The Parliamentary Assembly has expressed deep concern over the populist discourse “inducing fear and resentment towards people arriving from other countries”.
In the adopted resolution, addressing the issue, based on a report by Domagoj Hajduković (Croatia, SOC), the Assembly emphasised the importance of improving integration efforts to promote inclusivity and social cohesion.
The resolution sets out sixteen approaches that Council of Europe member states can take to integrate migrants and refugees and encourage “a sense of togetherness”. The parliamentarians have, particularly, underlined that integration was a “dynamic process of mutual adaptation where both migrants and host societies bear some responsibility” for success.
The Assembly suggested that European governments should invite migrants and refugees to accept a “new social contract” which sets out their rights and responsibilities, offer them mentor programs and integration guides when they first arrive in a host country, create spaces where migrants and refugees can be brought together with local communities; and aim for a “fair and balanced” distribution of the migrant population across a national territory to avoid ghettoes.
Furthermore, the parliamentarians have proposed to give access to interpretation and mentoring for migrants and refugees, as well as language training and programs that promote democratic citizenship and human rights education, and provide them with targeted assistance like housing, access to health care and schooling.
Finally, 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 concluded.