Political participation in Central Europe

Summary

The research investigates whether four Central European countries - Latvia, Estonia, Poland and Bulgaria - are improving integration policy by opening opportunities for immigrants to participate in political and social life of the country

Description

The Political participation in Central Europe research project analyses:

  • 1. The existing forms of political participation for immigrants in Latvia, Estonia, Poland and Bulgaria (legislation and experience) with regard to issues such as the rights to join and create non-governmental organizations, trade unions and political parties, voting rights and consultation mechanisms for policies affecting migrants.

This part of research will include interviews with immigrant NGOs and/ or other civil society organizations fostering the political participation of immigrants or seeking to promote their rights to political participation in the country.

High-level representatives of political parties making up the government coalition in each country will also be interviewed regarding the openness/ exclusiveness of the general political environment in the country towards the political participation of immigrants.

  • 2. The projects implemented via the European Fund for the integration of Third Country Nationals (whether these EU funds implemented via EU Member States but accepted by the European Commission actually address the political participation of immigrants, or whether the majority of the projects look at immigrants as persons in need of services).

The countries’ performance will be measured against the best practice in the EU according to the Migrant Integration Policy Index (MIPEX) that compares all EU countries’ legislation on immigrant integration.

Based on 4 national reports a comparative report will be published. The findings and recommendations will be discussed in national debates in each country and described in 4 national policy briefs. An advocacy event in Brussels will be used to disseminate the comparative research and a policy brief focused on the implementation of the European Fund for the integration of Third Country Nationals.

The basic assumption of the project comes from the Common basic principles for immigrant integration policy in the EU (adopted in 2004) that includes the principle of political participation. The Lisbon Treaty provides the EU with a legal basis to work on immigrant integration, and EU member states have adopted the Stockholm Programme (December 2009) noting that "the objective of granting comparable rights, responsibilities, and opportunities for all is at the core of European cooperation in integration, taking into account the necessity of balancing migrants’ rights and duties".

Project partners

Working with the Migration Policy Group are the Centre for Public Policy PROVIDUS (Latvia), International Center for Minority Studies and Intercultural Relations (Bulgaria), Institute of Public Affairs (Poland), and Institute of Baltic Studies (Estonia).