The ups and downs of history, the search for a better future and the development of globalisation have led many Europeans to settle outside their countries of origin. All Council of Europe member States therefore have communities living abroad, which may be the result of older migration or more recent population movements. At the same time, the member States are home to communities from other European or more distant countries.
The communities living abroad are an asset for Europe, the host countries and the countries of origins. They make for valuable economic and human contacts and form vital bridges between Europe’s cultures and between them and the rest of the world. While communities living abroad rarely enjoy political representation, they are often organised in powerful voluntary associations which are particularly active in the field of education and culture. These offer a social framework through which migrants can find ways of integrating in their countries of residence, while retaining ties with their countries of origin.
The Parliamentary Assembly should consider the practical measures which could be taken at national and/or European level to support these voluntary educational and cultural networks and draw more effectively on their contribution to intercultural dialogue and social harmony.