Integration

Over its two-year implementation ReSOMA will focus on three areas: asylum, migration and integration. At the beginning of each year, partners will identify 3 key policy topics per area based on the on-going debate at EU level and within Member States.

The identification follows a two-fold approach as it looks both at the current EU agenda (top-down) and the policy needs at local and national level that are not currently addressed at EU level (bottom-up).

Once the 9 topics have been identified, project partners will gather evidence on these topics by involving researchers, policymakers, and practitioners and engage them in several cycles of consultations that will enable them to connect with one another and will result in a number of publications.

Topics

Most undocumented migrants have arrived via regular channels and have subsequently fallen into an irregular situation, for instance by overstaying permits or as a consequence of bureaucratic obstacles. While ‘the irregular migrant’ as a rights holder remains an invisible category for official Member State and EU policies, this does not take away from the fact that all migrants – irrespective of their status – obtain the same set of basic human rights as all citizens, deriving not only from International/European treaties, but also from national constitution, legislation and court decisions. Nonetheless, many undocumented migrants are denied access to public healthcare, adequate housing and accommodation, education, and essential social security. The lack of formalised separation between service provision and immigration control, whether in law, or in practice, directly impacts the social inclusion work of local and regional actors and authorities in fulfilling their commitments and responsibilities to protect the fundamental rights of undocumented people. Furthermore, local service providers are dependent on National and EU funding in order to remain operational. However, with narrowing definitions of those entitled to benefit of the services implemented through funding provided (often implicitly and/or explicitly excluding undocumented migrants), the gap in services has become an increasing reality and threat. The criminalisation of undocumented migrants exacerbates their social exclusion and pushes them to live in even more precarious positions. At the same time, it blocks the channels that provide migrants with a degree of solidarity and social inclusion and increases vulnerability to abuse and exploitation.

Discussion Brief (You need to be registered and logged in to read this publication)

National Stakeholder Report (You need to be registered and logged in to read this publication)

Mainstreaming refers to the systematic implementation of policies and measures across 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 cases, group-oriented integration policies outside general public policies are avoided. Mainstreaming 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.

 

Discussion Brief (You need to be registered and logged in to read this publication)

National Stakeholder Report (You need to be registered and logged in to read this publication)

 

ities are where integration measures and public services are provided to a vast majority of migrants and refugees in the EU. Whether services are adequate, respond to needs and are available across all relevant issue areas (like housing, social services, education,…), is a key determinant for long-term integration. However, the ability of local authorities to deliver services depends on their national contexts, such as cities’ legal competencies in different policy fields, the strength of the welfare state, the efficiency of coordination with the national or regional levels of government, and cities’ financial capacities. In this context, EU policies and programmes offer multiple opportunities to improve, or widen the scope, of services provided by cities. Next to targeted means (e.g. under the EU migration and integration policy), migrants may gain from programmes linked to EU cohesion, social inclusion and other policies, as they are implemented in Member States. The 2015/16 arrivals brought to the fore issues like direct access to funds for cities receiving high number of migrants and refugees, priorities for integration, eligibility criteria and timely reaction to newly arising needs. Moreover, EU law directly impacts on the de-facto access immigrants have to key services, such as EU directives on the reception and status of beneficiaries of international protection, or the anti-discrimination framework. Currently, the Urban Agenda for the EU is a major joint initiative of the Commission, Member States and cities to render EU policies responsive to the needs of the local level, and for strengthened participation of cities in EU policy-making. In addition, decisions on the 2021 to 2027 financial and programme framework will determine the availability of EU means to support the provision of services and integration measures on city level.

 

Discussion Brief (You need to be registered and logged in to read this publication)

National Stakeholder Report (You need to be registered and logged in to read this publication)