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Sixteen ways to integrate migrants and refugees to the benefit of all

boat / migrants / saving / lives

PACE’s Migration Committee has set out sixteen approaches that Council of Europe member states can take to integrate migrants and refugees in a way which encourages “a sense of togetherness” and minimises fear and resentment towards people arriving from other countries.

In a draft resolution based on a report by Domagoj Hajduković (Croatia, SOC), adopted by a large majority, the parliamentarians said integration was a “dynamic process of mutual adaptation where both migrants and host societies bear some responsibility” for success. They suggested, among other things, that European governments:

− invite migrants and refugees to accept a “new social contract” which sets out their rights and responsibilities;

− offer them the help of mentors and guides when they first arrive in a host country;

− create spaces where migrants and refugees can be brought together with local communities;

− aim for a “fair and balanced” distribution of the migrant population across a national territory to avoid ghettoes.

Drawing on positive examples of integration from Norway, Sweden and Finland, the committee also proposed access to interpretation for migrants and refugees, as well as language and citizenship training, actively matching their skills with job opportunities, and targeted assistance with housing, access to health care and schooling. Vulnerable groups should be offered specific extra support.

Meanwhile, communication with the public on migration should be “fair and fact-based”, addressing both its benefits and challenges, while avoiding “stigmatising, xenophobic, racist, alarmist or inaccurate” reporting, the parliamentarians said.

The report is due to be debated by the full Assembly during its spring plenary session in June.