Wednesday, December 16, 2009
***« Nous devons être plus à même de tirer profit des compétences des immigrants nouvellement arrivés »...***
***La réunion des experts de la Présidence suédoise de l'UE sur l'établissement des nouveaux arrivants, mettant l'accent sur les incitatifs et le travail, est organisée à Malmö les 14, 15 et 16 décembre. Au cours de la réunion, seront discutées des mesures incitatives destinées à encourager l'intégration et la motivation des nouveaux arrivants. La réunion sera placée sous le haut patronage de la Ministre suédoise de l'intégration et de l'égalité des chances, Nyamko Sabuni, qui nous fait part ici des espoirs qu'elle fonde sur cette rencontre. (en anglais)
What are the major challenges facing the EU in the area of integration?
"When we discuss integration, it is often about meeting challenges and solving problems. It is, of course, the responsibility of politics to solve problems. At the same time, it is important not to forget our different countries' rich history of migration. Europe would not be what it is today without our history of immigration."
"People who have immigrated to Europe have contributed to its development, diversity and competitiveness. Without them, we would be poorer both economically and socially."
"Europe is facing a demographic challenge, where an ageing population must be supported by fewer and fewer people. We are going to become dependent on immigration to be able to sustain our welfare systems. But we must also be better at making the most of the skills of newly arrived immigrants and making it easier for them to enter the labour market. This is one of the greatest challenges we are facing in the area of integration."
In your view, what are the more specific problems that need to be solved to create a more effective integration policy in the EU?
"Generally speaking, it takes too long for immigrants to establish themselves in the labour market. And we know that long drawn-out periods without contact with the labour market are destructive and lead to passivity and the risk of benefit dependency. It is a disastrous waste - from the individual's perspective but also from a macroeconomic perspective."
What are your hopes, and the hopes of the Swedish Presidency, ahead of the meeting in Malmö?
"Meeting and discussing integration issues at this point in time is an important priority for the Swedish Presidency. The Treaty of Lisbon has just entered into force. The new Treaty gives us a new legal basis for European cooperation in the area of integration."
"A new programme for freedom, security and justice, known as the Stockholm Programme, has just been negotiated. The Stockholm Programme is also an important basis for the continued development of EU cooperation concerning the integration of third country nationals."
"The purpose of the meeting in Malmö is to deepen knowledge on the importance of incentives to make it easier for new arrivals to quickly enter the labour market and society in general."
"The conditions for integration vary greatly from country to country. Integration policy is therefore primarily an issue for the Member States. In the first instance, the legislation is designed nationally. But with the free movement principle, integration is not just a national affair."
"But by learning from each other's experiences, EU cooperation in the area of integration can contribute to better knowledge of the measures that are effective. Experiences and methods that have been tried in different Member States can be important lessons for other countries."