African Diaspora

Summary, 4th Meeting of the European Integration Forum 6-7 December 2010, Brussels (re-post)

We experienced technically difficulties when the post was originally broadcast. Thus the re-post.

Summary, Adrianne George, BEWC Board, Sweden

Speaker summaries

Aygul Özkan, Minister for Social, Women’s Affairs, Health and Integration of Lower Saxony (Germany)

Immigrants are obliged to take language and politics course. Young people have to get involved in politics.

School level education and language education are the keys to integrating 1st – 4th generations. It is the key to employment. Mastering German is crucial. If children start learning German as early as age 4 there is less repair to do later.

This benefits people from disadvantaged background too. If the government starts intervention before they go to school, less get held back.

Transition to workforce: language and communication is important. This is often a fault of the educational process.

Job seekers with Turkish names are discriminated against. They receive fewer interviews even if they have equal or superior qualifications.

The government is working with companies to offer internships to immigrant students to help break down barriers.

The government needs to recruit teachers from immigrant backgrounds.

Foreign educational qualifications need to be excepted as the current process is opaque. There are 300,000 people in the labor market whose qualifications have not been recognized.

There a pilot programs, integration pilot programs, involving Germans who want to engage with immigrants and help them navigate on the local level (sport clubs, etc.).

The government wants local imams and to create a center for religious studies B.A. program.

Immigrants from the 1960’s need elder care.

Peter Bossman, Mayor of Piran, Slovenia

He came to Europe as an educational immigrant intending to return to Ghana. He was advised to study in Yugoslavia (now Slovenia).

He earned his medical degree and ended up staying and starting a family. One day he noticed he wasn’t the black man or the foreigner, he was the local doctor. He had integrated.

Luis Miguel Pariza Castanos, European Economic and Social Committee

Racism and xenophobia and populism is on the raise and some politicians are using that to achieve political gains.

A mistake by some entrepreneurs is using immigrants to divide the labor market and lower wages. This gives rise to xenophobia and racism.

EU legislation must make it easier for member states to have harmonization for integration.


A. Which policies that have been put forth were the most useful on local and/or national level?

Roundtable D:
Good experiences of practices:

–Germany – new German National action program replaced the old integration plan.
–New plan has a time frame and bench marking.
–Many multi-national companies are pursuing diversity plans.
–SME’s are adopting labor diversity in the workforce.
–Diversity charters are being used in Germany.
–In Sweden immigrants are encouraged to become entrepreneurs, training and help available.

From immigrant perspective:

–when immigrants are organized a lot has been achieved with for example in Finland there are immigrants Ambassadors.
–Budapest has a program with Roma
–Sports personalities have been used as role models in Germany
–Job coach program in Sweden to help build personal and professional networks
–Suffrage rights have been important, for example in Ireland immigrants where educated abut voting and registered to vote. Candidates then recognized that group.

Roundtable B

–Immigrants representation is missing in certain professions.
–There are quotas in some countries which contain positive and negative aspects.
–Norway and Finland have anonymous recruiting procedures.
–Importance of support of migrant networks at national and European level. They foster social cohesion.
–Consultative bodies should not only be consulted on migrant issues but also a more general consultation on issues that are also interesting to migrant communities. Synergies need to be established.
–National integration courses can be problematic.

Roundtable A

–Importance of legislation concerning anti discrimination laws.
–It helps migrants to have a history of the receiving country.
–Education to receiving country citizens about the importance of migrants to the economy.
–suffrage rights are crucial
–permanent residency as soon as possible is crucial
–funding often goes to the local authorities who do not have the expertise to manage the money or implement the programs.
–short term program are often successful

Roundtable C

–immigrants should be encouraged to be entrepreneurs
–need to provide “one stop service” for migrants for help with the paperwork
–training for civil servants
–mentor programs have been successful

B. List 2-3 key elements that are missing.

Roundtable D

1. Teachers need training to interact with immigrants
2. Standardization to attracted skilled immigrants to Europe
3. Public education on why Europe needs integration.
3. Clarification on the EU 20-20-strategy.

Roundtable B

1. Huge gaps between written policies and actual practices
2. Scope of EU 2020 strategy is too limited – a lot applies only to legal residents and 3rd country nationals.

Roundtable A

1. Importance of closing the gap between theory and practice
2. Equal treatment from the police
3. Skills for youth

Roundtable C

1. Participation in trade unions
2. Facilitating highly skilled and educated migrants contributing to receiving society as soon as possible upon arrival

Who is missing from the policies

1. Undocumented migrants
2. Criminalization of undocumented migrants
3. Programs for women
4. Programs for boys


1. Facilitate the mobility level for immigrants, those without citizenship.
2. Harmonization of labor laws
3. Liberalization of ability for companies to hire immigrants
4. EU legislation on diversity
5. Funding for immigrant organizations
6, Monitoring of national policies
7. Training
8. Monitoring right wing governments
9. Eradicate Islamophobia
10. Managing demographic challenges
11. Separate the immigration issue from the security issues

Delegate recommendations:

1. Procurement process for utilizing immigrant owned SME’s
2. Integration issue should be linked to European presidency
3. Use voting rights to ensure we have residency rights to votes
4.Cut red tape so that not only the large welfare organizations get access to funding, but the smaller ones can too.
5. Address the basic needs like friends and community
6. National integration forums
7. Benchmarking practices

Quotes from the 4th meeting of the European Integration Forum

We are all minorities in Europe. We have to remember that”.—Stefano Manservici, Director General of DG Home Affairs, European Committee

People take on different identities during a lifetime. When governments say immigrants have to choose an identity (the host country’s identity) this is the grounds for discrimination”.—Luis Miguel Pariza Castanos, European Economic and Social Committee

We propose community citizenship (European) for longstanding residents. National laws should recognize their rights to national citizenship”.—Luis Miguel Pariza Castanos, European Economic and Social Committee

There is only one majority in Europe and that is women who make up more than 50%”. – Peter Verhaeghe, Migration Officer, Caritas Europa

We have to talk about the values that make us one”.—Peter Bossman, Mayor of Piran, Slovenia

Everyone talks about quotas and targets but the key for every integration policy should be human rights”.—Peter Bossman, Mayor of Piran, Slovenia

Across the EU few immigrants are consulted to improve national policy”.—Thomas Huddleston, Migration Policy Group

Germany has been an employment destination since the 1950’s and people stayed and no work was done to integrate them“.–Michael Van Der Cammen, Germany Employment Agency

In Germany BP looks at who buys gas at their stations and hires staff that looks like their customers“.–Michael Van Der Cammen, German Employment Agency

Immigrants must give up a little independence in the receiving country. Hey can keep their own customs and they can speak their own language. But they must learn the language, customs and values of the receiving country“.–Peter Bossman, Mayor of Piran, Slovenia

“It takes an average of 7 years for a migrant in Sweden to find a job”.—Henrik Nilsson, Swedish Red Cross

“Many immigrants choose Canada over Europe because of the level of xenophobia and racism in Europe”.—Luis Miguel Pariza Castanos

It is important that immigrants participate in political parties. A lack of citizenship does not have to exclude you from political participation. It is a way of taking responsibility for where you live“.–Dr. Karamba Diaby, Bundeszuwanderungs-Und Integrationsrat

Companies today that open up to diversity are the most successful in Europe and internationally”. – Luis Miguel Pariza Castanos, European Economic and Social Committee

In Germany BP looks at who buys gas in various locations and hires staff that looks like the customers”.–Michael Van Der Cammen, Germany Employment Agency

We don’t speak of “guest workers” anymore but we still talk about “host societies”. We should instead talk about and create receiving societies, more welcoming societies”.—Peter Verhaeghe, Migration Officer, Caritas Europa

We the commission think that citizenship is a part of integration. But that is a national issue. We can recommend that but not do anything about it”.–EU Commissioner

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