Integration of migrants: Commission launches a public consultation and call for an expert group on the views of migrants

refugees UNHCR

UN Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees Kelly T. Clements meets new arrivals at UNHCR’s transit site in the North of Lesvos Island © UNHCR/Tamara Simidrijevic

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


Today the Commission is launching an EU-wide public consultation to gather views on new actions that could be taken at EU level to promote the integration and social inclusion of migrants and people with a migrant background. The Commission is also launching a call for applications to set up an expert group composed of persons with a migrant background to participate in the development and implementation of migration, asylum and integration policies. Involving migrants, asylum applicants and refugees is essential to make the policies more effective and better tailored to needs on the ground.

Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas, said: “When people settle in Europe it’s important that they enjoy the same rights and obligations as anybody else. Access to healthcare, housing, education and employment allows them to reach their full potential. Integration of migrants is in everyone’s interest, it promotes strong and harmonious communities and protects against the ills of isolation and segregation. With this consultation and expert group we will ask those most affected by our policies to be involved in policy-making. This is the European Way of Life.”

Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, said: “The coronavirus crisis showed once again that migrants and refugees contribute in a crucial way to our societies. However, across Europe many still face challenges in finding accommodation or accessing employment, education or healthcare. We need to step up our work on integration at EU level. I invite all stakeholders, especially migrants, asylum seekers and refugees, to reply to the consultation to help us design future actions on integration that can improve quality of life and make our societies more cohesive and inclusive.”

With both the consultation and the expert group, the Commission seeks to gather input from a broad range of stakeholders including national, regional and local authorities, civil society organisations, social and economic partners, businesses, education and training providers, academia, cultural and sport organisations, migrant organisations and private individuals. The results of the consultation will contribute to the development of the Action Plan on integration and inclusion announced in the Commission’s work programme.

The public consultation will be available in all EU official languages until 21 October 2020. The call for applications to become a member of the Commission expert group on the views of migrants will be open until 21 September.

Background

Well-managed migration to Europe contributes to our societies, culture and economy. The integration and social inclusion of people with migrant background is crucial for cultural exchange and community cohesion. It also helps address skills gaps, labour shortages, and to boost economic performance overall. Currently in the EU, too many migrants face challenges in terms of unemployment, lack of educational and training opportunities, and limited social interaction within their broader communities – challenges which adequate public policies could turn into opportunities.

The responsibility for integration policies lies primarily with the Member States. However, the EU has established a large variety of measures to incentivise and support national authorities but also local and regional authorities and civil society in their efforts to promote integration. This includes dedicated funding and instruments addressing social and economic cohesion across Member States. In 2016, the Commission launched an Action Plan on the integration of third country nationals, which included fifty actions to promote integration.

The von der Leyen Commission will put forward an Action Plan on integration and inclusion, whose development will be informed by the results of both consultation and the expert group.

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