Communication: Action plan on the integration of third country nationals

Author (Corporate)
Series Title
Series Details (2016) 377 final (7.6.16)
Publication Date 07/06/2016
Content Type ,

European societies are, and will continue to become, increasingly diverse. Today, there are 20 million non-EU nationals residing in the EU who make up 4% of its total population. Human mobility, in varying degrees and for a variety of different reasons, will be an inherent feature of the 21st century for Europe as well as globally, meaning the EU not only needs to step up gear when it comes to managing migration flows, but also when it comes to its integration policies for third-country nationals.

The EU has been supporting Member States in their integration policies for several years already. In 2014 the Justice and Home Affairs Council reaffirmed the EU Common Basic Principles for Immigrant Integration Policy adopted in 2004, which set out a common approach to the integration of third country nationals across the EU. In 2011, the European Commission set out a European Agenda for the integration of third-country nationals, calling for a strengthened and coherent approach to integration, across different policy areas and government levels. During those years, many Member States developed their own integration policies depending on their national contexts, and the EU played an important role in supporting some of these actions.

However, notwithstanding the efforts made, third-country nationals across the EU continue to fare worse than EU citizens in terms of employment, education, and social inclusion outcomes. At the same time, recent measures taken to improve the management of the large numbers of persons in need of protection which the EU currently faces, including measures on relocation and resettlement, have highlighted the need for those Member States with less experience with integration to develop effective integration strategies.

Ensuring that all those who are rightfully and legitimately in the EU, regardless of the length of their stay, can participate and contribute is key to the future well-being, prosperity and cohesion of European societies. In times when discrimination, prejudice, racism and xenophobia are rising, there are legal, moral and economic imperatives to upholding the EU's fundamental rights, values and freedoms and continuing to work for a more cohesive society overall. The successful integration of third-country nationals is a matter of common interest to all Member States.

Investing resources and energy in integration policies today will contribute to making Europe a more prosperous, cohesive, and inclusive society in the long run. The European Agenda on Migration emphasised the need for effective integration policies for third country nationals. In the light of the current migratory challenges, and as announced in the Communication of 6 April 2016, the moment has now come to revisit and strengthen the common approach across policy areas and involving all relevant actors – including the EU, Member States, regional and local authorities as well as social partners and civil society organisations.

Whilst the competence on integration lies primarily with the Member States, the EU may establish measures to provide incentives and support for Member States in promoting integration of third country nationals residing legally in their territories and has an important role in supporting, stimulating and coordinating Member States' actions and policies in this area. In the current context, many EU Member States are facing similar challenges, and the EU level can add value through the structural support it provides. This Action Plan provides a common policy framework which should help Member States as they further develop and strengthen their national integration policies for migrants from third countries, and describes the policy, operational and financial support which the Commission will deliver to support them in their efforts.

See also:
- Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of highly skilled employment

Source Link
Related Link(s)
ESO: Background information: Delivering the European Agenda on Migration: Commission presents Action Plan on Integration and reforms 'Blue Card' scheme for highly skilled workers from outside the EU
ESO: Information Guide: European Migration Challenges

Subject Categories
Countries / Regions