Sustaining the mainstreaming of integration

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Mainstreaming refers to the systematic implementation of policies and measures in all areas relevant for immigrant integration and across levels of government – be it housing, education, qualification, social services or health. All authorities and organisations providing public services become responsible for contributing to immigrant integration and for adapting their activities to the needs of a diverse society. Mainstreaming requires a common policy framework, cross-sectoral planning and implementation, efficient coordination and shared commitment. Comprehensive integration action plans or -strategies are typical instruments to achieve its objectives.

On European level, the Commission encourages mainstreaming by promoting it as a Common Basic Principle for Immigrant Integration, and through the inclusion of integration-related objectives in a range of EU policies and funding programmes. Under the impression of the 2015/16 arrivals, the 2016 Action Plan on the integration of third country nationals of the European Commission and its ongoing implementation has marked a new high point of efforts at mainstreaming the response across EU policy fields, in line with the cross-cutting character of the challenge at hand. With the current preparations and negotiations on the 2021 to 2027 funding and programme framework, elections to the European Parliament and a new incoming Commission in 2019, key decisions about the priority of immigrant integration on the EU agenda are due in the near future.