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Declaration of the European Ministerial Conference on Integration (Zaragoza, 15 & 16 April 2010)

On the basis of the principles stated in this declaration, Ministers agree:

1. To further develop the core idea of integration as a driver for development and social cohesion. In order to do this, it is essential to continue developing a policy in the short and long term which should include a comprehensive and transversal approach to integration.

2. To stress the need to develop a new agenda on integration, including a coordination mechanism as proposed in the Stockholm Programme which would improve structures and tools for European knowledge exchange and facilitate mainstreaming of integration priorities in all relevant areas.

3. To incorporate integration issues in all the relevant policy areas, ensuring dialogue, institutional coordination and mainstreaming and the involvement of the different levels of administration (European, national, regional and local level) in the process of integration. Further to this, cooperation and synergies at EU level between Ministers in charge of relevant policy areas should be encouraged, taking into account the specific institutional and operational context of each Member State.

4. To reiterate the importance of the National Contact Points on Integration in promoting the integration of immigrants at both European Union and Member State level and to strengthen their role in the development of structures and tools, in promoting an open exchange of ideas with regard to all integration challenges with which Member States are confronted, and in coordinating with other relevant policy areas.

5. To welcome the opportunities created by the Treaty of Lisbon to further develop European cooperation on integration, with the full involvement of the European Parliament.

6. To welcome the Commission's Report to the Ministerial Conference, 'The Consolidation of the EU framework on integration' as an important contribution to the debate.

7. To welcome the third edition of the Handbook on Integration for Policymakers and Practitioners as a contribution to developing good practices in key integration areas, such as mass media, awareness raising and migrant empowerment, dialogue platforms, citizenship, youth, education and the labour market and to build on this successful learning process, and to make full use of the information available on the European Website on Integration in developing future integration initiatives, and to actively contribute to the exchange of information and learning experiences.

8. To underline the importance to analyse the results achieved in the context of the development of the European Fund for the Integration of third-country nationals.

9. To view cultural diversity as an opportunity for social and economic development in Europe and as a tool for fighting discriminations, and to adopt a comprehensive approach involving various key stakeholders in order to encourage diversity management and the exchange of experiences as well as entrepreneurial actions.

10. To develop the concept of “human capital” by ensuring a cross-sectorial approach covering inter alia education, employment and life-long learning programmes. This approach would help monitor the impact of national reform programmes, guaranteeing access to quality education, including language learning, promoting the gender perspective, finding new ways to recognise qualifications, training or professional skills and work experience of the immigrants, and promoting equity in the labour market in order to avoid segmentation.

11. To stress the importance of developing common European modules that can be used when establishing national or local integration policies, including essential elements such as introductory courses and language classes, a strong commitment by the host community and the active participation of immigrants in all aspects of collective life.

12. To recognize the positive aspects of migration, especially in the context of the economic and financial downturn within Europe, and to continue to promote methods that help to fight racism and xenophobia and all forms of discrimination in our societies. Clear evidence, facts and innovative experiences of creativity, solidarity and attitudes towards living together need to be emphasised in order to meet the challenges related to migration.

13. To involve civil society, by recognising its active role within the two-way process of mutual interaction by all immigrants and citizens of the Member States. The establishment of networks, and of dialogue and exchange involving civil society organisations should be promoted, taking note of the work of the European Integration Forum, which in November 2009 discussed 'Common EU priorities for a cross-cutting integration policy' touching upon, in particular, education and employment. This platform should continue to be involved in providing input for future initiatives in the field of integration at the EU level.

14. To strengthen local initiatives and civic participation investing in districts with a high immigrant concentration in order to create a sense of belonging as it is vital that immigrants participate in all aspects of social, economic, and cultural life.

15. To promote the launching of a pilot project with a view to the evaluation of integration policies, including examining the indicators proposed in the Annex to this document and analysing the significance of the defined indicators taking into account the national contexts, the background of diverse migrant populations and different migration and integration policies of the Member States, and reporting on the availability and quality of the data from agreed harmonised sources necessary for the calculation of these indicators. It is also important to promote evaluation mechanisms at local and regional level.

Attached file(s)
Authors:
Council of the European Union
Posted by:
Katy Kefferputz (Migration Policy Group)