The fact that Europe is home to an estimated 60 million migrants today carries profound demographic, economic, social, and political implications for both sending and receiving societies. A successful integration of migrants is critical for the long-term prosperity of the region in the light of aging native-born populations and lower birth rates. This makes integration one of the most important challenges that Europe has to address.
Recent high-level political statements and the increasingly anti-immigrant discourse of ultra-nationalist political groups in many parts of Europe have sparked a heated debate about the role of immigrants and their obligation of respect towards and adaptation to local values and habits. In the wake of this debate, many member states are introducing stricter integration requirements for granting admission rights, long-term residence or citizenship to foreigners, and this trend is echoed in recent European Union rules and jurisprudence.
The undersigned believe that that the key to successful integration lies in mutual responsibility and benefits, multi-sector involvement and multi-strategy approach.
The Parliamentary Assembly should contribute to the current debate by raising crucial issues: is Europe indeed failing in its integration policies? How can migrant communities be most effectively lifted out the current welfare traps, the education failures, high crime rates and cultural gulfs that now beset them? What are the respective obligations and responsibilities of the native and migrant communities towards building secure, vibrant, and cohesive societies? And how to reach fair and humane immigration policies that promote social, economic, civic and political inclusion for the benefit of everyone?