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Public Policy Recommendation by expert Angela Tacea for MIL

“Mechanisms of immigrant integration should be the priority of policy-makers and States should take their responsibilities”


The academic literature on integration distinguishes three main types of national immigrant integration policy models (Entzinger and Biezeveld 2003, Carrera 2006).

The multicultural model, traditionally followed by Sweden, emphasizes the protection and respect of cultural diversity and guarantees immigrants’ identity.


The assimilationist model, followed by France, is based on a complete assimilation of immigrants to the traditional values and national identity of the host country.

The third model, followed by Germany, is exclusionist because it develops strict conditions of access to employment and residence on the territory.


Hence, there is no homogeneous model of immigrant integration. Moreover, several Belgium scholars (Adam 2013, Martiniello 1995; Rea 1994) portraited the difficulties of applying the ‘national model’ of immigrant integration in federal states. In Belgium, the Flemish integration policy is more centralized, institutionalized and multicultural than the Wallonian one. In sum, immigrant integration policies, when they exist, do not only differ from one country to another, but also from one region to another.

Contrary to anti-discrimination policies, the European Union has not done much to harmonize integration policies, because the latter are the exclusive competence of EU Member States, which can also delegate it to the sub-national level.


This lack of harmonization is not without consequences for the current European migration “crisis”. In addition to family and economic reasons, migrants choose certain countries and not others because their integration might be easier and more effective. In this sense, there is clear room for more harmonization of integration policies at the EU level, though social and political inclusion and intra-EU mobility. The EU could start by adopting a framework directive on equal treatment for third country nationals regarding access to common public goods, such as employment, social assistance, social security, education etc.


The EU should also encourage intra-EU mobility of third country nationals, by reforming the Long-Term Residence Directive 2003/109/EC in order to grant more mobility rights to non-EU country nationals and to create a common system of recognition of non-EU/EEA degrees and diplomas. One has to admit that the EU common market should not be common only for EU citizens, but also for third country nationals who benefit from a legal status in one of the EU Member states.


The EU does, however, actively promote integration and language courses for new migrants though its funding mechanisms, such as the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF). Immigrant integration language and civic programs are mandatory for example in Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Flanders and Denmark and scholars have underlined the trend towards restrictive immigrant integration policy in the EU (Carrera 2006).


In sense, mandatory participation in integration programs seems to become a precondition of having access to a secure status.

Interestingly enough integration programs are not only open to criticism because they shift the responsibility from the State to the immigrant, but also because there is no scientific or empirical evidence of the positive impact of (mandatory) integration language and civic programs.


Existing studies tend rather to show that integration is not always grater for those who followed integration programs than for those who did not. At the same time, too strict integration requirements might harm positive integration, if they are used as an instrument for migration control (Adam, 2019).



Thus, comparative evaluation of existing policies and mechanisms of immigrant integration should be the priority of policymakers and States should take their responsibilities when it comes to the positive integration of immigrants by favoring social inclusion and equality, non-discrimination and the respect of diversity.





2. If discrimination on grounds of nationality is prohibited in the EU (art 18 TFEU, 21 CFREU), this is not intended to apply to cases of a possible difference in treatment between nationals of Member States and nationals of non-member countries (Cases C-22/08 and C-23/08 Vatsouras and Koupatantze (2009) ECR I-4585 [52] ; Case C-45/12 Hadj Hamed ECLI:EU:C:2013:390.) Moreover, the Framework Equality Directive does not cover differences of treatment based on nationality.


Hamed ECLI:EU:C:2013:390.) Moreover, the Framework Equality Directive does not cover differences of treatment based on nationality.




Angela Tacea is a FWO postdoctoral fellow. She is affiliated with the Institute for European Studies of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel(VUB). She is also an associated researcher at the Center for European studies and comparative politics (CEE), Sciences Po Paris.


Her postdoctoral project, ‘Who wins the legislative battle? Tracing legislative change and policy ideas in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice’, conducted in partnership with the VUB’s Artificial Intelligence Lab, aims to understand the balance of powers between the main European institutional actors in context of legislative decision-making in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (AFSJ).


Her research and teaching interests are broadly in European decision-making process and constitutional law, with special focus on institutional actors and procedure, fundamental rights and justice and home affairs policies, e-government, civic techs and artificial intelligence.


Before joining the VUB, she has been a temporary Lecturer in public law and political science at Université Paris 2 Panthéon- Assas. Angela completed her PhD at Sciences Po Paris (2010-2017). Her dissertation explains how national parliaments contribute to the decision-making process and the defense of human rights and civil liberties in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice.


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