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Europe: Integration Action Plan of Third-Country Nationals launched


The EU Integration Action Plan of Third-Country Nationals has been adopted today 7 June 2016. The Plan provides a comprehensive framework to support Member States' efforts in developing and strengthening their migrant integration policies, and describes the concrete policy, operational and financial measures the Commission will implement. While it targets all third country nationals in the EU, it contains actions to address the specific challenges faced by refugees.

The Plan covers:

Pre-departure and pre-arrival measures - Actions to prepare migrants and the local communities for the integration process

The Commission will:

  • Launch projects supporting pre-departure and pre-arrival measures for local communities, including in the context of resettlement programmes with a focus on priority third countries.
  • Engage with Member States to strengthen cooperation with selected third-countries on pre-departure measures, including under La Valletta Action Plan

Education - Actions to promote language training, participation of migrant children to Early Childhood Education and Care, teacher training and civic education

The Commission will:

  • Provide online language assessment and learning for newly arrived third country nationals, especially refugees, through the Erasmus+ online linguistic support (100.000 licences for online language courses available to refugees for a period of three years).
  • Support peer learning events on key policy measures such as welcome classes, skills and language assessment, support for unaccompanied children, intercultural awareness, recognition of academic qualifications and integration into higher education.
  • Support the school community in promoting inclusive education and addressing specific needs of migrant learners through the COM online platform School Education Gateway.
  • Remove barriers to the participation of third country national girls and boys to early childhood education through the development of the European Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC), including assistance to ECEC staff to respond to the specific situation of families.
  • Support the upskilling of low-skilled and low-qualified persons in the context of the New Skills Agenda for Europe.

Employment and vocational training - Actions to promote early integration into the labour market and migrants entrepreneurship

The Commission will:

  • Develop an online repository of promising practices on integration into the labour market for refugees and, where there are good prospects of granting them protection, asylum seekers, as a source for policy makers in Member States.
  • Under the New Skills Agenda for Europe:
    • develop a "Skills and Qualifications Toolkit" to support timely identification of skills and qualifications for newly arrived third country nationals
    • ensure that better information about qualification recognition practices and decisions in different countries is collected through the Europass portal
    • improve the transparency and understanding of qualifications acquired in third countries, through the revision of the European Qualifications Framework.
  • Provide specific support for early recognition of academic qualifications of third country nationals including refugees, including through enhancing cooperation between National Academic Recognition Information Centres (NARIC) and training staff in reception facilities.
  • Launch projects (under the Asylum Migration and Integration Fund and under the EU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation) promoting labour market integration of refugees, 'fast track" insertion into labour market and vocational training and labour market integration of women.
  • Identify best practices to promote and support migrant entrepreneurship and fund pilot projects for their dissemination.

Access to basic services such as housing and healthcare

The Commission will:

  • Promote the use of EU funds for reception, education, housing, health and social infrastructures for third country nationals.
  • Strengthen cooperation with the European Investment Bank, to provide funding for temporary accommodation and health facilities for newly arrived third country nationals and social housing.
  • Promote peer learning exchanges between Member States and cities in the form of study visits, peer reviews and sharing of best practices on how to address housing challenges, including geographical isolation and ghettoisation.
  • Support best practices in care provision for vulnerable third country nationals and refugees, including women, children and older persons under the Health Programme.
  • Develop pilot training modules for health professionals on health for third country nationals and refugees, with a view to upgrade and strengthen the skills and capabilities of first line health professionals, and promote a holistic approach to health care of third country nationals and refugees.

Active participation and social inclusion - Actions to support exchanges with the receiving society, migrants' participation to cultural life and fighting discrimination

The Commission will:

  • Launch projects to promote intercultural dialogue, cultural diversity and European common values through culture, films and arts (Creative Europe).
  • Launch projects to promote social inclusion through youth and sport (Erasmus+).
  • Propose to give greater priority, within the European Voluntary Service, to activities dedicated to integration of refugees and asylum seekers into their new host communities.
  • Develop handbooks and toolboxes for practitioners on cultural awareness and expression; intercultural dialogue; active participation of third country nationals in political, social and cultural life and sports in the host societies; and the contribution of youth work.
  • Launch projects under different EU funds promoting: participation in political, social and cultural life and sports; social inclusion through education, training and youth; preventing and combating discrimination, gender-based violence, racism and xenophobia, including hate crime and hate speech, and fostering better understanding between communities, including religious communities.
  • Continue to work with the European Parliament and the Council towards the adoption of the anti-discrimination directive.

The plan also presents tools that will strengthen coordination between the different actors working on integration at national, regional and local level:

  • National Contact Points on Integration will be upgraded into a European Integration Network with a stronger coordination role and mutual learning mandate through targeted learning activities such as study visits, peer reviews, mutual assistance and peer learning workshops
  • The Network will promote cooperation with national authorities and local and regional authorities, civil society organisations and other EU level networks of Member States in connected policy areas (employment, education, equality, etc.)
  • New Partnership under the Urban Agenda for the EU focusing on the integration of third country nationals, where the Commission, Member States, cities and civil society representatives will develop together concrete actions. This work was reinforced by the launch of a political round-table between the Commission and European cities.
  • All EU funding instruments should be used to their maximum potential and in an integrated and strategically coordinated way thanks to Commission coordination 
  • New European Social Fund Transnational Cooperation Network on Migration brings together ESF Managing Authorities, social partners and other relevant actors to exchange experiences on how to best use ESF funding for integration 
  • Stronger EU financial support for integration under the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund in the 2017 draft budget

Read the press release

Read the Action Plan