EU integration policy and the UK multiculturalism debates: how do they fit Finland? Sirkka Komulainen, PhD


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Presentation given at the expert seminar: New era in integration policies in the Baltic Sea Countries? Tallinn, Estonia, 25.2.2013

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EU integration policy and the UK multiculturalism debates: how do they fit Finland? Sirkka Komulainen, PhD

  1. 1. EU integration policy and theUK multiculturalism debates:how do they fit Finland? Sirkka Komulainen, PhD New era in integration policies in the Baltic Sea Countries? Tallinn, Estonia 25.2.2013
  2. 2. Outline Demographics of immigration in Finland Some background and context Finnish Immigration Act 2011: two-way integration European and UK discourses: multiculturalism vs interculturalism What fits, what does not? Policy and social science perspectives
  3. 3. Demographics about immigration inFinland Finland: 5,425,056 people (2012) In 2011 257,248 foreign persons (4.8%) of which 59% of European origin - 23% Asian, 12% African Most live in the capital region There were 67,127 Russians in Finland at the end of 2011, representing 26 per cent of all people with foreign origin. The next biggest groups were people of Estonian origin, 30,250 persons, of Somalian origin, 13,930 persons, and of Iraqi origin, 10,072 persons. Examined by background country, the largest group by far is the former Soviet Union or Russia. (Source: Statistics Finland URL: 30_tie_001_en.html)
  4. 4. Foreign nationals in Finland 2001-2011Source: Statistics Finland, 2011
  5. 5. Background and context Steady yet modest rise in immigration EU policies: Matching economic migration with labour market needs Ageing population in countries like Finland Humanitarian concerns: e.g. Finland receives between 2,000 and 6,000 applications for asylum annually Labour, student, marriage and family reunification immigration Between 20,000 and 40,000 Ingrians have benefited from Finlands Right of Return law over the past 20 years “Finland does not claim an optimally integrated foreign population, nor is it considered among the top destination countries for migrants” (Tanner, 2011)
  6. 6. Ministry of the Interior on integration “Integration means that immigrants adapt themselves to Finnish society and acquire new skills, competences and practices which help them actively participate in the life of their new home country. Some immigrants find it easy to integrate; others need more time and support services - integration measures - to adapt themselves. Some knowledge of Finnish or Swedish, and information about Finnish society are important requirements for integration.”
  7. 7. Continued... A number of public authorities in central government and municipalities deal with the integration of immigrants. The objective of integration measures is to help immigrants to know their rights and duties in Finnish society, and feel welcome in Finland. The Act on the Promotion of Immigrant Integration 2011 guides integration  Central: Two-Way Integration
  8. 8. Discourses on multiculturalism (and interculturalism) travel Superdiversity (Vertovec, 2006) Multiculturalism tends to preserve a cultural heritage, while interculturalism acknowledges and enables cultures to have currency, to be exchanged, to circulate, to be modified and evolve Interculturalism is allegedly more geared toward interaction and dialogue than multiculturalism: less ‘groupist’ or more committed to societal cohesion and national citizenship (Meer & Modood, 2011)
  9. 9. Is Finland racist? The topical question Multiculturalism and intercultural dialogue – old and new racism The media interested in the True Finns and the far right – bad press about Finland abroad White resentment, benign ignorance or outright racism? Government commitment to integration policies and emerging intercultural competence paradigms in HE The Finns talk about immigration and multiculturalism – not so much about interculturalism
  10. 10. Integration into ’what’? CaseFinland Same discourses, different context – not superdiversity Finland was for long a country of emigration Moderate immigration, not so many TCNs Geopolitics: e.g. Ingrian Finns and the collapse of the Soviet Union Labour market: specific nature, demand & supply, ageing population Global and local control issues (Guild & Mantu, 2011) Social cohesion? Indigenous populations and minority rights Possibilities for day-to-day mixing (e.g. Komulainen, 2012; Howarth & Andreouli) a challenge for two-way integration
  11. 11. Conclusions – to be discussed Policy, media and scientific discourses vs lived realities (Komulainen, 2012) What are the most urgent problems to solve? Polarisations in the media General inequality Labour market segregation and fragmentation Minority rights in perspective Implementing policies hampered by short-term funding Integration into ‘what’ in times of austerity?
  12. 12. References Guild, Elspeth & Mantu, Sandra (eds.) (2011) Constructing and Imagining Labour Migration: Perspectives of Control from Five Continents. Farnham: Ashgate. Howarth, C. & Andreouli, E. Has multiculturalism failed? The importance of lay knowledge and everyday practice. London School of Economics (incomplete reference). Komulainen, S. (2012) Porvarillisen idyllin vai pikku-Moskovan lapset? Monikulttuurisuuden vaikutus suomalaisperheiden koulupaikan valintaan Turussa. Institute of Migration, Research series A 39. Meer, N. & Modood, T. (2011) How does interculturalism contrast with multiculturalism. Journal of intercultural studies, on-line first DOI:10.1080/07256868.2011.618266 Ministry of the Interior Integration URL: Parekh, B., (2000) Rethinking multiculturalism: cultural diversity and political theory. London:Palgrave. Statistics Finland 2011 Tanner, A. (2011) Finlands Balancing Act: The Labor Market, Humanitarian Relief, and Immigrant Integration Migration Information Source URL: Vertovec, S. (2011) The emergence of Super-Diversity in Britain. WP-06-25.Compas: Centre on Migration, Policy and Society.