Council of Europe Roundtables: 1995-2000

Summary

At the request of the Council of Europe, MPG contributed to the Review of Community Relations policies, an initiative which developed into another project on Diversity and Cohesion, both of which were supported by series of Roundtables

Description

MPG worked on two projects in cooperation with the Council of Europe:

  1. Review of Community Relations policies
  2. Diversity and cohesion: new challenges for the integration of immigrants and minorities
  • 1.Review of Community Relations policies: 1995-1996

At the request of the Council of Europe's Committee on Migration (CDMG), the Migration Policy Group prepared a review of the implementation of Community Relations Policies as part of a process initiated by the CDMG in 1987.

The CDMG commissioned MPG to review implementation in ten countries: France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Poland, Romania and the United Kingdom.  MPG organised a series of Roundtables in those countries leading to the preparation of a report for the 6th Conference of European Ministers responsible for Migration Affairs in 1996.

During the course of the review, MPG identified four common strategies that governments were employing in their efforts to incorporate newcomers and persons of migrant origin:

  • the securing of legal residence rights
  • measures to facilitate equal access to employment, housing, education, and political decision-making 
  • naturalisation and citizenship policies 
  • efforts to combat discrimination, racism and xenophobia

The entire project consisted of research of primary and secondary sources, interviews with over 150 governmental and non-governmental representatives, and the convening of off-the-record round tables in each of the ten countries.

The findings of the project were published in a report entitled ‘Review of the Implementation of Community Relations Policies’ prepared in June 1996 by MPG for the Council of Europe and presented to the 6th Conference of European Ministers Responsible for Migration Affairs.

In addition to support from the European Commission and the Council of Europe, the project received the support of the Swedish Life and Peace Institute.

On the basis of these findings, MPG and CCME published a separate report entitled 'Comparative Approaches to Society Integration in Europe', initiating MPG’s Work with Business.

  • 2. Diversity and cohesion: new challenges for the integration of immigrants and minorities: 1998-2000

On the basis of the review of Community Relations policies, the Council of Europe asked MPG to prepare a report on ‘Diversity and cohesion: new challenges for the integration of immigrants and minorities’.  MPG staff acted as consultants to an editorial group established by the Council of Europe.  Between April 1998 and December 1999, the Group met to discuss drafts and MPG organised a hearing in Strasbourg in April 1998.
During the same period a series of Roundtables were held in newer countries of immigration on immigrant and minority issues (mainly in Central and Eastern Europe).  These meetings were organised under the auspices of the Council of Europe and co-hosted by the ministry responsible for migration, integration and minorities’ affairs.  Reports of those meetings and a synthesis report were presented to the European Committee on Migration.

The report’s aims were to guide the Council’s work on integration issues and assist Member States across Europe in the design and implementation of diversity and cohesion policies.  The report was launched at a European conference hosted by the Belgian government in Namur, September 2000, and constituted the background document to the Council of Europe’s 7th Conference of European Ministers Responsible for Migration Affairs in Helsinki on 16-17 September 2002.

The European Committee on Migration adopted the ‘Diversity Report’ at the 42nd meeting in Strasbourg, May 2000.

In addition to funding from the European Commission and the Council of Europe, the project was supported by the European Cultural Foundation.

The findings of these projects grew into MPG’s work on the Handbook on Integration.