Press Release

Taking the ‘crisis’ out of migration: integration in the EU

Risk of school segregation, discrimination and restrictions to political participation can form insurmountable barriers to the integration of migrants in EU society, as a new report from the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) shows. It examines integration strategies across the EU, providing clear evidence of the successes and failures of current policy and recommending changes in order to build a stronger and more cohesive Europe.

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"The migrants living in the EU are not part of a 'crisis', but an integral part of our society. We need a new narrative that stresses the benefits that migrants, their children and their children’s children bring to our societies,” says FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty. "Integration is key to our security and to our democracy."

There are some 20 million non-EU citizens living in the EU. Many have settled and started families. However, despite efforts from 2004 to follow common principles to guide and improve integration across the EU, Member States have widely different approaches to guide and improve integration and inclusion across the EU.

The report Together in the EU: Promoting the participation of migrants and their descendants identifies and compares policies across the EU in areas important for successful integration. These include:

  • Education: Migrant pupils face some form of school segregation in around half of EU Member States, often despite efforts by the authorities to prevent it. This depicts a worrying reality of migrants and natives living in divided societies.
  • Youth: Fewer than half of Member States have action plans or strategies explicitly addressing youth with a migrant background, even though they can be important to avoid marginalisation, alienation and even radicalisation.
  • Discrimination: 16 Member States do not protect migrants against discrimination on the basis of their nationality or status as migrant, refugee or foreigner, which can mask ethnic and racial discrimination.
  • Language: Few Member States provide courses to all residents with limited language proficiency, including citizens of migrant background. At the same time, language learning programmes are rarely linked to employment, and job-specific or on-the-job language training courses are uncommon.

As well as examining the national integration policies and strategies across the EU that determine the social and political participation of migrants and their descendants, the report also identifies examples of good practices that can be used or adapted for use in other national contexts.

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Notes to editors:

  • FRA surveys people about how they experience human rights, and uses this evidence and its analysis of EU policy and legislation to advise the EU institutions and national decision makers, thereby helping to protect the human rights of every individual living in the EU.