April 21, 2010
European Ministers responsible for migrant integration have stressed the crucial role of cities in particular in promoting the social inclusion of migrants. The announcement came at a ministerial meeting in Zaragoza on 16-17 April to set directions for a shared approach to migrant integration in Europe.
Ministers reached consensus on a list of common indicators to be used for evaluating and comparing national integration policies in key fields such as education, employment, and host country language teaching. The agreed indicators cover four key areas:
1) (un)employment rates;
2) educational levels and basic skills attained;
3) social inclusion and health (particularly for migrants at risk of poverty); and
4) active citizenship (including obtaining nationality and/or long-term residence).
The Declaration arising from the conference calls for mechanisms for recognition of professional qualifications acquired outside the EU and emphasises that greater immigrant integration must be achieved through inclusion in the labour market, social inclusion, anti-discrimination measures and equal opportunity.
The European Commission is shortly expected to launch a pilot project for exchanging best practices among national governments on integration policies. The possibility of EU initiatives and support measures on integration were given a legal basis by the Lisbon Treaty but, beyond creating a coordinating mechanism, binding minimum standards at EU level are not envisaged in any way.
The Commission also used the meeting to release its latest 'Handbook on Integration for policy-makers and practitioners' focussing on the role of mass media in integration, the importance of awareness-raising and migrant empowerment, dialogue platforms, acquisition of nationality and practice of active citizenship, immigrant youth, education and the labour market.
Posted by iroronan at April 21, 2010 03:05 PM
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