Integration of refugees in the EU

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EESC opinion: Integration of refugees in the EU

Key points

  • The EESC is convinced that integration is a necessity if we want to preserve social cohesion.
  • The EESC points out that integration is a two way process. Best-practices in integration policies do not only target refugees but include locals as well, which is critical for the acceptance of the integration measures. Media, local authorities, trade unions, employer organisations and NGOs play an important role in this process.
  • Language training should start soon after registration, if a positive decision on the asylum status is to be expected, and should also include basic information on values, cultures and processes.
  • The EESC recommends that special attention is paid to minors, particularly the unaccompanied. Rapid integration into the school system or guidance on professional training opportunities shall be provided.
  • The EESC stresses that refugees must have access to information about their rights and obligations in the host society. Refugees must be treated equally with locals on the labour market.
  • The EESC praises the solidarity shown by segments of civil society, trade unions, employers' organisations, private individuals and enterprises, who have voluntarily assisted asylum seekers. The EESC stresses the importance of protecting and supporting such individual engagements.
  • Investment in integration measures is costly in the short and middle term, but if successful it will lead to social cohesion, economic growth and job creation. Relevant EU funds should be increased in order to achieve better co-financing of measures to integrate refugees. To successfully integrate refugees increased investment in promoting economic growth and employment is necessary.

Background

Recommendations for successful integration of refugees in the EU.

The EU and its member states are facing the current massive arrival of refugees largely unprepared. However, the number of people arriving is a fraction of those on the move globally and not without precedence in recent European history. All governmental levels and many civil society organizations need to cooperate to receive refugees and to assure their integration once their protection status is granted. The approach, benefits and level of organizational response vary from Member State to Member State. Examples of existing good practice can be found in various databases, which can serve as a basis for deeper analysis.

The exploratory opinion aims at drafting recommendations, drawing on current experiences and seeking inspiration from times that witnessed the arrival of refugees and other migrants on a comparable or far larger scale, focusing on the role of civil society organizations. It should answer such questions as: What are the best models of cooperation between national, regional and local authorities and civil society organizations? What innovative approaches exist already? How can they be transferred to other contexts?


Recommendations for successful integration of refugees in the EU

The EU and its member states are facing the current massive arrival of refugees largely unprepared. However, the number of people arriving is a fraction of those on the move globally and not without precedence in recent European history. All governmental levels and many civil society organizations need to cooperate to receive refugees and to assure their integration once their protection status is granted. The approach, benefits and level of organizational response vary from Member State to Member State. Examples of existing good practice can be found in various databases, which can serve as a basis for deeper analysis.

The exploratory opinion aims at drafting recommendations, drawing on current experiences focusing on the role of civil society organizations. It should answer such questions as: What are the best models of cooperation between national, regional and local authorities and civil society organizations? What innovative approaches exist already? How can they be transferred to other contexts?