Migration and Home Affairs

Integration

Migrants actively contribute to the economic, social and cultural development of European societies. Their successful integration into society in the host country is the key to maximising the opportunities of legal migration and making the most of the contributions that immigration can make to EU development. Although Member States are primarily responsible for integration, the EU is supporting national and local policies with policy coordination, exchange of knowledge and financial resources.

Action Plan on the Integration of Third-Country Nationals

The European Commission has adopted an Action Plan on the integration of third-country nationals on 7 June 2016. The Action Plan provides a comprehensive framework to support Member States' efforts in developing and strengthening their integration policies, and describes the concrete measures the Commission will implement in this regard. While it targets all third-country nationals in the EU, it contains actions to address the specific challenges faced by refugees.      

The Plan includes actions across all the policy areas that are crucial for integration:

  • Pre-departure and pre-arrival measures, including actions to prepare migrants and the local communities for the integration process
  • Education, including actions to promote language training, participation of migrant children to Early Childhood Education and Care, teacher training and civic education
  • Employment and vocational training, including actions to promote early integration into the labour market and migrants entrepreneurship
  • Access to basic services such as housing and healthcare
  • Active participation and social inclusion, including actions to support exchanges with the receiving society, migrants' participation to cultural life and fighting discrimination

It also presents tools to strengthen coordination between the different actors working on integration at national, regional and local level - for example through the European Integration Network promoting mutual learning between Member States - and a more strategic approach on EU funding for integration.

For more information, please consult the factsheet on the Action Plan on the integration of third country nationals.

For more information on the state of play of the implementation of the Action Plan please consult the European Website on Integration's page on Implementation of the 2016-2017 Integration Action Plan.

The development of EU work on integration

EU cooperation on the integration of non-EU nationals has developed since the Tampere Programme was adopted back in 1999. The Common Basic Principles for immigrant integration policy, agreed in 2004, provide a strong framework for policy-making in this area. They underline the importance of a holistic approach to integration and aim, inter alia, at assisting EU States in formulating integration policies. They also serve as a basis for EU States to explore how EU, national, regional, and local authorities can interact in the development and implementation of integration policies. Finally, they assist in evaluating EU-level mechanisms and policies with a view to supporting future integration policy developments.

The Commission’s 2005 Common Agenda for Integration has helped to implement the Common Basic Principles. EU policy here has been further framed by the 2009 Stockholm Programme and the Europe 2020 Strategy, where one of the headline targets is to raise the employment rate of 20 to 64-year olds in the EU to 75 %. One of the means by which to do this is by better integrating legal migrants.

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 agenda highlighted 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 explored the role of countries of origin in the integration process. A Commission Staff Working Paper (SEC(2011)957), annexed to the Communication, contains a list of EU initiatives supporting the integration of Third-Country Nationals.

In 2016, the Council adopted Council Conclusions on the integration of third-country nationals legally residing in the EU.

For more information on the EU's work on integration, see the European Website on Integration.