A large number of immigrants are facing great challenges on the labour and housing market, and in the schools of our Member States. It is partly pure discrimination, which is forbidden by law, but in the wake of the crisis, many people with different ethnic backgrounds have been hit especially hard. However, there are large differences between the countries. We can also see that immigrants from the same country of origin, and with a similar social background have succeeded better in certain countries than in others. Some welfare systems and education systems seem to protect immigrants better from poverty and exclusion in the schools.
The local and regional authorities are at the front line of the integration process. Integration takes place in the local community, and the different conditions and obstacles to integration cannot be dealt with through legislation. The Commission has therefore developed an interactive map, which shows examples of good practice by and for local and regional authorities, to further strengthen the local dimension of the integration policy framework. We launched it today at the European Integration Forum, a conference taking place twice yearly with different themes, gathering local actors working with integration all around the EU to discuss and exchange experiences. The theme of this conference is integration of migrant youth.
The EU does not (and should not) have the competence to legislate in the area of integration, but since migration and integration are closely related and as many cities in Europe are facing the same challenges, there is also a dimension of integration policy on the EU level. The EU’s policy framework on integration is about integrating third country citizens who are legal residents in the EU, and is mainly focused on assisting national, regional and local organisations and authorities in sharing good practices on successful integration strategies with each other. The EU can play an important role in creating a meeting place and in enabling the exchange of experiences.
The purpose of this map is to improve the exchange of good practices on local and regional level, and to further highlight the local dimension of integration policy by showing the work that is being done by the local and regional authorities, and all in a user-friendly way. The map is accessible online on the European Web Site on Integration. Clicking on the map will open the website of an authority that shares its experiences and good practices in the area of integration. The map has been developed in cooperation with the Committee of the Regions, which identified some of the good practices for integration.