Brussels, 24 November 2020 - The Commission presented the action plan on Integration and Inclusion for the period 2021-2027.
The action plan is built on the principle that inclusive integration requires efforts from both the person and the host community and sets out new actions that build on the achievements of the previous action plan from 2016. However, conversely to this latter which covered only third country nationals, this action plan is thus broader since it covers both migrants and EU citizens with a migrant background.
“Today, around 34 million EU inhabitants were born outside the EU (around 8% of the EU population), and 10% of young people (15–34 years) born in the EU have at least one foreign-born parent”.
The action plan promotes therefore inclusion for all, recognising the important contribution of migrants to the EU and addressing the barriers that can hinder participation and inclusion of people with a migrant background, from newcomers to citizens, in European society. Moreover, it points out other key principles, such as: targeted support where needed, mainstreaming gender and anti-discrimination priorities, support at all stages of the integration process, maximising EU added value through multi-stakeholder partnerships.
Although national governments are primarily responsible for creating and implementing social policies, the EU plays a key role in supporting Member States through funding, developing guidance and fostering relevant partnerships. The main actions are:
- Inclusive education and training
- Improving employment opportunities and skills recognition
- Promoting access to health services
- Access to adequate and affordable housing
In the text of the document, the Commission stresses that it is part of the comprehensive response to tackling the challenges linked to migration put forward in the New Pact on Migration and Asylum. All the different stages and phases of the integration process are taken into account: pre-departure measures, reception and early integration, long-term integration, and the building of inclusive and cohesive societies. In this sense, successful integration policies can «underpin and complement Member States’ asylum and migration policies, by ensuring that all individuals who have a right to stay in the EU can fully take part in our societies».
Among the initiatives that the Commission will support under 2021-2027, there is the proposition of a European Child Guarantee to fight poverty and social exclusion among the EU’s most disadvantaged children, including children with a migrant background.
«Children will need additional protective support, always ensuring the best interest of the child, not least when they are unaccompanied»
The specific challenges that children in migration face in relation to access to integration measures will also be addressed in the upcoming EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child, where the Inclusion will be the leitmotif, seeking to ensure that all children, regardless of origin, ability, socio-economic background, legal and residence status have equal access to the same set of rights and protection.