|With the financial support of the European Commission|
Even if migration policy remains a Member State competence, we have seen, over the course of recent years, the emergence of a need to coordinate the various policies at European Union level. The events of recent months only serve to underscore this expectation.
To cite the latest measure, the European Commission published, on 3 May 2011, a communication on migration, shedding light on the various axes of a migration policy: getting tough on illegal immigration whilst
remaining open to legal immigration, something which is needed if we are to overcome the challenges posed by demographic change and economic uncertainty, faced by ageing European societies.
CESI does not intend to take a stance in this debate, even if it is all too aware of it.
Rather, its concern is to focus on how the issue translates in social terms in order to get a clear view of the situation and give the public service relevant guidelines when it comes to integrating migrants.
At the symposium, which will run over a day and a half, CESI has chosen to focus its work on the integration of legal migrants.
We are using the term ‘migrants’ rather than just ‘immigrants’ in order to examine the problems related to this subject do not just from our point of view as the host country, but rather also from the vantage point of those who come and set up home amongst us.
The seminar will deal chiefly with the tasks, resources and needs of public service employees working with migrants, dealt with here, for the most part, in their capacity as users of public services in the Member States of the European Union.
After a presentation on the phenomenon of migration and how one can objectively assess it, talks will address national best practice in terms of integration. Following these talks and debates in plenary, three workshops will take place, allowing us to throw open the discussion to encompass the more precise aspects of our subject: The role of public services’ staff in direct contact with migrants
Promoting the integration of migrants through local administration public services
The cultural and linguistic integration of migrants
In 1997, Paul Ricoeur, a French philosopher, pointed out the fact that one of the sources of incomprehension resided in the fact that few people had experienced what it feels like to be foreign. What does it mean to be foreign and no longer to be foreign?
Such questions will give us all food for thought and stimulate the discussions which will take place over the course of the symposium.
On behalf of the Board of CESI-Europe Academy, I am looking forward to seeing you once again on 29 and 30 September in Vienna for a symposium on the public service and the integration of migrants into the European Union.
Speaking for myself, I am especially happy to welcome you to our beautiful city of Vienna with the support of GÖD, the Austrian organisation presided over by Fritz Neugebauer and of which I am the first Vice-President. I am already looking forward to hearing the exchanges on integrating migrants, the expertise of the speakers and the contributions of each and every one of you, who bring with you an in-depth understanding of the situation in your respective countries.
No-one needs me to point out the fact that, in the past, the Austrian empire was a veritable melting pot of people, languages, cultures and religions. Some even spoke of a ‘Europe’ before the term existed.
With its rich history and its strategic geographical location, Austria is today, more than ever, an appropriate nation when it comes to discussing the integration of migrants. Allow me to prove this by offering up the example of the active integration policy put in place by the city of Vienna, which alone welcomes half of those who migrate to Austria.
I am thus looking forward to the place accorded at the symposium to my compatriots, as well as to various speakers from across the European Union, so that, together, we might embark on a calm exchange on the role of the public service in the integration of migrants, a pillar, if ever there was one, of social cohesion in Europe.
I wish you all a very enjoyable symposium!
Wilhelm GLOSS, President of CESI-Europe Academy