The European Union must work to implement the guidelines of its Action Plan on Integration and Inclusion, according to the Portuguese Minister of State for the Presidency of the Council of Ministers. Underlining that the European plan “has come at the right time, offering guidelines on issues going from employment to education, housing and health”, Mariana Vieira da Silva pointed out that what is needed now is to follow through, “getting the many stakeholders and most relevant partners involved”.
At the Informal Meeting of Ministers on integration policies, organised by the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the Minister underlined that “when we offer good integration and reception conditions, migrants have the opportunity to better achieve their potential and contribute to our society”.
The meeting focused on the issues of integration on the EU agenda and it provided an opportunity for open discussion between political leaders and other players on the challenges the Member States are facing in the integration of migrants and refugees.
Some of the more pressing areas in integration were addressed, particularly the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the living conditions of migrants and the challenges posed to promoting their inclusion in the labour market. The Member States were invited to share their experiences and the measures they have implemented to deal with these issues, with a view to the affirmation of a fairer, more plural and more cohesive Europe.
This was followed by a Policy Forum, which focused on the role of social partners and local authorities in the area of integration, with participation from the different delegations attending the meeting.
Closing the event, the European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, referred to the possibility of moving forward with a scoreboard on integration policies.
Also taking part in the event were the Vice-President of the European Commission, Margaritis Schinas, and the High Commissioner for Migration of Portugal, Sónia Pereira.
The EU Action Plan for Integration and Inclusion (2021-2027), presented by the European Commission in November 2020, proposes concrete measures, provides guidance and outlines the funding for initiatives promoting inclusion.