Mainstreaming refers to the systematic implementation of policies and measures in all areas relevant for the integration of migrants and refugees – be it housing, education, qualification, social services or health. All authorities and organisations providing public services, on all levels of government, become responsible for contributing to integration and for adapting their activities to the requirements of a diverse society. While services and measures may address specific needs of migrants in justified contexts, mainstreaming avoids group-oriented integration policies outside general public policies. It requires a common policy framework, cross-sectoral planning and implementation, efficient coordination and shared commitment. Comprehensive integration action plans or -strategies are typical instruments to achieve its objectives.
On European level, the Commission encourages mainstreaming by promoting it as a Common Basic Principle for Immigrant Integration, and through the inclusion of integration-related objectives in a range of EU policies and funding programmes. Under the impression of the 2015/16 arrivals, the 2016 Action Plan on the integration of third country nationals of the European Commission and its ongoing implementation has marked a new high point of efforts at mainstreaming the response across EU policy fields, in line with the cross-cutting character of the challenge at hand. With the current preparations and negotiations on the 2021 to 2027 funding and programme framework, elections to the European Parliament and a new incoming Commission in 2019, key decisions about the priority of migrant and refugee integration on the EU agenda are due in the near future.