17 December 2019 / 125

EU Highlights

New European Commission takes office

The European Parliament has approved the new European Commission. Find out more about the Commissioners who will be responsible for migration and integration for the next five years.

Integration practices from the European Committee of the Regions

Local and regional authorities can make a big impact on migrant integration. See 31 integration practices collected by the Committee of the Regions that show how communities are helping newcomers get settled.

Upcoming Events

OECD High-Level Policy Forum: Building a Whole-of-Society Approach to Emerging Migration and Integration Challenges

16/01/2020 09:30
(OECD Conference Centre, 2 rue André-Pascal, 75016 Paris, France)
The OECD High-Level Policy Forum on Building a Whole-of-Society Approach to Emerging Migration and Integration Challenges will take place in Paris at OECD headquarters on 16 January 2020 . It will precede a ministerial conference on migration and integration on 17 January 2020. The High-Level…
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Latest News

'He can never be completely Italian' – Debating racism and citizenship in Italy

Even if footballer Mario Balotelli ‘has Italian citizenship, he can never be completely Italian’, said Luca Castellini, one of the leaders of the hardcore fans of football team Hellas Verona, when asked about racist chants during Balotelli’s last game at Verona. During the match, Balotelli, an Italian born to Ghanaian parents, was a target of monkey chants and threatened to leave the pitch.

That was not the first time that the Italian striker suffered racist abuse, and it was not the first example of racism occurring in an Italian stadium. But this time, it triggered a huge debate. A 2015 article by Mark Doidge helps to explain what happened, racism in football, rivalry between Italian football clubs and fans’ attempts to intimidate Balotelli.

Doidge points out that Balotelli attracts fans’ abuse when playing for Italian teams but not when he plays for other European clubs. In the other countries, he was simply one of the international professional players who move between clubs. But in his country of origin, this gifted player has unintentionally become a symbol for a new, multi-ethnic Italy that clashes with some fan-groups’ conception of nationality.

Since the beginning of the 21st century, there have been several attempts to reform Italy’s ius sanguinis model for citizenship, but without results. Several campaigns have pushed for change, emphasising that children born in Italy to foreign parents speak the same dialects as their peers without migrant backgrounds, master Italian cultural codes and experience their entire socialisation process in Italy.

The second generation has become highly active in lobbying for change. In 2016, the National Coordination of the New Italian Generations was established, and in 2019 it launched a Manifesto signed by associations of young people with a migrant background. As the Manifesto explains, these young people ‘end up being migrants in spite of themselves’. They do not have their parents’ language and cultural barriers, yet the reform of the citizenship law has been in and out of the Italian public agenda, without any results, leaving many without the same ability to participate in society as their native-born peers. 

On 3 October 2019, the Committee of Institutional Affairs of Italian Chamber of Deputies started the analysis of three new proposals, but it remains to be seen if anything will change this time, especially in the presence of an uncertain government coalition.

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Not there yet – Issues to be resolved before Brussels makes integration programme mandatory

The former Brussels government had announced that integration programmes would become mandatory for immigrants beginning 1 January 2020. But the new government has called this deadline unrealistic, and the requirement will not take effect on that date.

The January 1st deadline set by the former government is ‘absolutely not realistic,’ according to Alain Maron, the new minister in charge of this portfolio. Local administrations (there are 19 of them in Brussels) do not seem ready to implement the mandatory programmes, and a lot of practical issues still need to be resolved, especially concerning payment.

Integration programmes are already mandatory in Wallonia and Flanders, the latter being the first region to implement them. Find out more about integration policies in each region

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'Integration through your lens' contest photos, part I

What does integration look like at the local and regional levels? The photo contest ‘Integration through your lens’ provides curious glimpses into integration projects and initiatives carried out across the EU. EWSI has published the winning photos and honourable mentions. All photos were exhibited during the Go local: Supporting regions, cities and rural areas in migrants’ inclusion conference, organised by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs, and the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) on 3 December 2019 in Brussels.


Winning photo: ‘Bushrah Alkhalaf with her family’

Credit: Leah Bentham, Cork Kerry Refugee Resettlement

Bushrah Alkhalaf, with her family, after winning a race at Cork City Sports in May 2019. The family came to Ireland from Syria in January 2019. Bushrah started school soon after and got involved in athletics.


‘Al Badri's wife Abed and his daughters’

Credit: Development Agency of Karditsa (AN.KA.) s.a.