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Malmström argues for better integration of migrants

20 July 2011

There are over 20 million people from outside the EU living in the Member States. They represent four percent of the total EU population. Today the European Commission adopted a European Agenda for Integration that highlights the need for better integration in the EU.

"The benefits of migration can only be fully achieved if we have good and effective integration. Unfortunately, many integration measures have failed in meeting their objectives. We must do more to get newly arrived people to get the possibility to learn the language of their new country, to get a job and to go to school. The Commission cannot and will not integrate migrants, but we can assist Member States – and in particular the local level – with funding and platforms for sharing of knowledge and experience of what works. This is important for the people coming here, but also for the European economy and welfare, as the demographic challenges ahead mean that we will soon be dependent on labour migration in order to sustain our way of living", says EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström.

It is clear that diversity brought by migration can be a competitive advantage for the European economies. For example, a study by Obra Social La Caixa highlights that 30 percent of Spain's GDP growth in the last 15 years has been due to migrants settling in the country. And a report from Caritas Italy from 2010 shows that migrants represent an increasing workforce for the Italian economy, as they account for 11,1 percent of the GDP.

Read more on the Agenda for Integration in the press release and the memo sent out today. Read also the Communication in full, together with the accompanying Commission Staff Working Paper, where you can find examples of successful integration projects and useful statistics, on the website of the DG for Home Affairs. There you can also read the Eurobarometer on integration which was published today.