Politics and Society/Migration and Integration

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[edit] Context

The European integration process started after the second World War. The Treaty establishing the European Economic Community (EEC), also known as the Treaty of Rome signed in March 1957, had a strong focus on economic integration. In this context, among others, the free movement of workers within the European Community was established. The Single European Act (SEA) in 1986 introduced a free a single internal market based on free movement of goods, capital, services and persons. With the Schengen Agreement of 1985, the genuine free movement of persons within the so-called ‘Schengen area’ was introduced. Whereas the internal borders within the European Union were successively abolished, at the same time, the extern borders became increasingly locked and controlled ("Fortress Europe"). This not least led to the need to harmonise the European migration and asylum politics. The entry into force of the Treaty of Amsterdam (May 1999) set the legal bases for a common European migration policy. Subsequently, the European Council meeting at Tampere (October 1999) set up the political guidelines for a common immigration and asylum policy, constituting an “Area of Freedom, Security and Justice”. It paved the way for a common European Asylum policy. Among others, the partnership with countries of origin of immigrants, a common European asylum system, a fair treatment of third country nationals and the future "management of migration" was agreed upon [1].

The current migration movements are characterised by a high complexity and the group of immigrants is extremely heterogenous. Data collection and analysis on immigrants and migration movements is always difficult due to various reasons, such as the different registration procedures in the countries or even discrepanies within individual countries. The biggest challenge, however, is to provide data related to irregular migration. According to the European Commissions Report on Migration and Integration of 2007, the share of third-country nationals residing in the EU is currently about 3.8 % of the total population.

[edit] EU integration concept

At the European Union level, common integration policies regarding the immigrant population are a rather new issue. Since the developments regarding harmonisation of migration and asylum policies at the latest, however, the need for equal treatment of non-EU nationals could not be excluded from the political agenda anymore. In 2004, the European Council adopted the Hague Programme as the second phase of the "Area of Freedom, Security and Justice", expressing the necessity for more coordination of integration activities between the Member states as well the Common Basic Principles for Immigrant Integration Policy in the EU, followed by the A Common Agenda for Integration by the European Commission in 2005. As regards the integration of third-country nationals, the common approach is to apply a "two-way process" of mutual accommodation by both the host societies and the immigrants. As pointed out in the Report on Migration and Integration, a common EU integration concept is, so far, "to different extent" [2] reflected in the national integration strategies.

[edit] Integration indicators

Although in most European countries live considerable numbers of immigrants, a common concept on measuring their integration sucess does not exist yet. A transnational project funded by the INTI Programme of the European Commission, DG Justice and Home Affairs, intended to create common European indicators serving to measure the immigrant integration in the EU, reflecting the viewpoint of the national States, the viewpoint of the cities and the viewpoint of the immigrants, especially women. The project approach was to consider the experiences, views and oppinions of all agents involved into the devlopment of an indicator system. This included the participation of immigrants as well as of representatives of relevant institutions and organisations.

In the report on the situation in Berlin (Germany), the necessity to precisely define the concept of integration is pointed out, as this is the preriquisite to monitor integration. In this respect, the 2005 integration concept for Berlin is referred to. According to the Berlin concept, "Integration means that a single person or a whole group receives the equal chances to take part in the social life and to articulate their interests and being protected from individual and collective isolation... The core of integration policy is to achieve equal opportunities... Integration is a process, where immigrants and the receiving society both have to take part." [3].

[edit] Migrant Policy Index

The Migrant Policy Index (MIPEX) is an instrument to measure integration politics in 25 EU Member States as well as in Canada, Norway and Switzerland. It is coordinated by Migration Policy Group (MPG) and the British Council and based on a project financed by the INTI Programme. The index covers six policy areas indicating the state of integration of immigrants in the respective countries: Labour market access, family reunion, long-term residence, political participation, access to nationality and anti-discrimination. MIPEX offers country profiles, maps and graphs for the data sets as well as an interactive mapping and charting function. The compiled data and information are provided by a network of partners, such as universities, research institutes, think-tanks, foundations, NGOs and equality bodies. Based on the data, national integration politics are not only documented but also compared and evaluated. The overall objective is to contribute to an improved integration of immigrants throughout Europe as well as to provide a platform for a fact-based debate between relevant actors on integration policy in Europe.

[edit] National Integration Politics

In Germany, a National Integration Plan was agreed upon in July 2007 in order to open new opportunities for integration of migrants. It was developed in collaboration of those dealing with integration in politics and in society: Federal Government, Länder (Federal States), local authorities, migrants, institutions and organizations from science, media, culture, sports, trade and industry, trade unions and religious groups.

The most important issues of the National Integration Plan are to improve integration courses, to promote the German language from the very start, to ensure good education and vocational training and to improve labour market opportunities for migrants. Moreover, attention is given to the improvement of the life situation of women and girls and to achieve gender equality as well as to support the integration in the communities. Other important issues concern cultural diversity, integration through sports, using the diversity of the media, and strengthening integration through civic commitment and equal participation.

[edit] Labour Market Integration

The participation of immigrants in the labour market is one of the most relevant indicators for their integration. This includes both employment and the access to vocational training. As a OECD study has shown, compared to immigrant men, particularly the employment rates of immigrant women in Germany are very low. The recent OECD "International Migration Outlook" [4] points out the insufficient use of the potential of immigrant women as regards their qualifications. Even those being highly qualified usually work in jobs far below their qualificatoin. Moreover, with respect to the second generation of immigrants, both the educational outcomes are unfavourable and employment rates are below those of natives.

[edit] References:

  1. Websites of the European Parliament providing documentation on the Tampere Council Meeting
  2. European Commission, 2007: Third Annual Report on Migration and Integration, p. 8
  3. Beauftragter für Integration und Migration des Landes Berlin (Hg), 2007: Monitoring of integration for Berlin: Recommendations of the transnational EU-Project "Indicators of immigrant integration", in: Indikatoren zur Messung von Integrationserfolgen. Berliner Beiträge zu Integration und Migration, p. 86
  4. OECD Website on the International Migration Outlook 2007

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