Some 34 million EU inhabitants were born outside the EU (around 8% of the EU population), and 10% of young people (15-34 years old) born in the EU have at least one parent born abroad. Migrants and EU citizens of migrant origin “often face challenges in terms of discrimination and inequality in education, employment, health care and housing”, the European Commission acknowledges: “Learning a new culture, Language and social norms are also challenges that newcomers face when integrating into European societies and labor markets. ” And he adds: “People of migrant origin may be particularly exposed to the coronavirus due to a higher incidence of poverty, overcrowded housing conditions and jobs in which physical distancing is difficult.”
“Inclusion is a right and a duty”, said the Vice President of the European Commission for European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas: “Inclusion is the embodiment of the European way of life. Policies of integration and inclusion are vital for the newcomers, for local communities, and contribute to cohesive societies and strong economies. All who have the right to be in Europe should have access to the tools they need to realize their full potential and assume the rights and obligations that govern our Union. ” .
“There is no automatism between migration and extremism, it must be recognized that there are risks that extremist organizations use the vulnerable and exploit the vacuum in community structures. Our job is that no one is excluded,” said Schinas.
In this context, the European Commission presented on Tuesday a plan for the integration and inclusion of migrants for the period 2021-2027. The plan, according to the Community Executive, is based on the principle that “inclusive integration requires efforts from both the person and the host community. Empowering both people of migrant origin and host communities to actively participate in the integration process is essential to achieve a sustainable and successful integration “.
Thus, “the action plan will support local communities in developing the capacity of local and regional authorities to involve communities in integration programs; financing projects to promote volunteer actions co-designed by people from migrant origin and host communities; and promote mentoring programs and friendships among local communities and newcomers.A recognition of integration in schools, local communities, arts and cultural organizations, sports and youth clubs will make your contribution to the integration and inclusion “.
“These actions,” says Brussels, “will also help the newcomers to assume their responsibilities to strengthen ties with the host society.” The European Commission maintains that “successful integration and inclusion is an essential part of a well-managed and effective migration and asylum policy. It is also essential for social cohesion and for a dynamic economy that works for all.”
The European Commission’s action plan recognizes that “people experience discrimination differently based on their gender, age, religious origin or ethnicity or a combination of these factors. People with a migratory background are a diverse group, which means that general policies must be adapted and transformed to support their different needs. ”
Although national governments are primarily responsible for creating and implementing social policies, the EU plays a role in supporting Member States “by funding, developing guidance and fostering relevant partnerships”, says the European Commission. .
Brussels determines four areas of action. First, education and training, which should be “inclusive from early childhood to higher education, focused on facilitating the recognition of qualifications and continuous language learning, supported by EU funds”.
Second, the Community Executive aims to “improve employment opportunities and recognition of skills to fully value the contribution of migrant communities, and women in particular, and ensure that they are supported to reach their full potential.” In this sense, the European Commission “will work to promote integration into the labor market, support entrepreneurship and make it easier for employers to recognize and evaluate competences”.
In relation to access to health services, including mental health, for people of migrant origin, the action plan “seeks to ensure that people are informed about their rights and recognizes the specific challenges faced by women, in particular during and after pregnancy “.
The last point is access to “adequate and affordable” housing financed with European funds and avoiding “discrimination in the housing market and segregation”.
The action plan, says the European Commission, “will empower host communities and support their role in the design and implementation of integration measures and programs, while emphasizing the responsibility of those interested in participating in the host society “.