Social participation

Education plays an important role in the social inclusion of third country nationals. As migrant education emerged on EU policy agenda, knowledge resources also became available. Inequalities in education outcomes have been monitored for migrant pupils through the EU Education & Training Monitor since 2012. The same year, the SIRIUS network was founded as the only European policy network on migrant education by the Commission. It has since then conducted numerous studies on the education of children and youngsters with migrant background.

The main EU funding instrument in the field of education and youth policy is the 2014-2020 Erasmus+ programme which provides opportunities for over 4 million residents to study, train, gain work experience, and volunteer abroad. To ensure that the programme works for disadvantaged young people, the Erasmus+ Inclusion and Diversity Strategy was designed in 2015. In response to the 2015 refugee arrivals, migrant and refugee pupils were made one of its top priorities.

Besides education, the Erasmus+ programme also promotes dialogue, support and participation across all areas of sport policy. Physical activity can be extremely valuable in the context of social Inclusion and integration. It allows marginalised and underprivileged groups, particularly immigrant women, to interact with other social groups. Current EU activities of in the field of sport are outlined by the Work Plan for Sport for the period 2014-2017 while the third EU Health Programme, launched in 2014 with a budget of €449.4 million, is the main instrument the European Commission uses to implement the EU’s health strategy.

 

Cultural participation

The 2015 to 2018 Work Plan for Culture is the most relevant goal setting document for the cultural integration of immigrants as it sets out the strategic objectives for European cooperation in cultural policy-making. In terms of funding opportunities, the Commission launched Creative Europe in 2014. It is a consolidated framework programme in support of Europe's cultural and creative sectors. One call for proposal was published in 2016 with refugee integration as a cross-sectoral strand.

Besides these thematic financing schemes and related tools, the EU launched some mainstreamed initiatives during this period which continue to contribute to successful integration policies and practices across Europe. The introduction of the European Integration Modules in the field of introductory and languages courses; commitment by the host society; and active participation of immigrants in all aspects of collective life is one of such initiatives. The 2012 update of the Common Integration Indicators encompassing employment, education, social inclusion and active citizenship is another example. While the Modules are designed as flexible reference frameworks that can be adapted to national contexts, the set of Common Indicators serve as a basis for EU level monitoring and contributes to enhanced coordination of integration policies.

This information is taken from this link.

 

 

Basic services

As a cross-cutting policy agenda, the Action Plan makes reference to services such as housing and health. The Commission is committed to support best practices in the care provision for vulnerable foreigners under the Health Programme. Pilot training modules will be developed to upgrade health professionals’ skills while Member States are to create (mental) health expert networks and coordinate healthcare policies with housing and social services, to mention but a few.

The Action Plan also presents tools to strengthen policy cooperation between national, regional and local integration actors. Mandating the European Integration Network (former National Contact Points on Integration) with a greater mutual learning role and the creation of an Urban Agenda Partnership focusing on the integration of third country nationals are 2 good examples of increased coordination between respectively EU Member States and other relevant stakeholders, including European cities.

This information is taken from this link.

 

Employment

Labour market integration is a key priority of the Action Plan. It is to be accomplished through several funding schemes. The Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund - AMIF, the Employment and Social Innovation - EaSI programme, the European Social Fund - ESF and the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived - FEAD are available for projects promoting the labour market integration of migrants, including refugees and women, as well as fast track insertion and vocational training.

Other initiatives include a toolkit for the timely identification of skills of newcomers and the sharing of good practices in the area of qualification recognition, under the New Skills Agenda for Europe.

 

Economic participation

As migrants face discrimination and many administrative, cultural, linguistic and other obstacles to enter the European labour market, they are often more likely to start their own businesses than natives. To address this situation, on one hand, self-employment of migrants was set in the Commission’s 2013 Entrepreneurship Action Plan wherein policy and legislative initiatives to facilitate entrepreneurship are planned both at the EU and national level. Programmes such as Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs are also accessible to immigrants. On the other hand, the 2014 Employment and Social Innovation - EaSI programme promotes high employment by supporting the modernisation of employment policies and European job mobility. It also supports access to micro-finance and social entrepreneurship, with the goal of combating social exclusion and poverty.

The fight against poverty among the immigrant population is however mainly financed by the Regional Development Fund ERDF and the European Social Fund - ESF, both available since 2013. The latter is Europe’s primary tool for promoting employment.

Between 2014 and 2020, it will provide some €80 billion to train people and help them get into work; 20% of such projects should target migrants, with a particular focus on refugees, asylum-seekers and their children.

This information is taken from this link.

 

EU policy framework for migrant integration

Immigrant integration policies are a national competence. However, since the signature of the Treaty of Lisbon in 2007, European institutions have the mandate to ‘provide incentives and support for the action of Member States with a view to promoting the integration of third-country nationals.’ The EU has nonetheless periodically set priorities and goals to drive EU policies, legislative proposals and funding opportunities since the 1999 Treaty of Amsterdam. The 2004 Common basic principles represent another a stepping stone as they have guided and continue to guide most EU actions in the area of integration.

 

Common Policy

The process of developing a common immigration policy resulted in the adoption of the Common Basic Principles for Immigrant Integration Policy in the EU by the Justice and Home Affairs Council in November 2004. Principles to which Member States renewed their commitment 10 years later, in the June 2014 council conclusions wherein Integration is reaffirmed as a long-term and multi-faceted.

The comprehensive set of 11 principles starts with the assertions that integration is a dynamic, two-way process of mutual accommodation by all immigrants and residents, and implies respect for the basic values of the EU. It further stresses the significance of employment, knowledge of the host society’s language and institutions, education and participation in the democratic process and equal access to public goods and services. It also recognised the key role of mainstreaming integration policies and measures in all relevant policy portfolios and levels of government.

To support the development of EU integration policies, 2 networks have been created during this period: the National Contact Points on Integration in 2002 and the European Migration Network in 2003. The first, which became the European Integration Network in 2016, consists of national coordination bodies in charge of shaping the EU migrant integration agenda while the second aims at responding to the information needs of policymakers and citizens through reports and studies.

The first EU financial resources to specifically support integration measures became available in 2003 with the Preparatory Actions for integration of third-country nationals (INTI) which promoted activities at local level, strengthened networks and the exchange of information and good practices between Member States, their regional and local authorities, and other stakeholders.

This information is taken from this link.

Photograph taken by LUIS CARLOS SANTIAGO MARTIN.

 

Education

In the education field, the June 2016 Action Plan on integration contains a range of measures to be implemented by the Commission: from peer learning support to language assessment and higher education integration. Support to the school community is for example to be provided through the online School Education Gateway while the European Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care - ECEC will promote the access of all girls and boys to early childhood education.

To provide knowledge resources for European cooperation, the Eurydice network which provides information on education systems and policies of 38 countries published 2 reports in 2009 on tackling social and cultural inequalities in early childhood education. Its later key studies on migrants included one on tackling early leaving from education. At the end of this period, in 2009, within the framework of the Stockholm Programme, Member States were encouraged to further develop structures and tools for knowledge exchange and coordination with other relevant policy areas, such as employment (Europe 2020) and social inclusion (EU Youth Strategy for the period 2010-2018).

This information is taken from this link.

 

 

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