Brussels, 20 April 2009
Platform for dialogue: 'European Integration Forum' and interactive 'European Web Site on Integration': two new tools to make integration work
Today the Commission launched two new tools for integration of third country nationals living in the European Union: The European Integration Forum, organised in cooperation with the European Economic and Social Committee, where EU institutions, stakeholders and civil society organisations will exchange views on integration issues. Furthermore, the European Web Site on Integration, which will soon become 'Integration at your fingertips' – providing high-quality content from across Europe and building an online community of integration practitioners.
Vice President Barrot, in charge of Justice, Freedom and Security said: " I believe that it is essential for the success of integration policies to put our heads together This is why I am particularly pleased that today we bring together all stakeholders and organisations active in the area of integration on the occasion of the inaugural meeting of the European Integration Forum and the launch of the European Web Site on Integration. The Forum is a 'physical' platform for a dialogue on the current challenges and future priorities for integration policies. The Web Site is a "virtual platform", an online toolkit for all those engaging with migrants. It is a truly interactive instrument where good practices are shared, funding opportunities can be discovered and project partners found. The site will help build a new online community of all those working on integration."
Mario Sepi, President of the European Economic and Social Committee, stated that "The integration process has been a long process, marked at times by delays, reluctance and vetoes, but one which has also seen substantial steps forward. It is a two-way process based on the rights and responsibilities of immigrants and their host society. That is why, we have continued to push for a genuine participatory integration policy, not least since our ongoing dialogue with civil society has made clear its huge expectations in this regard. It is no coincidence that all our opinions have remained free of the foul stench of xenophobia; our Programme for Europe: Proposals of Civil Society is a clear demonstration of this".
European Integration Forum: a platform for dialogue on integration
The European Integration Forum will provide an opportunity for representatives of civil society organisations to express their views on integration issues, in particular relating to the "EU agenda on integration". At the same time, the Forum will allow the European Institutions to take a pro-active role in this field. As a new platform for dialogue on integration, organised in cooperation with the European Economic and Social Committee, the Forum is an important occasion to discuss together with representatives of the European institutions current challenges and future priorities.
In today's inaugural meeting, the role and methods of the Forum in contributing to the development of the future EU agenda for Integration, as well as relevant topical issues, such as the consequences of the current economic crisis on the integration of immigrants, will be addressed. The Forum will be attended by civil society organisations dealing with integration at European level, including social partners, as well as by European institutions. National platforms on integration will also be present, together with representatives of the network of National Contact Points on Integration.
The European Web Site on Integration: Integration at your fingertips
The Forum is also the occasion for officially launching the European Web Site on Integration (www.integration.eu).
The European Web Site on Integration aims at fostering integration policies and practices by sharing successful strategies and supporting cooperation among stakeholders and civil society organisations across the EU. It is open to everyone and enables visitors to share good practices, to discover funding opportunities and to look for project partners, to stay updated on the latest developments at EU, national and local level and to stay in touch with members of the EU integration community. By acting as a bridge between integration practitioners and policy-makers, the European Web Site on Integration will soon become 'Integration at your fingertips' – providing high-quality content from across Europe and fostering the community of integration practitioners.
The following can be found on the website (www.integration.eu):