Immigration has a valuable role to play in strengthening the EU’s competitiveness, addressing current and future demographic challenges and filling labour shortages. The key to maximising the benefits of immigration is the successful integration of migrants into their host societies. To this end, the European Fund for the Integration of third-country nationals seeks to promote European cooperation, with the objective of granting comparable rights, responsibilities and opportunities for all.
With a budget of EUR 825 million for the period 2007-13 (EUR 57 million for Community actions), the EIF supports national and EU initiatives that facilitate the integration of non-EU immigrants into European societies. All EU countries except for Denmark participate in the EIF. The EIF is primarily targeted at newly arrived immigrants. It supports EU countries and civil society in enhancing their capacity to develop, implement, monitor and evaluate integration strategies, policies and measures, as well as their exchanges of information and best practices and cooperation on integration issues.
Concretely, such initiatives include programmes for improving diversity management in neighbourhoods, intercultural training and dialogue, the promotion of courses for better understanding the integration processes, platforms and tools for comparative learning, measures for sharing information and best practices among European integration practitioners (e.g. online discussion forums, conferences, etc.) and activities in the hosting EU State and in the immigrant's country of origin on introduction to the host society.
The EIF is complementary to the European Social Fund (ESF) for actions related to the participation of migrants in employment.
National Programmes: the Fund is mainly implemented by EU countries through shared management. This means that each EU State implements the Fund through national annual programmes on the basis of multiannual programming.
Community Actions: at the Commission's initiative, 7% of the EIF's available resources may be used to finance transnational actions or actions of interest to the EU as a whole.