November 13, 2009
Following my previous contribution, I would like to add some relatively good news stemming from the second European Integration Forum, organised by the European Commission along with the European Economic and Social Committee and that was held on 12 and 13 November.
Even though at the institutional level important proposals as the directive on a single application procedure for a single permit and on a common set of rights for third-country workers lie down motionless on Home Secretaries’ tables, several civil society organizations have raised issues about the lacking link between migration policies and employment.
A framework on migrant workers’ rights is more than ever necessary but would be not enough without appropriate control mechanisms, since discriminations, for instance at the recruitment level, could persist. Intercultural education may help and many organisations have much work to do, including trade unions which have on one hand to fight against employers’ xenophobia and on the other hand try and educate its own basis which is often not exempt from xenophobic thinking.
The European Fund for Integration has to be properly exploited to address these challenges. Still, the problem is the absence of control mechanisms which would avoid Member States, to whom 93% of resources are allocated, from a bad management of integration projects. Indeed, several national associations complained about the use of these funds: the problems raised mainly concern the access to funds, the co-funding requirements and the definition of specific target groups. According to European Commission officials we have to be patient, as the Integration Fund is recent and will be surely improved in the next years.
I personally believe that there is no time to wait, especially if we look to the situation of some European countries. The second European Integration Forum gave signs of improvement, at least regarding the contents of the debates, and perhaps the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty that provide EU with a legal basis on the field of integration will drive forward migration policies. As Mrs. Schmitt, European Commission DG JLS, declared, co-decision procedure will eventually lift the directive mentioned above up.
Meanwhile, the Italian Government, in order to solve the legal problems of its Prime Minister, proposes a law that will shorten the possible length of a trial putting amongst the serious criminal offences, that are not included in the law proposal, irregular migration (along with terrorism and mafia crimes).