On Wednesday 22 July 2020, the European Commission’s DG Home launched an EU-wide public consultation to gather views on new actions that could be taken at EU level to promote the integration and social inclusion of migrants and people with a migrant background. The Commission also launched in parallel a call for applications  to set up an expert group composed of persons with a migrant background to participate in the development and implementation of migration, asylum and integration policies.

With both the consultation and the expert group, the Commission seeks to gather input from a broad range of stakeholders including national, regional and local authorities, civil society organisations, social and economic partners, businesses, education and training providers, academia, cultural and sport organisations, migrant organisations and private individuals. The results of the consultation will contribute to the development of the Action Plan on integration and inclusion announced in the Commission’s work programme.

The public consultation will be available in all EU official languages until 21 October 2020. The call for applications to become a member of the Commission expert group on the views of migrants will be open until 21 September .

Involving migrants, asylum applicants and refugees is essential to make the policies more effective and better tailored to needs on the ground. Well-managed migration to Europe contributes to our societies, culture and economy. The integration and social inclusion of people with migrant background is crucial for cultural exchange and community cohesion. It also helps address skills gaps, labour shortages, and to boost economic performance overall. Currently in the EU, too many migrants face challenges in terms of unemployment, lack of educational and training opportunities, and limited social interaction within their broader communities – challenges which adequate public policies could turn into opportunities. The responsibility for integration policies lies primarily with the Member States. However, the EU has established a large variety of measures to incentivise and support national authorities but also local and regional authorities and civil society in their efforts to promote integration. This includes dedicated funding and instruments addressing social and economic cohesion across Member States. In 2016, the Commission launched an Action Plan on the integration of third country nationals, which included fifty actions to promote integration. The von der Leyen Commission will put forward an Action Plan on integration and inclusion by the end of October 2020, whose content will be based on the results of both the consultation and the expert group. This topic is high on the agenda of the European Social and Economic Partners, that were called upon in the past months to start defining a strategy to renew their commitment in integrating refugees in the economic recovery phase from COVID-19.

The Statement that was published last 6 May 2020 following the meeting with Commissioner Johansson on the role of migrants in the way out of the pandemic will soon be followed by further joint actions in the field of economic migration, on which the EU social and economic partners expressed their mutual will to cooperate in the months to come. In this sense, a follow-up discussion amongst the EU economic and social partners and the European Commission on the renewal of the partnership for integration is foreseen for the 7 September 2020.

Should you wish to receive any information regarding CEEP activities in the field of migration and integration, or a general overview of the Commission’s initiative, do not hesitate to contact CEEP Project Manager Carlotta Astori.

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