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EU: Council of Europe's Development Bank shares its experience on migrant integration

The Council of Europe’s Development Bank (CEB) summarised its experience on migrant integration in its 27 November 2015 Technical Study on the Integration of Migrants in Europe.

Over the period 1956-2015, the Bank approved projects in favour of refugees, migrants and displaced persons for a total of € 3 billion, representing 6% of all loans approved. Demand for ECB support on migrant integration has grown and continues to grow (e.g. 1 billion disbursed between 2000-2015). This figure covers both “emergency projects”, financed in the case of crisis situations (such as refugee sheltering and post-conflict assistance), and “integration projects”, aimed at the social inclusion of migrants and other vulnerable populations. This support was concentrated in new destination countries with many recent labour migrants in Southern Europe (62% of the total portfolio).

Drawing on data from the European Union and OECD, the report’s assessment on integration outcomes shows that employment, job quality and education attainment are interlinked areas where the foreign-born tend to have difficulties. The education of migrant children is an area of particular concern in almost all countries. Overcrowding, segregation and relative poverty are frequent social issues in densely populated areas. Health is reported to be an issue in most Central and Eastern European countries, where the foreign born are an ageing group. Across the EU, the overarching issue is the integration of third-country nationals. They face greater restrictions on mobility and normally have different reasons for migrating, implying the need for targeted measures.

The CEB can provide loans or grants for access to housing, education, healthcare, training and microcredit to promote the integration of legal residents. In the coming years, the CEB will continue to provide financing for integration projects through social investment projects, local infrastructure and partnerships with other international and European organisations.