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The integration of newcomers – Ministerial Conference organised by Flanders

On 8-9 February, the Belgian Presidency of the EU Council organised a High-Level Policy Forum and Ministerial Conference on the Integration of Newcomers, in Mechelen. Acting Director General of DG HOME, Beate Gminder, and acting Director General of DG EMPL, Andriana Sukova, exchanged insights with Ministers, Secretaries of State, global policymakers, experts and civil society stakeholders, and determined priorities on how to succeed in integrating migrants in our EU societies. 

Upon arrival, migrants and refugees face a number of barriers to integration – language barriers, lack of social support and administrative hurdles. Sometimes, they encounter difficulties in putting their skills to use in the host society, while also being exposed to prejudice or discrimination in certain cases. 

How can migrants be included in the labour market? What are the challenges of integrating people with diverse cultural or social backgrounds? How does language learning help? On which good practices can we draw upon to make newcomers feel welcomed and help them find their way in our societies? How can we bridge the gap between perceptions and reality when it comes to migration? These are few of the important questions discussed during the Conference.

Integration is key to an effective migration management system 

A key message and take-away was that integration needs to be embedded in a well-functioning asylum and migration management system. It is an integral part of the comprehensive approach of the new Pact on Migration and Asylum, and its successful implementation will rely on effective measures for integration. 

Including migrants in EU societies is also key to achieving social cohesion and revitalising our economies, which are suffering from skill and labour shortages. These can be tackled by attracting new talent, but also through successful labour market inclusion that takes into account migrants’ skills and qualifications. The ability to retain talent depends on successful integration, support measures for migrants with special needs, and the recognition of skills and qualifications. This is why the Commission has adopted a recommendation on the recognition of qualifications of third-country nationals as part of the Talent Mobility scheme, adopted on 15 November 2023.  

In its Action Plan on Integration and Inclusion 2021-2027, the European Commission has put forward concrete actions to support EU countries and other relevant stakeholders in their integration efforts. The EU is providing funding, capacity-building, and fostering important exchanges with a variety of stakeholders, since a multi-stakeholder approach is necessary for integration to succeed.


Link:, dated February 15, 2024 4:34 pm

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