The European Commission presented today the first edition of the ?European handbook on integration? to the ministers of the member states responsible for immigration, at the Dutch Presidency interministerial conference on integration policy in Groningen.
The handbook was produced by an independent expert in close co-operation with the network of national contact points on integration created by the European Commission. It contains best practices and lessons learned from the twenty-five member states of the European Union in the following areas: introduction courses for newly arrived immigrants and recognised refugees, civic participation, and indicators.
Its aim is to promote cooperation at the European level on integration by facilitating the exchange of experience and information. It is targeted at policy-makers and practitioners at the local, regional, national and EU level.
The European handbook on integration is the first of its sort. In addition to a catalogue of best practices, it also contains recommendations and general principles illustrated with concrete examples of policies or projects carried out at local, regional or national level by governmental or non-governmental actors.
Annexed to the handbook is a summary of the seven steps to follow when designing and implementing integration programmes. This will help translating overall policy goals into integration programmes. The seven steps may be used as headings for targets and performance indicators, and as chapters in the programmes? activity report.
The handbook on integration is intended to be a living instrument which will be updated. More issues covering other policy fields will be published in the future. A second edition of the handbook expected to be published in 2006.
National contact points
The Justice and Home Affairs Council of October 2002 requested that the Commission establish a network of national contact points on integration. In June 2003 the Thessaloniki European Council underlined that integration of legally residing third-country nationals is a complex process, which entails exchanging experiences, developing cooperation and better coordination of relevant policies at national and European Union level.
One of the first activities of the national contact points was the producing this handbook on integration. Three seminars were organised in Copenhagen, Lisbon and London during the spring 2004 hosted by Member States and supported by the Commission. Governmental and non-governmental policy makers and practitioners exchanged information on three issues: introduction programmes, participation in civic and political life and the development of indicators.
The handbook can be downloaded from the Justice and Home Affairs web-site from 10th November 2004 onwards: