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Racism and discrimination in the context of migration in Europe

Over one million people sought refuge in the EU in 2015, a fivefold increase from the year before. Several Member States made it clear that irregular and in particular Muslim migrants were not welcome. In its 2015-2016 Shadow Report on racism and discrimination against migrants, the European Network Against Racism (ENAR) highlights that african migrants in need of humanitarian protection, were framed as ‘economic’ or ‘illegal’ migrants without any political assessments of the push and pull factors. In this context, politicians and political and media commentators delivered anti-migrant statements and racist hate speech with impunity.

Support for far-right parties and groups in several countries is growing, setting the tone of the debate on immigration, particularly related to Muslim migrants. ENAR finds that this is resulting in anti-migrant discourses and policies being seen as acceptable across the political spectrum. With terrorist attacks in France and Belgium in 2015 and 2016, criminality and terrorism are increasingly racialised. The introduction of new border policies and counter-terrorism measures in some Member States led to ethnic profiling, discriminatory policing of migrants, as well as racist attacks against migrants, asylum seekers, refugees and their accommodation in EU Member States, the report shows.

In addition, integration approaches have been reported in some Member States as assimilation processes where newcomers must adapt to ‘our values’, and contribute to the host countries economy. However prioritising labour market integration can become problematic if the responsibility to be employed falls solely on the migrant, as a number of barriers – discrimination, labour market restrictions linked to migration status, lack of recognition of qualifications, language – need to be addressed. In the absence of integration plans against racial discrimination in employment, inclusion and progression in the labour market remain difficult for racialised migrants.

The report is based on national questionnaire responses from 26 EU Member States (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Slovenia, Sweden and United Kingdom).

Authors:
Ojeaku Nwabuzo and Lisa Schaeder
Posted by:
Country Coordinator Belgium