EU support for integration: what about beneficiaries of international protection? A User’s Guide to EU Standards, Funds and Cooperation
This paper, ‘EU support for integration: what about beneficiaries of international protection? A User’s Guide to EU Standards, Funds and Cooperation’ was written by the Migration Policy Group as part of a UNHCR project to design an evaluation tool for the integration of beneficiaries of international protection
This user’s guide provides a critical review of how the integration of beneficiaries of international protection is addressed through the Common European Asylum System, broader EU cooperation on the integration of third‐country nationals, and mainstream open methods of coordination in other EU policy areas.
The starting points are the UNHCR, the EU, and the Council of Europe’s working definitions of integration, which can be applied to beneficiaries of international protection as well as other categories of migrants.
This paper is part of an MPG project commissioned by UNHCR Regional Representation for Central Europe to design an evaluation tool for the integration of beneficiaries of international protection.
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Designing an evaluation tool for the integration of beneficiaries of international protection
The tool is a set of over 200 indicators to be gathered jointly by authorities and stakeholders. Once collected and analysed, those indicators provide decision‐makers with detailed data on the state of refugee integration in each country. This evidence base will help evaluate the efficiency and impact of integration policies and the strengths and weaknesses within countries. Across the region, it will be possible to exchange best practices and to learn from each other.
Summary of the User’s Guide
Using this paper and the project’s indicator‐based tool, stakeholders and authorities in Central Europe, as well as other regions, can better plug into EU level coooperation and support.
The first part presents how reception conditions for asylum seekers and targeted integration measures for refugees and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection are promoted by EU cooperation, largely coordinated by the European Commission’s Directorate General on Justice, Freedom and Security (JLS).
- National governments cooperate to set new legal standards in European Community law in areas that greatly impact on the integration processes of beneficiaries of international protection. This legal standard‐setting is matched by financial instruments and some elements of practical cooperation.
- The emerging Common European Asylum System (CEAS) has tried to promote integration through financial support (i.e. European Refugee Fund) and some ad hoc practical cooperation (EU‐level stakeholder/NGO initiatives and ERF Community Actions), but less so through legal standard‐setting or structural cooperation.
- The Reception Conditions and Qualification Directives have set minimum standards for the residence security and other rights that come with the status of being an asylum seeker, recognised refugee, or beneficiary of subsidiary protection.
- Discussions around the next phases in the CEAS have touched on improving the labour market opportunities for asylum seekers and leveling up the rights of beneficiaries of subsidiary protection to those of recognised refugees.
- Proposals have been and could again be put forward to ensure that all beneficiaries of international protection have access to EU directives related to the integration of third‐country nationals and that this legislation better recognises their special needs.
The second part contrasts cooperation within the CEAS with the emerging de facto Open Method of Coordination (OMC) on the integration of broader categories of third‐country nationals, also largely coordinated by the Commission DG JLS.
- Legal cooperation is developing along with new standard‐setting mechanisms, financial instruments, and many elements of practical cooperation.
- A structured exchange of information between the National Contact Points on Integration and the European Commission provides the basis for meetings every‐other‐year of the national ministers responsible for integration.
- The conclusions of these meetings set priorities for new cooperation mechanisms to be funded at EU level and
implemented through the projects of a diverse set of local, regional, and national actors across Europe.
This section evaluates to what extent both the special needs and mainstreaming of beneficiaries of international protection are addressed within these broader integration cooperation mechanisms.
Under the 2004‐2009 Hague Programme, separate forms of European cooperation on integration were set up for those working with beneficiaries of international protection vs. other categories of third‐country nationals (economic and family migrants). As such, beneficiaries of international protection have not been mainstreamed, but rather excluded, from the standard‐setting and financial instruments that make up the EU’s emerging de facto “Open Method of Coordination” on integration.
The third part considers to what extent both immigrant and refugee integration are being mainstreamed into EU cooperation on different areas of life. This overview covers European legal and practical cooperation, standard‐setting, and financial support in the areas of equal treatment and nondiscrimination, socio‐economic participation, urban policy, health, entrepreneurship, research, education, culture and multilingualism.
This section evaluates whether the EU institutions are promoting the participation in society of all Europe’s residents, with due regard to migration histories and protection needs.
- One side effect has been that beneficiaries of international protection do not tend to be included as a target group in the process of mainstreaming immigrant integration into other areas of European cooperation.
- Immigrants and ethnic minorities have increasingly appeared in standard‐setting and practical cooperation mechanisms like peer reviews in areas like anti‐discrimination, economic participation, education, and culture.
- So far, beneficiaries of international protection have emerged as a “vulnerable group” in standard‐setting on social inclusion, the exchange of good practice on health, and financial instruments like the European Social Fund.
- In particular, the priority that the EQUAL fund gave to asylum seekers produced many lessons learned that could be applied to future legal standard‐setting on reception conditions in the next phases of the CEAS.
- Get involved in negotiating the second phase of the Common European Asylum System, with the aim to improve integrationrelated provisions in current EU Directives (Pg 10)
- Join or lead European Refugee Fund national and Community Actions that address gaps in current integration support for beneficiaries of international protection (Pg 11)
- Encourage social partners to become active in the Employment, Social Affairs, and Citizenship section of the European Economic and Social Committee (Pg 12)
- Encourage local and regional authorities to become active in the Commission for Constitutional Affairs, European Governance and the Area of Freedom, Security, and Justice at the Committee of the Regions (Pg 12)
- Encourage local and regional authorities to participate in relevant URBACT projects, Committee of Regions options, “Integrating Cities” conference, and networks like ERLAI and EUROCITIES’ working group on “Migration and Integration” and undertake complimentary advocacy and action (Pg 12)
- Link with European stakeholders and umbrella organisations that are most relevant to your work on integration (Pg 12)
- Advocate for integration to be an area for the European Asylum Support Office’s information exchanges, comparative analysis, and identification of good practice (pg 12)
- Apply the policy lessons learned from EQUALfunded projects for asylum seekers (Pg 32)
- Get involved in negotiating the inclusion of beneficiaries of international protection in the EC Directive on longterm residence (Pg 15)
- Monitor and inform the Commission about how national changes linked to the EC Directive on family reunion impacted on beneficiaries of international protection (Pg 14)
- Apply the EU Common Basic Principles on Integration to targeted policies for beneficiaries of international protection (Pg 16)
- Advocate for the European Commission to propose including beneficiaries of international protection in the scope of the European Integration Fund (Pg 18)
- Advocate for the European Commission to propose allocating a greater part of EU migration funds to promoting integration (Pg 18)
- Link with the EU National Contact Point on Integration (Pg 18)
- Apply the conclusions and good practice examples in the three editions of the Handbook on Integration for Policy-makers and Practioners (Pg 21)
- Contribute and use the practices, documents, links, and partnership database on the European Web Site on Integration at www.integration.eu (Pg 21)
- Link with participants in the EU Integration Forum and encourage refugee selforganisations that are members of national umbrella organisations or consultative bodies to represent their country as participants (Pg 22)
- Help design and use future EU practical cooperation on integration to ensure the inclusion of beneficiaries of international protection in for instance modules and reference indicators (Pg 23)
- Link with your national Contact Points in the European Migration Network and use their evidencebase in your work (Pg 23)
- Link with your country’s members of the Odysseus Network (Pg 24)
Mainstreaming in the EU machinery
- Link with the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights and its Platform (Pg 26)
- Advocate for the European Commission to include beneficiaries of international protection in the European Employment Strategy’s “Integrated Employment Guidelines”(Pg 28)
- In that context, advocate for your Member State to address beneficiaries of international protection in their National Reform Programmes and link with related national
bodies/committees (Pg 28)
- Advocate for the European Commission to include beneficiaries of international protection among the target groups in the common objectives and indicators of the Open Method of Coordination on Social Protection and Social Inclusion (Pg 30)
- In that context, advocate for your Member State to address beneficiaries of international protection in their National Strategic Report and link with related national bodies/committees (Pg 30)
- Encourage your Member State to allocate greater funding under EU financial instruments for socioeconomic inclusion towards the integration of beneficiaries of international protection (Pg 34)
- Also in that context, encourage your Member State to start or participate in Mutual Learning Programmes that relate to beneficiaries of international protection (Pg 36)
- Monitor opportunities for EU practical and financial support on migrant education, multilingualism, and health (Pg 39)
- Participate in relevant projects from the European Research Framework Programme and use this evidencebase in your work (Pg 40)
- Advocate for future European comparative surveys of public and migrant opinion to address the integration of refugees in Central Europe (Pg 41)