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Common programme for the integration of Non-EU Member Country nationals

ACT

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 1 September 2005: "A Common Agenda for Integration, Framework for the Integration of third country nationals in the European Union" [COM(2005) 389 final - Not published in the Official Journal].

SUMMARY

The Communication contains a short introduction recalling developments in the debate at EU level on legal migration and the integration of Non-EU Member Country nationals.

It then gives a series of tables that are meant to provide guidance for integration policies on the basis of the Common Basic Principles (CBPs).

"Integration is a dynamic, two-way process of mutual accommodation by all immigrants and residents of Member States." The Commission proposes that, at national level, the ability of the host society to adjust to diversity be strengthened, the role of private bodies in managing diversity enhanced, trust and good relations within neighbourhoods promoted and cooperation with the media encouraged. It proposes that, at European level, transnational actions and projects to explore new forms of Community cooperation be supported.

"Integration implies respect for the basic values of the European Union." The Commission proposes that, at national level, civic orientation be emphasised in introduction programmes and that, at European level, the integration of Non-EU Member Country nationals be included in future programmes of the Fundamental Rights Agency and effective ways explored to raise public awareness about the basic values of the EU.

"Employment is a key part of the integration process." The Commission proposes that, at national level, labour-market discrimination be prevented, social partners involved in the elaboration and implementation of integration measures, the recruitment of migrants encouraged and migrant entrepreneurship supported. It proposes that, at European level, the impact of national reform programmes on labour-market integration of immigrants be monitored, Member States encouraged to develop labour-market integration policies and the application of the Directives on discrimination in employment and on Non-EU Member Country nationals who are long-term residents monitored.

"Basic knowledge of the host society's language, history and institutions is indispensable to integration." The Commission proposes that, at national level, the integration component be strengthened through pre-departure measures and introduction programmes offering courses at several levels organised and that, at European level, transnational actions and innovative integration models be supported.

"Efforts in education are critical to integration." The Commission proposes that, at national level, diversity be reflected in the school curriculum and the specific problems of young immigrants such as participation in higher education taken into account and that, at national level, integration objectives be incorporated into educational programmes (Education and Training 2010) and transparent recognition of qualifications facilitated (European Qualifications Framework).

"Access for immigrants to institutions as well as to public and private goods and services in a non-discriminatory way is a critical foundation for better integration." The Commission proposes that, at national level, the capacity of public and private service providers to interact with Non-EU Member Country nationals be strengthened, sustainable organisational structures for integration and schemes to gather and analyse information introduced, companies engaged in debates on integration, and intercultural competence integrated into recruitment and training policies. It proposes that, at European level, the application of the Directives on Non-EU Member Country nationals who are long-term residents and on equal treatment be monitored and studies and exchanges of best practices supported.

"Frequent interaction between immigrants and Member State citizens is a fundamental mechanism for integration." The Commission proposes that, at national level, activities in which immigrants interact with the host society be promoted and the living environment improved and that, at European level, the integration dimension in social inclusion and social protection policies be strengthened, the exchange of information and good practice encouraged and transnational cooperation at regional, local and municipal level between public authorities, private enterprises and civil society, including migrants' associations, supported.

"The practice of diverse cultures and religions must be safeguarded." The Commission proposes that, at national level, constructive intercultural dialogue and public discourse be developed and inter- and intra-faith dialogue platforms promoted and that, at European level, intercultural and inter-religious dialogue be facilitated and the dialogue with religious and humanist organisations further developed.

"The participation of immigrants in the democratic process and in the formulation of integration policies supports their integration." The Commission proposes that, at national level, civic, cultural and political participation of Non-EU Member Country nationals in the host society be increased, dialogue and consultation with them encouraged, active citizenship promoted and national preparatory citizenship and naturalisation programmes drawn up. It proposes that, at European level, a study/mapping exercise of the rights and obligations of Non-EU Member Country nationals in the Member States be initiated, the creation of a platform of migrants' organisations at EU level fostered and the value of developing a concept of civic citizenship explored.

The Commission is also proposing measures to encourage a more coherent approach towards integration at EU level.

At national level, this involves mainstreaming integration in all relevant policies and reinforcing the capacity to coordinate national integration strategies across different levels of government and, at EU level, to strengthen the network of National Contact Points and to develop cooperation among responsible institutions and services.

It is also necessary to carry out evaluations and to enhance at national level the capacity to collect, analyse and disseminate statistics related to integration and, at European level, to develop statistical tools and common indicators and to develop further the European Migration Network.

In order to develop special cooperation activities, the Commission envisages the results of the work of the National Contact Points being conveyed to the relevant Council structures concerned with integration-related policies. The NCPs will also work on the second edition (2006) of the Handbook on Integration, which will focus on housing and urban issues, access to health and social services, integration in the labour market, and integration infrastructure and will incorporate the CBPs firmly into the analysis. The Commission is planning to launch a tender for a web portal for European experiences on immigrant integration and will set up a European Integration Forum to promote the effective participation of stakeholders at EU level. The Forum's main functions will be consultation, exchange of expertise and drawing up recommendations to be published on the integration website. The Commission will continue to draw up an annual report on migration and integration as a means of monitoring the further development of integration policies in the European Union.

Background

Following the request by the Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Council in 2002 to establish National Contact Points on integration, the European Council of June 2003 confirmed that mandate and invited the Commission to present annual reports on migration and integration. In its Communication on Immigration, Integration and Employment , the Commission set out a holistic approach to integration. In November 2004 the first edition of a Handbook on Integration for Policy Makers and Practitioners was published. The Hague Programme , adopted by the European Council on 4 and 5 November 2004, underlined the need for greater coordination of national integration policies and EU initiatives in this field. The JHA Council of 19 November 2004 adopted Common Basic Principles to underpin a coherent European framework on integration of Non-EU Member Country nationals.

RELATED ACTS

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: Third Annual Report on Migration and Integration[COM(2007)512 final--Not published in the Official Journal].

In September 2007 the Commission presented the Third Annual Report on Migration and Integration, which continues the monitoring process for the policies on admission and integration of Non-EU Member Country nationals in the EU. The report provides information on the establishment of the EU integration framework until June 2007. Mainstreaming integration becomes an integral part of policy making and implementation across a wide range of EU policies, and the communication announces the Commission's commitment to present new initiatives aimed at further developing the EU framework. The report also provides specific information on the various dimensions of the integration process in the Member States for 2005 and the first half of 2006.

Commission working paper - Second Annual Report on Migration and Integration of 30 June 2006 [SEC(2006)892 - Not published in the Official Journal].

Last updated: 9.11.2007

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