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EU actions to make integration work

Common Basic Principles

The Common Basic Principles for Immigrant Integration Policy in the EU were adopted by the Justice and Home Affairs Council in November 2004 and form the foundations of EU initiatives in the field of integration.

  • CBP 1 ‘Integration is a dynamic, two-way process of mutual accommodation by all immigrants and residents of Member States’
  • CBP 2 ‘Integration implies respect for the basic values of the European Union’
  • CBP 3 ‘Employment is a key part of the integration process and is central to the participation of immigrants, to the contributions immigrants make to the host society, and to making such contributions visible’
  • CBP 4 ‘Basic knowledge of the host society’s language, history, and institutions is indispensable to integration; enabling immigrants to acquire this basic knowledge is essential to successful integration’
  • CBP 5 ‘Efforts in education are critical to preparing immigrants, and particularly their descendants, to be more successful and more active participants in society’
  • CBP 6 ‘Access for immigrants to institutions, as well as to public and private goods and services, on a basis equal to national citizens and in a non-discriminatory way is a critical foundation for better integration’
  • CBP 7 ‘Frequent interaction between immigrants and Member State citizens is a fundamental mechanism for integration.  Shared forums, intercultural dialogue, education about immigrants and immigrant cultures, and stimulating living conditions in urban environments enhance the interactions between immigrants and Member State citizens’
  • CBP 8 ‘The practice of diverse cultures and religions is guaranteed under the Charter of Fundamental Rights and must  be safeguarded, unless practices conflict with other inviolable European rights or with national law’
  • CBP 9 ‘The participation of immigrants in the democratic process and in the formulation of integration policies and measures, especially at the local level, supports their integration’
  • CBP 10 ‘Mainstreaming integration policies and measures in all relevant policy portfolios and levels of government and public services is an important consideration in public policy formation and implementation.’
  • CBP 11 ‘Developing clear goals, indicators and evaluation mechanisms are necessary to adjust policy, evaluate progress on integration and to make the exchange of information more effective.’

The Common Agenda for Integration (2005-2010)

The Common Agenda for Integration was presented by the Commission in 2005. It provides a framework for the implementation of the Common Basic Principles. In addition, the Common Agenda makes plans for a series of supportive EU mechanisms and instruments to promote integration and facilitate exchange between integration actors, such as the European Web Site on Integration and the European Integration Forum.

A report on the completion of the EU framework on integration  was prepared by the Commission on the occasion of the fourth Ministerial Conference in Zaragoza in April 2010.

The European Agenda for Integration (2011)

In July 2011, the Commission proposed a European Agenda for the Integration of Non-EU Migrants, focusing on action to increase economic, social, cultural and political participation by migrants and putting the emphasis on local action. This new agenda highlights challenges that need to be solved if the EU is to benefit fully from the potential offered by migration and the value of diversity. It also explores the role of countries of origin in the integration process.
As part of this agenda, the Commission is putting together a flexible ‘tool-box, from which national authorities will be able to pick the measures most likely to prove effective in their specific context, and for their particular integration objectives. There are plans to develop modules offering an established, but at the same time flexible, point of reference to support integration policies in EU States. Common indicators have also been identified for monitoring the results of integration policies.


The European Agenda is accompanied by a document that details EU initiatives supporting the integration of third-country nationals.

EU instruments to promote integration

Ministerial Conferences

Ministerial Conferences are designed to facilitate a continuous political debate on integration at ministerial level.

The first Ministerial Conference on Integration took place in Groningen in 2004, under the Dutch Presidency. Following the Conference, conclusions were adopted by the Justice and Home Affairs Council in November 2004, including the Common Basic Principles

The second Ministerial Conference on Integration was held in Potsdam in 2007, under the auspices of the German Presidency. The Conference’s conclusions were adopted by the Justice and Home Affairs Council in June 2007.

The third Ministerial Conference on Integration was organised by the French Presidency in Vichy in 2008. The Conference’s conclusions were adopted by the Justice and Home Affairs Council in November 2008.

The fourth Ministerial Conference on Integration took place in Zaragoza in 2010, under the Spanish Presidency. The Conference’s conclusions were adopted by the Justice and Home Affairs Council in June 2010.

National Contact Points on Integration

The network of National Contact Points on Integration was set up by the Commission as a follow-up to the Justice and Home Affairs Council conclusions of October 2002.

The main objective of the network is to create a forum for the exchange of information and good practice between Member States at EU level, with the purpose of finding successful solutions for integration of immigrants in all Member States and to ensure policy co-ordination and coherence at national level and with EU initiatives.

European Fund for the Integration of third-Country Nationals

A European Fund for the Integration of third-country nationals was set up in 2007. The general objective of the Fund is to support the efforts of Member States to enable third-country nationals to fulfil the conditions of residence and to facilitate their integration into European societies, in accordance with the Common Basic Principles for immigrant integration policy in the European Union.

The Fund is targeted primarily to newly-arrived third-country nationals for actions supporting their integration.

The Fund has a total budget of EUR 825 million for the period 2007-2013, and works both at Member States' level and at EU level ("Community actions").

At Member State level, each country has developed its own multi-annual programming strategy for the period 2007-13 on the use of the resources they receive each year. The strategy constitutes the framework for the implementation of actions through annual programmes.

At EU level, the Commission adopts an annual work programme and invites bids for calls for proposals and/or tenders for transnational actions in the interest of the Union. 7% of the total annual resources each year can be earmarked for Community actions.

In November 2011, the Commission presented a proposal regarding funding EU policies in the home affairs area (including integration) beyond 2013.

European Integration Forum

The European Integration Forum provides an opportunity for civil society organisations to express their views on migrant integration issues and to discuss the EU agenda on integration.

The Forum counts about 100 participants from all Member States and meets twice a year. The development of the European Integration Forum is undertaken by the Commission in co-operation with the European Economic and Social Committee.

The Forum’s work is available on the European Web Site on Integration. Click here to learn more about the Forum’s work.

European Web Site on Integration

The European Web Site on Integration is a unique one-stop resource point for practitioners working on integration issues, both in non-governmental and governmental organisations. More specifically, it offers:

The Web Site acts as the focal point of the community of integration actors. In so-doing, it is the virtual counterpart to the European Integration Forum.

Handbooks on Integration

The main objective of the Handbook is to act as a driver for the exchange of information and good practice between integration stakeholders in all Member States.

The first edition of the Handbook, published in 2004, covered introduction courses for newly arrived immigrants and recognised refugees, civic participation and integration indicators.

The second edition, released in 2007, focused on integration mainstreaming and governance, housing and economic participation.

The third edition, published in 2010, covers the following topics: the role of mass media in integration, the importance of awareness-raising and migrant empowerment, dialogue platforms, acquisition of nationality and practice of active citizenship, immigrant youth, education and the labour market.

European Integration Modules

European Integration Modules are designed to become established but flexible reference frameworks that can be adapted to the different contexts of Member States in order to contribute to successful integration policies and practices across Europe.

Different modules will focus on different aspects of the integration process following the Common Basic Principles.

The Final Report on the European Integration Modules has been prepared by the Commission, in dialogue with representatives of Member State governments and civil society organisations in the areas of 1) introductory courses and language classes; 2) a strong commitment by the receiving society; and 3) the active participation of migrants in all aspects of collective life.


As a follow-up to the conclusions of the fourth Ministerial Conference on Integration, the Commission started developing a pilot project with Eurostat and the Member States for monitoring results of integration policies, including development of a set of common core indicators aimed to enhance comparability and reinforce the European learning process. Eurostat has published a pilot study on the data required to calculate the indicators, available here. The report on the analysis of the indicators was presented in spring 2013. 

The indicators are the following:


Policy area



·         employment rate

·         unemployment rate

·         activity rate


·         highest educational attainment (share of population with tertiary, secondary and primary or less than primary education)

·         share of low-achieving 15-year-olds in reading, mathematics and science

·         share of 30–34-year-olds with tertiary educational attainment

·         share of early leavers from education and training

Social Inclusion

·         median net income – the median net income of the immigrant population as a proportion of the median net income of the total population

·         at risk of poverty rate – share of population with net disposable income of less than 60 per cent of national median

·         the share of population perceiving their health status as good or poor

·         ratio of property owners to non-property owners among immigrants and the total population

Active Citizenship

·         the share of immigrants that have acquired citizenship

·         the share of immigrants holding permanent or longterm residence 


·         the share of immigrants among elected representatives


The indicators could serve as a basis for systematic monitoring at EU level and contribute to enhanced coordination of integration policies.

Integration in other EU institutions

Council of the European Union

The Council of the European Union is responsible for decision-making and co-ordination. It passes laws, usually legislating jointly with the European Parliament and on basis of proposals put forward by the European Commission.

The Council is a single body, but for reasons relating to the organisation of its work, it meets in different "configurations" according to the subject being discussed. Meetings are attended by the national Ministers responsible for the subject concerned.

The Justice and Home Affairs Council brings together the justice and home affairs ministers approximately every month to discuss the development and implementation of cooperation and common policies in this sector.

The Presidency of the Council of the European Union may also decide to organise Ministerial Conferences on integration which are designed to facilitate a continuous political debate on integration at ministerial level.

European Parliament

The European Parliament is the assembly of the directly elected representatives of the 500 million Union citizens. It shares legislative powers with the Council of the European Union.

In order to do the preparatory work for Parliament’s plenary sittings, Members of the European Parliament are divided up among a number of specialised standing committees. The committees draw up, amend and adopt legislative proposals and own-initiative reports. They consider Commission and Council proposals and, where necessary, draw up reports to be presented to the plenary assembly.

The Standing Committee for Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (known as the ‘LIBE’ Committee) is the main responsible for matters relating to immigrant integration. The
Standing Committee for Employment and Social Affairs is also involved in many discussions on this topic.

Committee of the Regions

The Committee of the Regions is the political assembly that provides the regional and local levels with a voice in EU policy development and EU legislation. It is an EU consultative body. Consultation of the Committee of the Regions by the Commission or the Council is mandatory in certain cases; in others it is optional.

The Committee organises its work through six specialist Commissions, made up of Committee members, who examine the detail of proposals on which the Committee is consulted and draw up a draft opinion. The draft opinion is then sent for approval to one of the five plenary sessions which take place each year.

The Commission for Citizenship, Governance, Institutional Affairs and External Relations (known as the ‘CIVEX’ Commission) is responsible for matters relating to immigrant integration.

The Committee’s relevant work is available through the European Web Site on Integration.

European Economic and Social Committee

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is a consultative body that gives representatives of Europe's socio-occupational interest groups, and others, a formal platform to express their points of views on EU issues. Its opinions are forwarded to the larger institutions - the Council, the Commission and the European Parliament. Similarly to the Committee of the Regions, consultation of the EESC by the Commission or the Council is mandatory in certain cases; in others it is optional. The EESC may, however, also adopt opinions on its own initiative.

The Committee organises its work through six specialists Sections. The Social Affairs section is responsible for matters relating to immigrant integration.

The European Economic and Social Committee co-hosts the European Integration Forum  together with the Commission.

The Committee’s relevant work is available through the European Web Site on Integration.

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Making integration work

The successful integration of third-country nationals legally residing in the Member States of the European Union is vital to strengthening freedom, security and justice in Europe.

The European Web Site on Integration provides you with a collection of good practices and a wide variety of tools and useful information to make integration work.


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