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Diversity and integration

Inclusion - 08.02.2006

'Immigrants'integration primary takes place at local and regional level"
The Europea
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) organised an audition on the integration of immigrants, in Barcelona, on 2 and 3 February 2006.
 
European local and regional governments were invited to share best practices in the field of immigrants' integration. The aim was to find means to turn it into a positive experience, both for the immigrant as for the societies who welcome him, underlined Henri Malosse, president of the social section of the EESC.
 
Delegates agreed that the response to immigration needs to be structural and sustainable. Catalonian minister for social security and family affairs, Ms Simo, underlined the added value of ad hoc institutional structures and stable services who could replace isolated projects.
 
 
Social inclusion and CEMR
 
The Council of European Municipalities and Regions has always been active on the issue of social inclusion. It is to hold a seminar on integration of third-country migrants in local life, in Autumn.
 
CEMR, along with the city of Stuttgart and the Congress of Local and Region Authorities of Europe, will also set up a permanent network of cities and researchers to evaluate urban integration policies in Europe, later this year.
 
 
EESC's opinion
 
The EESC will adopt its opinion in 2006. Its will be in response to the Commission's communication on integrating immigrants (available in 20 languages).
n Economic and Social Committee (EESC) organised an audition on the integration of immigrants, in Barcelona, on 2 and 3 February 2006.
 
European local and regional governments were invited to share best practices in the field of immigrants' integration. However, the aim was not to give an ideological response to immigration but to find means to turn it into a positive experience, both for the immigrant as for the societies who welcome him, underlined Henri Malosse, president of the Social Section of the EESC.
 
The results of this audition will be incorporated in the EESC opinion on "Immigration in the EU and integration policies: cooperation between regional and local governments and civil society organisations". Pariza Castanos, rapporteur of the opinion, stated that integration can not be imposed. Immigrants have to integrate our societies on the basis of an equal relationship.
 
Another point that was stressed during the audition is the fact that the response to immigration needs to be structural and sustainable. Catalonian minister for social security and family affairs, Ms Simo, underlined the added value of ad hoc institutional structures and stable services who could replace isolated projects.
 
EESC's opinion
 
The EESC will adopt its opinion in 2006. Its stems from the principle that new social integration policies can only succeed with the support of local and regional governments. However, though integration primary takes place at local level, it also requires action at various levels through European support for local and regional governments' actions.
 
The EESC's opinion will serve as an answer to the European Commission and the Council's new approach towards immigration policies, which is based on the Communication on immigration, integration and employment (available in different languages). Immigration policy now is seen as an EU priority.
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