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Brussels, 12 September 2007

Third Annual Report on Migration and Integration: an overview of policy developments on integration of third-country nationals at EU and national level

Policy context: the European framework for the integration of third-country nationals

As called for by the Thessaloniki European Council of June 2003, the Annual Reports on Migration and Integration analyse changes and describe actions taken on the admission and integration of third-country nationals at EU and national level. They provide an overview of policy developments and contribute to strengthening integration measures and the promotion of policy initiatives for the more effective management of immigration in Europe. The link between legal migration policies and integration strategies needs to be continually reinforced.

As part of a series of EU supportive mechanisms, the monitoring process of the Annual Reports has become an important element of the EU framework for integration[1] underpinned by the Common Basic Principles on integration (CBPs)[2]: This Report informs about the implementation of the EU framework for integration and it examines the way the CBPs are being put into practice.

The Third Annual Report on Migration and Integration

The First Annual Report was published in July 2004 and the second in June 2006. The Third Report covers developments up to the adoption in June 2007 of Council Conclusions on the strengthening of integration policies in the EU by promoting unity in diversity (Council document 10267/07). These Conclusions mark a new step in the development of the EU's integration agenda.

The section of the Report 'Immigration population in the EU' explains that in January 2006 the number of third-country nationals residing in the EU was 18.5 million, i.e. 3.8% of the total EU population of almost 493 million. Immigration is still the main element in EU demographic growth and positive net migration is recorded in most Member States. Net migration, ranging between 0.5 and 1 million per year for most of the 1990s, has increased to levels ranging between 1.5 and 2 million since 2002.

The Report shows that the debate on integration has intensified, both at national and EU level. It provides information about the implementation of the EU framework for the integration of third-country nationals based on the Common Basic Principles on integration and on the Common Agenda for Integration. It also demonstrates that mainstreaming integration has become an integral part of both policy making and policy implementation across a wide range of EU policies.

As integration of third-country nationals is an important factor in ensuring the full benefits from immigration, the Commission announces in this Report its commitment to put forward new initiatives to further develop the EU framework for integration. These include exploring how participation and citizenship can foster the integration process; examining the idea of developing common European modules for migrant integration on various aspects of integration, such as introduction courses, involvement of the host society, etc.; analysing measures that can be targeted at the host society; exploring how integration efforts can contribute to the prevention of social alienation; and promoting the development of common indicators and indexes that could be used by Member States, on a voluntary basis, in order to assess integration policy outcomes.

In addition, the Report provides an overview of trends in national integration policies and it examines the way the CBPs are being put into practice. While explaining that an increasing number of countries is implementing new integration strategies and/or adjusting them in the light of previous experience, the Report underlines that integration policies need to be further strengthened and that a number of challenges still need to be addressed.

Structural initiatives targeting the host population to reinforce its ability to adjust to diversity are still underrepresented in national strategies. Fostering integration as a genuinely two-way process is a major challenge that requires further efforts. (CBP1)

Basic values are considered important elements of new policies. A number of Member States have introduced measures to provide knowledge on basic values in civic orientation programmes. (CBP2)

The integration of immigrants into the labour market remains a major challenge of national integration policies although initiatives to strengthen this aspect are increasingly implemented. (CBP3)

Many countries focus their integration strategies on introduction programmes and consider basic knowledge of the host society language as an essential element of integration. Only a few carry out in-depth evaluation of these activities and increase the flexibility of courses in terms of targeting specific needs. (CBP4)

As comprehensive integration policies include education and training as fundamental elements of the integration process, the specific challenges faced by immigrant children and youth should be further addressed. (CBP5)

Developing cooperation between governmental stakeholders and engaging companies in debates on integration are among the measures that only now are emerging to improve the capacity of service providers to interact with immigrants. (CBP6)

Given the importance of daily life interaction and the crucial role of local activities, measures to develop initiatives such as the setting up of shared forums are still limited. (CBP7)

Inter- and intra- faith dialogue, as an element of broader intercultural initiatives, should be promoted on a more structured basis to better manage the challenges of an increasingly diverse society. (CBP8)

In a growing number of cases, migrants' representatives are starting to be involved in the elaboration/implementation of integration policies. There is an increasing interest in active citizenship as an element to reinforce opportunities for involvement in the host society. (CBP9)

Further efforts are needed to effectively mainstream integration including by coordinating with all tiers of government and stakeholders and by paying due attention to the mainstreaming of gender equality and to the specific needs of migrant youth and children. (CBP10)

Initiatives to improve the visibility of immigrants' contribution to the host society's development, to provide detailed integration-related information in a more systematic way and to monitor and evaluate integration policies should be enhanced. (CBP11)

Detailed examples of numerous measures and initiatives implementing the CBPs in the EU are given in the Annex 'Summary Report on Integration Policies in the EU-27' prepared in co-operation with the National Contact Points.

The Third Annual Report on Migration and Integration will be the subject of discussions at the High Level Conference on Legal Immigration which is being organised by the Portuguese Presidency on 13-14 September.

For more information:

A common framework for the integration of third-country nationals

[1] Communication 'A Common Agenda for Integration - Framework for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals' (COM(2005) 389).

[2] Council Document 14615/04.

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