16 April 2010
The ministerial conference on integration in Zaragoza, Spain is coming to an end. During the conference, European Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström presented a "Handbook" that finalises the 2005 Common Agenda for Integration. In her speech, Commissioner Malmström underlined that it is now time to develop a new strategy for the coming years.
"The current economic and financial crisis has placed immigration and integration among the highest of European priorities. With almost 23 million people unemployed in the European Union, it is easy to consider that migrants from outside the EU are no longer needed. However, this conclusion is wrong. We are facing demographic challenges that will remain far beyond the economic crisis. A less open Europe would simply make our social model unsustainable. With an ageing society, the contribution of migrants is critical", she said.
The work of the Zaragoza conference encompassed several issues, such as the developing of human capital through employment and education, the social cohesion in neighbourhoods and areas with a high rate of immigrant population, the role of civil society in the mutual adaptation process that the integration of immigrants entails, and the general evaluation of integration policies.