Wednesday

17th Aug 2022

EU reaches out to nationals of migrant origin

  • Migrant women tend to face more obstacles when it comes to jobs, health and education. (Photo: Nikolaj Nielsen)

The European Commission is seeking to better integrate migrants and Europeans with migrant backgrounds into larger society.

The guidelines unveiled on Tuesday (24 November) come on the heels of heated debates over the French concept of secularism.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"We have to admit that there are and remain risks that extremist organisations prey on the vulnerable and exploit voids left by public services of governmental structures," said commission vice-president Margaritis Schinas.

Schinas said the aim of the latest raft of guidelines, an update from those published in 2016, was "to fill these voids."

It is unclear if any of the EU states will take on the measures proposed, given the lack of any binding legal commitments behind the proposals.

France has seen sharp divides over government policies toward its Muslim minority in the wake of recent terror attacks linked to extremists.

And EU home affairs ministers recently issued a joint-statement that conflates discussions around counter-terrorism and integration.

But the commission argues that integration and inclusion are concepts that cannot be executed from the top down.

"It is not by imposing a Brussels-light diktat that inclusion will happen," noted Schinas.

Ylva Johannson, the EU home affairs commissioner, made similar comments.

"This action plan is here to support member state efforts to be more successful on integration and inclusion," she said, speaking alongside Schinas at a press conference.

"Religion is not a problem. The freedom of religion is part of our common values," she added, noting that, so too, was atheism.

The commission had sought the advice of NGOs and migrants before putting its proposal together.

It also carried out a public consultation, generating the majority of anti-migrant backlash from primarily Slovak responses.

Less than three percent of the people living in Slovakia are migrants, a figure that cuts across Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, and Poland.

Only 8 percent, or some 34 million out of the EU total population, were born outside the European Union.

And 10 percent of young people born in the EU have at least one foreign-born parent, according to 2017 estimates from the the Paris-based club of wealthy nations, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The commission plan is spread out over a period of six years, ending in 2027 and covers areas like education, job training, health, and housing.

It says that unlike its 2016 proposals covering the same issues, the latest differs in that it also covers EU-born people of migrant origin.

It also wants to narrow in on women and girls, who face greater obstacles to entering the labour market and education.

"I think it also important for example when we offer language courses to make sure that could be combined with child care," said Johannson.

On education, the commission wants to start inclusion lessons in early childhood and will propose a "practical guide" on it sometime next year.

On health, it wants to fund a project to promote health programmes for migrants.

On housing, it seeks to promote non-segregated and affordable housing.

And on jobs, it wants to help ease migrants into the labour market, support entrepreneurs, and have their skills better recognised.

EU to target migrant integration and encrypted apps

Migrants ought to learn EU languages and "integrate" their children, while encrypted messaging apps should give keys to authorities to combat terrorism, EU ministers are preparing to say.

Frontex ends Lithuania border surveillance operation

The agency is suspending border surveillance operations in Lithuania. It also wants to reverse a rule which requires it to suspend operations in EU states where violations take place — and instead send in more agents.

Lampedusa: The invisible migrant crisis at Europe's gate

Last weekend, Italy's Lampedusa island was again making headlines for being overrun with migrants. But, paradoxically, the crisis was more visible from TV news bulletins and social media than from the ground.

Lampedusa: The invisible migrant crisis at Europe's gate

Last weekend, Italy's Lampedusa island was again making headlines for being overrun with migrants. But, paradoxically, the crisis was more visible from TV news bulletins and social media than from the ground.

News in Brief

  1. Tens of thousands of Jews quit Russia since start of war
  2. Russia says GDP forecasts better than expected
  3. Spain 'hopeful' for new gas pipeline
  4. German troops return to Bosnia over instability fears
  5. Next UK PM candidates reject Scottish independence push
  6. Russia will not allow British spy plane overflight
  7. Discrimination in Germany remains high, new figures show
  8. US weighs plan to revive Iran nuclear deal

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  2. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  4. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us