ECRE and PICUM has released a Policy Paper in reaction to the announcement by the European Commission of a new Action Plan on Integration and Inclusion for 2021 – 2024, to be published in the last quarter of this year.

The plan announced within the New Pact on on Migration and Asylum, follows the previous Action Plan on the Integration of Third Country Nationals (2016) is meant to provide strategic guidance and set concrete actions to foster inclusion of refugees, migrants and their families. It will draw on all relevant policies and tools in key areas such as social inclusion, employment, education, health, equality, culture and sport, setting out how migrant integration should be part of efforts to achieve the EU’s goals on each one of these areas.

The forthcoming Action Plan is a significant opportunity to develop a coordinated integration policy, ensuring that all people arriving and residing in the EU have the opportunity to build a dignified life and to actively participate in society. Its focus on both integration and inclusion strengthens the understanding of integration as a “two-way process”, which remains to be adequately reflected in current policy approaches.

Building on existing analysis and position of ECRE, PICUM and their member organisations, the policy paper addresses the main topics covered in the previous Action Plan, and recommends to assess the impact of all asylum and migration policy reform on integration. Furthermore, it enlists specific actions to be prioritised in EU funding for the next years, taking stock of the new socio-economic challenges risen after the Covid-19 pandemic.

As integration remains a national competence (with a minor, supporting action of the European Commission), the Policy Paper also calls for a stronger engagement of the Council on this theme, with new Council Conclusions renewing member states’ commitment towards the Common Basic Principles for Immigrant Integration Policy in the EU. This should lead to periodical policy dialogues at the ministerial level, including a meaningful assessment of each member states’ integration policy.

This article appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin. You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.