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Balance 2002 – 2012By Christoph HauschildLet me start with a personal remark:Today – with this conference – a circle is closing to me:It was during the previous Danish presidency in the year 2002 that for the firsttime in my professional career I got in touch with the issue of immigrantintegration. In October 2002 the Danish Presidency had invited the Minister ofthe Interior to attend a ministerial meeting on integration issues in Copenhagen.At that time there was not yet a special unit for immigrant integration in theministry. The choise fell on me for writing the speaking note. In 2002 this was aswell a start for me. Beginning of next month I will change my position in theministry and I will move to a completely different field of activity. So this 2012conference under Danish presidency will put an end to my work on immigrantintegration.For that reason please allow me to draw a short balance:At national level we witnessed a paradigmatic change on how we look at theintegration issue. I think this is true not only for Germany but for severalEuropean countries. Let me therefore refer to little booklet called “TheGovernment’s Vision and Strategies for Improved Integration” edited by theDanish Government in June 2003.Two points mentioned in that policy programme were very much relevant to ourthinking and policy making with regard to immigrant integration in the last tenyears:Firstly, strengthening the link between immigration policy and integrationpolicy.Secondly, putting the focus on individual needs independent from the national,ethnic or religious background. The 2003 Danish Government paper says in thisrespect we must base integration on the individual’s resources and responsibility
and that one has to move away from the clientification of immigrants arriving inthe country. “It is not a social occurrence to arrive in Denmark”At the European level we started a learning process in 2002. But what wewitnessed is what we call in German “Europaeisierung” – Europanisation ofthat policy field reflected in a new European competence in the Treaty ofLisbon. I had the priviledge of having been involved in every step of it includingthe drafting of the Treaty provision. Starting in 2004 in Groningen I assisted toall ministerial ministerial EU meetings on integration.Making European policies practicalThe idea of designing integration modules came-up when it became clear thatthe Commission would put an end to the so-called handbook exercise. Throughthe handbook seminars - which were organized by the Member Statesthemselves - we were able to put the European learning process into practice.The turned out to be very useful for getting to know the different nationalapproaches. However, we made as well the experience that although touching alot of different issues, we didn’t achieve to be able to deal with those issues indetail. But when you are in charge if designing a new policy programme or whenyou are asked to improve existing programmes you are expected to presenttechnical solutions. Take the example of language programmes: you have totake a decion on who is the target group, on how to organize the access tocourses, on how to control the outcome etc.So the aim attached to the modules was to deepen that European learningprocess and making it more practical. The draft modules reflect that initialpurpose. However, from my point of view and I repeat here what I said before inother meetings a mistake was made with regard to the involvement of MemberStates. The whole process of developing the modules was out-sourced to aconsulting company with too little involvement of the Member States. Thechallenge is now to transform those modules into a tool box for Member States.From an institutional point it would be crucial that Member States are muchmore part of the process than before. This, however, requires on the side of the
Member States to be available for an active involvement. The European Unionalmost doubled in size within the last ten years. The question is should all ofthem be involved or should those Member States which have a particularinterest in the issue be permitted to go ahead. The best would be to have everyMember State on board, actually because I don’t see any Member State whoshouldn’t be concerned. My advice would be therefore to have an open debateon this in the framework of the National Contact Points and to move on on thebasis of that discussion.Let me add a general observation: The module exercise illustrates again that inpolicy making you have to be always aware of the fact that procedures matter.Integration debatePart of the balance of the last ten years is that we never talked about what weunderstand under the term of integration. There has been always the risk thatwe use the same word of latin origin, but in our national languages we attachdifferent meanings to it. In some countries only newcomers are referred to whenthere is a debate on immigrant integration in other countries we see a muchmore extensive use. Actually and that also happened within the last decade inGermany, the term persons with a migratory background was invented by ournational statistical office. The definition of that statistical category is so farreaching that persons who have never thought about it in their previous life areconfronted now with the fact that they have become a target group ofintegration policies.Conclusion: social trustThis leads me to my final observation: Maybe we do not need at the Europeanlevel a common definition of the term integration, but part of the Europeandebate should be the issue on the impact of migration on social cohesion. I saythis because we have currently two conflicting findings in research on thatissue. Some say that immigration is automatically contributing to the culturalrichness and that this new diversity is strengthening our societies. A very recentstudy base on interviews with 10.000 persons on the impact of ethnic diversity
on social trust is much more cautious on this aspect. According to the head ofthe project team Ruud Koopmans who is a Dutch professor working in Berlinthe empirical evidence study shows that immigration does have indeed animpact on social trust. He says that there is already a negative impact on socialtrust when the ethnic diversity in a certain neighborhood becomes a pubicissue.Let me therefore conclude: We should surely go on in developing Europeantools, but at the same time we need a debate in the impact of our work.