The European Commission and OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) published on 18 April 2018 a report that identifies the main challenges to the integration of migrants and sets out concrete policy recommendations in response.
Gathering best practice examples from large European cities including Amsterdam, Athens, Berlin, Paris and Rome, the report highlights 12 key points (PDF) for local, regional and national policy-makers and practitioners to consider as they develop and implement local integration programmes. Recommendations focus on policy sectors such as health, labour, housing and education, and range from better matching migrant skills with the needs of local labour markets to creating shared spaces for communities to meet and bond.
Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said: "After the spike in refugee arrivals in Europe in the years 2015 and 2016 and our successful efforts to decrease new irregular arrivals, the time has come to shift our collective attention towards effectively integrating those who have received protection into our societies. It is in everyone's interest that those who have a right to remain are supported to integrate. This will benefit both societal cohesion and economic competitiveness."
Commissioner for Regional policy Corina Crețu commented: "Migration is largely a local and urban reality. This report is a real checklist for public action; it is meant to help local authorities smooth the path to successful migrant integration, with the support of cohesion policy funds. I expect cohesion policy to play an even greater role in this regard in the future."
OECD Deputy Secretary-General Mari Kiviniemi said: “Efforts to integrate migrants need to begin as soon as they arrive and continue over time. Local leaders know where the best opportunities are for newcomers, and they know how migrants can contribute, from filling gaps in the job market to creating a more diversified culture that benefits all residents. National governments need to work with local leaders from day one to ensure successful migrant integration.”
The report analyses the situation of migrants in OECD countries; where they settled, the effectiveness of their paths to integration and what challenges they faced, in accessing local labour markets, for example. It also proposes solutions that tackle fragmentation in national integration policies and that foster more coordination at all, national, regional and local levels. The report highlights the need for enhanced monitoring efforts and concludes that this is best achieved by engaging NGOs, business partners and migrants themselves via participatory assessments and surveys. Finally, the report describes how to better access financial resources, such as EU funds, for the development of integration programmes.
Over five million people migrated permanently to Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries in 2016. Although the integration of migrants remains primarily a national responsibility, in decades to come, it will be one of the main challenges we will have to address as a Union. European cities will play a crucial role in a making integration a success on the ground. According to a Eurobarometer survey published in April 2018, 69% of Europeans believe that integration measures are a necessary investment in the long-run and a similar proportion view integration as a two-way process for both migrants and host societies.
This report, commissioned by the European Commission, is part of a broader effort to support the social and professional inclusion of migrants in EU societies. Nine large European cities (Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona, Berlin, Glasgow, Gothenburg, Paris, Rome and Vienna) and the smaller town of Altena in Germany were studied by the OECD to assess how effectively they dealt with that challenge ‒ what was done, what worked and what could have been done better. The OECD also surveyed 61 other cities, as well as associations of cities such as Eurocities, and established a database on the characteristics of recent migration in OECD countries, at subnational level.
The European Commission's 2015 Communication on a European Agenda on Migration (PDF) highlighted migration policy will only succeed if underpinned by an effective integration policy. In the 2016 Action Plan on Integration the EU established measures to provide incentives and support for Member States in their efforts to promote integration of third country nationals. This includes dedicated funding and instruments that address social and economic cohesion across Member States. Recently the Commission presented a toolkit to help EU countries identify available EU resources and design strategies and projects to integrate migrants.