming cultural and religious divides.
The challenge of immigrant integration is one to which we have risen before. In fact, the European Union is arguably the most successful enterprise of immigrant integration in history. A quarter-century ago, most immigrants living in the then European Community were southern Europeans. Today, southern Europe is a thriving part of the Union, its citizens no longer perceived as immigrants—though at the time, many considered them alien and 'unintegratable'. Their accession to the Union strengthened the EU as a whole. Likewise, eastern Europeans are now full EU members.
But the immigrants of the past 50 years held an advantage over their counterparts today: They hailed mostly from countries with imminent prospects for Union membership.
Perhaps it is useful to therefore think of these over 40 million foreign-born nationals as the EU’s 26th Member State (and its fifth largest). We could then ask: How do our efforts to integrate this population compare to the commitments we make to integrate accession countries? Successful integration requires a serious commitment of human and financial resources. We also need to scour the Union and the world for practices that can dramatically increase our success rate with immigrant integration. And we must multiply the means for effectively disseminating such ideas.
Finally, perhaps the most important issue related to immigrant integration is the one that is least discussed: Into what kind of society do we want people to integrate? The most essential reason for integrating Europe’s immigrants is that, by failing to do so, we will betray the ideals and principles on which the Union is based. Too often, our reaction to immigrants defines us as closed-minded, inward-looking, biased, and reactionary. By extension our societies adopt these characteristics as well.
There can be no integration without those who integrate and those who are integrated. This means that the integration of migrants presupposes our willingness to accept and integrate migrants. Our policies, therefore, must manage the processes of settlement by influencing the behaviour of both immigrants and receiving societies, and by mobilising resources on all sides in order to effectively implement policies.
II. The Rationale for EU Involvement in Integration
Why should the EU be involved in immigrant integration? Because the failure by a single Member State to implement successful integration policies can have adverse consequences for the Union as a whole.
·The underemployment of immigrants weakens not only individual economies, but that of the entire Union.
·High- and low-skilled workers that our economies need, if they perceive Europe as inhospitable, can be driven into the underground economy or into the arms of Europe’s economic competitors.
·The absence of effective integration policies can lead to negative perceptions and stereotypes against immigrants, and consequently to defensive immigration policies;
·Fear among citizens can subvert respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law, and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities;
·In its more extreme forms, alienation could breed radicalization that can threatens the EU’s collective sense of security;
·Negative stereotypes against un-integrated immigrants can undermine the Union’s successful enlargement.
In the face of the above, the Union has nevertheless long been paralysed by the widely circulated idea that 'integration is local'. Integration initiatives are indeed implanted locally. A neighbourhood’s schools, unions, businesses, places of worship, and other institutions do the hard work of bringing newcomers and natives together in ways that build communities and improve lives. But integration is global in its implications—especially when it fails.
Thus, while local, regional, and national authorities should determine the precise integration measures implemented, Member States must pursue effective integration strategies whose outcomes advance the Union’s common interests. It is in monitoring these outcomes where EU institutions can and must become far more active and—particularly—effective.
III. Past and Future Action – The Rapporteur’s Recommendations
Previous EU Presidencies and the European Commission have done much admirable work in advancing integration policy. However, the EU’s collective efforts have been notably inadequate at the level of implementation—even in the very limited area in which the Commission has authority to act. Two examples underscore this point: The European Migration Observatory, heralded with fanfare in 2003, has never been created. And the inaugural edition of the Annual Report on Migration and Integration—which the European Council tasked the Commission with producing every year—came out on time in June 2004(1) but, as of April 2006, the second edition has yet to appear.
In 2006 and beyond, the European Commission and other European institutions will have an exceptional series of opportunities to influence immigrant integration. These must be seized and leveraged for optimal effect.
However, before embarking on new ventures that drain the Union’s attention and resources, it is critical to ensure the effective implementation of existing Directives that affect immigrant integration. It is incumbent upon the Commission to far more rigorously monitor both the transposition of integration-related Directives, as well as the effectiveness of administrative practices that implement the relevant legislation in the day-to-day lives of immigrants.
Perhaps the most significant among new initiatives is the newly conceived European Fund for the Integration of third-country nationals. This Report suggests that the Commission should follow six principles for allocating the new EU Integration Fund:
a. A single annual focal point should define disbursements; annual target investment areas should include reducing the employment gap between natives and immigrants; improving immigrant performance in education; advancing the education and employment prospects of women; language and introductory programmes; and enhancing political participation of immigrants;
b. the fund should favour initiatives with the greatest potential to be broadly applied throughout the Union;
c. the Commission should dedicate a reasonable and defined percentage of the Fund’s resources each year to underwrite evaluations by independent experts of the effectiveness of the programmes financed by the Commission;
d. once these experts have identified promising programmes, immediate priority should be given to disseminating and adapting these programmes for use in other Member States, by their cities and local authorities.
e. Member States’ initiatives to coordinate their integration efforts and exchange best practices should be supported,
f. Programmes that target newcomers should be the primary funding targets; however, programmes that target 2nd and 3rd generation immigrant descendents should also receive funding.
Also crucial is the Commission’s intent, as outlined in its just-released 'Policy Plan on Legal Migration,' to draft a general framework directive on legal migration, as well as directives to enhance the Union’s ability to attract high-skilled immigrants, seasonal workers, and trainees. This plan is a major step in recognising that immigration and integration go hand in hand—and that one cannot succeed without the other. The plan must be fleshed out far more clearly, and must recognise that the integration needs of various categories of immigrants vary widely.
Meanwhile, the Commission has also indicated that it intends to create a prototype website to disseminate best practices on integration. While such a website is important, the Commission’s efforts to identify,analyse, and promote best practices must go far beyond this—and must do so urgently in all critical fields (such as language training, housing, education, media, intercultural dialogue, etc.).
It is also vital to reform how the Commission and Member State authorities manage immigrant integration. Thus, the Report calls on the Commission to clarify, expand and coordinate responsibilities for integration across DGs, including reviving the cross-DG working group on integration and defining the precise integration responsibilities of different DGs. It further calls for action to be taken to make the new Integration Fund and the European Social Fund complementary.
As to Member States, the Report encourages them to assign responsibility to a single cabinet minister to oversee immigrant integration policies and ensure policy coherence across all levels of government and stakeholders. It also urges them to consider appointing a High Commissioner on Integration or an Integration Ombudsman to monitor policy implementation, disseminate information, and act on migrant complaints.
No serious integration policy can be developed absent the active participation of migrants themselves. To this end, the Report urges the Commission to create a permanent contact group of religious leaders, experts, and, above all, migrants, to advise the Commission on all policies related to integration.
Last but not least, it is clear that the ultimate expedient for integration is a clear path to citizenship. While citizenship rights fall within the sovereign domain of Member States, the concept of 'civic citizenship' championed by the Commission—a robust package of rights and responsibilities that could serve as a precursor to citizenship—must be developed. The Report calls on Member States to encourage the political participation of immigrants and discourage their political and social isolation by, inter alia, examining ways to grant long-term resident immigrants the right to vote in local and municipal elections; to establish transparent, humane, fast and reasonable procedures for the granting long-term resident status and for the naturalisation of long-term resident immigrants and their children; and to encourage political parties, trade unions, and civic society as a whole at national level to include immigrants as full members at all levels of their respective structures.
The Commission's Communication (COM(2005)0389) is meant to provide guidance for EU and Member States' integration policies. The opinion focuses primarily on the integration of third-country nationals in the labour market, underlining the two way process of integration and the related social aspects. It follows the structure of the Communication, thus separating the guidelines into two levels: national and European.
Οn the national level, the main preoccupation of the draftsman is the attribution of economic and social rights to all migrants, irrespectively of their legal status, while improving the employability of migrant women. Enhancing the adaptability of the host society to increasing social and labour diversity is another major preoccupation.
Integration is a two way process in which both immigrants and the host society have certain rights and obligations. It implies bringing immigrants' rights and duties, as well as access to goods, services and means of civic participation, progressively in line with those of the rest of the population, under conditions of equal opportunities and treatment. Employment is crucial to the integration of immigrants. The Lisbon strategy's and the European Employment Strategy's objectives to create more and better jobs must therefore include immigrants. The social partners and public authorities must work together to prevent discrimination against immigrants in the area of salaries and working conditions.
On the EU level, the role of the EU in monitoring and assisting Member States to cope with the integration of migrants is pivotal. The EU-25 population is set to shrink from 303m to 297m by 2020 and then to 280 by 2030, almost doubling the old age dependency ration. Since economic growth is the result of growth in employment and productivity, this fall in total employment could have negative effects on economic growth. Consequently, integration and full use of imported skills is of primordial interest to the EU.
The exchange of best practices and increased coordination in a higher level is essential, since different groups of migrants require different policies for integration, including not only newly-arrived migrants but also long term resident and second and third generation migrants and this must be taken into account in policy-making. It is also very important to ensure that an EU migration policy delivers a secure legal status and a guaranteed set of rights to assist the integration of those who are admitted, to promote their integration into all aspects of society, over and above integration in the labour market.
Your draftsman welcomes the Commission's proposal on the ESF (2007-2013) aiming to support specific action to strengthen the social integration of migrants and increase their participation in employment, including guidance and language training and validation of competences acquired abroad, as well as promotion of diversity in the workplace and the combat against discrimination.
He also welcomes the proposed financial instrument to complement ESF, in the framework of 'managing migration flows' designed to contribute to the national efforts to develop and implement integration policies enabling migrants of different cultural, religious, linguistic and ethnic backgrounds to settle and actively participate in all aspects of European societies, in accordance with the Common Basic Principles.
The Committee on Employment and Social Affairs calls on the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:
1. Calls on the Member States to:
a. avoid social dumping by adopting clear rules on the status of migrant workers as legal residents by organising information campaigns on national labour law and social rights and obligations for migrants, and by promoting the regulation of the above status for all migrant workers;
b. to create information points for third-country nationals to provide information on social services to which they are entitled in the host county, such as lifelong learning, housing, healthcare, child-care facilities, education and introductory programmes;
c. adopt measures to eliminate discrimination in the workplace, such as diversity management, fair recruitment, in accordance with the internal legislation of the Member States, job-retention and promotion based on merit and irrespective of racial or ethnic origin, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation, sexual expression, sexual identity, or age; urges the involvement of the social partners in the design and effective implementation of such measures, paying particular attention to the employment and integration of migrant women whose rate of unemployment is often higher; take measures to integrate migrant children and family members into educational and welfare programmes;
d. strengthen the ability of the host society to adapt to increasing diversity in the workplace by measures to promote information and awareness within the host population, of the need to avoid racism, xenophobia and social exclusion, thus emphasising that integration is a two-way process which aims to enhance social cohesion, enhance consultation with the social partners and the institutions responsible for the implementation of policies at regional and local level, especially neighbourhood organisations;
e. boost consular resources in non-EU countries to provide information on entering the EU for work, study or research purposes; introduce work and residence permits under conditions regulated by internal legislation within the framework of national competence; ensure that these permits are held by the migrants themselves and not their employers in order to reduce danger of exploitation;
f. encourage the integration of newcomers on the employment market, for instance by developing sandwich courses;
g. examine, under the 7th Research Programme, the possibility of drawing up studies concerning the return of migrants and use of the skills acquired in the EU for the benefit of their countries of origin;
h. inform migrants about the possibility of being represented by trade unions and encourage trade unions to include migrants;
i. guarantee access to education and vocational training and minors' rights to education, including funding and study grants;
j. ratify the UN's Convention (1990) on the protection of all migrant workers and members of their families; develop clear policies regarding the right to work of the partners of migrant workers; considers it vital that provisions should be made to prevent forced migration, particularly with regard to the prevention, monitoring and reduction of human trafficking;
k. cooperate fully with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants in the performance of his tasks and duties, furnish all information requested and react promptly to his appeals;
l. include the shared history of migrants and their (new) homelands and the origins of migration in the curricula of education establishments;
m. set up integration programmes tailored to meet the needs of newcomers and/or earlier arrivals;
n. encourage the binding recognition of qualifications, formal or otherwise, whether obtained in the countries of origin of third-country nationals or in the EU;
o. create instruments to prevent the underachievement and the early school leaving of children of workers from third-countries, particularly by providing additional language courses; recognise that children of migrants studying in a different language and trying to adapt to new customs may encounter more difficulties in the learning process than their schoolmates, which may, in the future, lead to their difficult adaptation to and integration into society;
p. combat exploitation of minors and facilitate the reintegration of exploited minors into society; develop efficient structures and instruments to help minors overcome traumas and social and cultural handicaps through dialogue with social services;
q. stimulate interactions between immigrants and their host society by promoting shared forums, intercultural and religious dialogue, seminars, exhibitions and cultural and sport activities in the multicultural environment; create structures to allow third country nationals to integrate in the host society in order to avoid the social exclusion of the newly arrived and those already settled but finding it difficult to integrate;
2. Calls on the European Commission to:
a. ensure funding through the Structural Funds, PROGRESS and Community initiatives such as EQUAL and URBAN, as well as through the proposed European Fund for the Integration of third-country nationals as part of the framework programme ‘Solidarity and management of migration flows'; ensure that the best practice and relevant knowledge gained from these programmes is disseminated and included in relevant policy development;
b. promote the exchange of information and best practice on recruitment and admission policies; engage in ongoing dialogue with all those concerned, including civil society; support the introduction of networks of migrant organisations to facilitate the exchange of best practice;
c. financially support research activities designed to analyse the effects of regularisations of the status of migrants carried out in Member States and draw on the experience of the various Member States in developing a long-term European migration policy;
d. create platforms to enable cooperation and dialogue between authorities at local, regional and national level, social partners and organisations representing migrants - such sharing of experience between those stakeholders is necessary to better respond to the needs of different target groups;
e. prepare statistical forecasts to enable appropriate predictions regarding EU labour needs and invite the Council of ministers to indicate those matters relating to migration and employment that should be governed by common rules, with a view to the further development of a common European migration policy;
f. develop a system which evaluates and recognises qualifications gained in third countries to assist in appropriate recruitment;
g. initiate evaluations of integration of third country nationals process and increase ability to adapt national strategies of the Member States to new social, cultural and economic circumstances, depending on the findings of evaluation;
h. monitor the implementation of Directives 2003/109/EC, 2000/43/EC, 2000/78/EC, and Regulation (EC) No 859/2003; ensure that EU legislation meets ILO standards;
i. support initiatives by Member States to increase public awareness, improve information concerning measures to combat human trafficking as well as racism and xenophobia at the workplace and provide information concerning the effects of migration on employment and productivity; also calls on the Commission to include migrants in programmes for the promotion of European Citizenship;
j. use the 2007-2013 seventh RDTD framework programme to attract third-country researchers by creating conditions to enable them to carry on their research and their occupation in, and for the benefit of, the EU;
k. launch a campaign to integrate third-country nationals, capitalising on the experience of European Year of Workers’ Mobility and adapting the spirit of that project to the specific characteristics of immigrants.
Strategies and means for the Integration of immigrants in the European Union
Jan Andersson, Roselyne Bachelot-Narquin, Iles Braghetto, Philip Bushill-Matthews, Milan Cabrnoch, Alejandro Cercas, Ole Christensen, Derek Roland Clark, Proinsias De Rossa, Richard Falbr, Ilda Figueiredo, Joel Hasse Ferreira, Roger Helmer, Stephen Hughes, Ona Juknevičienė, Jan Jerzy Kułakowski, Jean Lambert, Raymond Langendries, Bernard Lehideux, Elizabeth Lynne, Thomas Mann, Mario Mantovani, Ana Mato Adrover, Maria Matsouka, Ria Oomen-Ruijten, Csaba Őry, Siiri Oviir, Marie Panayotopoulos-Cassiotou, Jacek Protasiewicz, Kathy Sinnott, Jean Spautz, Anne Van Lancker, Gabriele Zimmer
Substitute(s) present for the final vote
Edit Bauer, Mihael Brejc, Françoise Castex, Dimitrios Papadimoulis, Leopold Józef Rutowicz, Agnes Schierhuber, Elisabeth Schroedter, Georgios Toussas, Anja Weisgerber, Tadeusz Zwiefka
Comments (available in one language only)
Strategies and means for the integration of immigrants in the European Union
Committee responsible Date authorisation announced in plenary
Committee(s) asked for opinion(s) Date announced in plenary
Not delivering opinion(s) Date of decision
Enhanced cooperation Date announced in plenary
Rapporteur(s) Date appointed
Stavros Lambrinidis 4.10.2005
Discussed in committee
Result of final vote
Members present for the final vote
Alexander Nuno Alvaro, Roberta Angelilli, Edit Bauer, Johannes Blokland, Mihael Brejc, Kathalijne Maria Buitenweg, Maria Carlshamre, Giusto Catania, Carlos Coelho, Fausto Correia, Kinga Gál, Patrick Gaubert, Elly de Groen-Kouwenhoven, Ewa Klamt, Magda Kósáné Kovács, Barbara Kudrycka, Stavros Lambrinidis, Romano Maria La Russa, Sarah Ludford, Antonio Masip Hidalgo, Claude Moraes, Lapo Pistelli, Martine Roure, Inger Segelström, Antonio Tajani, Ioannis Varvitsiotis, Manfred Weber, Stefano Zappalà, Tatjana Ždanoka
Substitute(s) present for the final vote
Camiel Eurlings, Giovanni Claudio Fava, Sophia in 't Veld, Sylvia-Yvonne Kaufmann, Bill Newton Dunn, Marie-Line Reynaud
Substitute(s) under Rule 178(2) present for the final vote