Handbook on Integration for policy-makers and practitioners (1st edition - 2004)
[30/11/2004] [EU-wide] [Policy paper] [Multilingual]
Posted by : Portal Initial, EWSI
Authors : European Commission
The idea of developing a handbook on integration emanates from the Thessaloniki European Council in June 2003, where Heads of State and Government stressed the importance of developing cooperation and exchange of information within the newly established group of National Contact Points on Integration. With a view to structuring this exchange of information and to obtaining some concrete results on which Member States could draw when developing and promoting policy initiatives for more successful integration, it was decided to compile a handbook on integration. The main objective of this handbook is therefore to act as a driver for the exchange of information and best practices between Member States.
This handbook has been prepared for the European Commission by an independent consultant, the Migration Policy Group, and has been developed in close cooperation with the National Contact Points on Integration. It is based on the outcomes of a series of technical seminars held in Copenhagen (February 2004), Lisbon (April 2004) and London (June 2004). These seminars, organised by the ministries responsible for integration of these countries, with the support of the European Commission and facilitated by the Migration Policy Group, brought together governmental and nongovernmental policy-makers and practitioners to exchange information and best practices on three issues: introduction programmes, participation in civic and political life and the development of indicators. The three chapters of the handbook reflect the structure of the seminars, each of which concentrated on one of these topics. In the preparation of each seminar, and with a view to framing the discussions, a series of issue papers was developed by the Migration Policy Group, which also drafted the concluding documents for the seminars. These were subsequently discussed within the group of National Contact Points on Integration. Both during the seminars and in the process of compiling the handbook the National Contact Points on Integration have contributed with examples of good practices and promising initiatives on integration from their respective countries. Together, all these elements have constituted the essential building blocks for this handbook on integration.
This handbook is for policy-makers and practitioners. Who are they and what do they have in common that can make this handbook useful for both? Generally speaking policy-makers formulate overall integration goals, make resources available, monitor implementation and evaluate outcomes. Practitioners translate integration goals into concrete programmes, set targets and undertake activities to reach them. Clearly, it is beyond the scope of this handbook to deal with the formation of overall integration policies. Neither can a European handbook go into too much detail describing concrete programme activities. Therefore, this handbook depicts best practices and offers lessons drawn from practices in Member States on two kinds of integration programmes, namely introduction courses for newly arrived immigrants and recognised refugees (Chapter 1) and civic participation (Chapter 2). In order to be better able to track the success of integration programmes and to measure their results both policy-makers and practitioners can develop integration indicators and benchmarks. Their use in public policy and integration programmes is explored in Chapter 3.
On the basis of these chapters a scheme is proposed for the translation of integration goals into integration programmes (Annex). The scheme can help policy-makers and practitioners to clarify the goals of integration programmes, to report on their implementation and to measure achievements. In this way the exchange of good practices will be facilitated and becomes more fruitful. Throughout the three chapters best practices are briefly described. Where a particular country is mentioned in relation to a specific activity, this does not preclude the practice also existing in other countries. The lessons learned from the practices are highlighted throughout the text and are also reproduced as conclusions at the end of each Chapter.
It is important to underline that the lessons learned and recommendations in this handbook should only be taken for what they are: suggestions to policy makers and practitioners and a catalogue of inspiring ideas. It should be underlined that the development of this handbook is intended to be an on-going process, a living instrument which will not only be developed over time on a step by step basis, but up-dated according to progress, new developments, solutions and results. A second edition with new chapters is therefore planned for 2006. The three topics chosen for this first edition of the handbook reflect the priorities identified in the Communication on Immigration, integration and employment, but the handbook will over time cover all policy fields related to integration, including housing, healthcare and labour market aspects.