The Handbook on Integration contains ‘lessons learned’ and good practices drawn from the experience of policy-makers and practitioners across Europe. By collecting and presenting concrete examples from different areas of immigrant integration, the Handbook feeds into a larger policy process in the field of integration in the European Union (EU), notably the development of the European framework on integration.
This Handbook offers best practices and lessons learned from 27 EU Member States. It has been developed in close cooperation with the National Contact Points on Integration and aims to promote the creation of a coherent European framework on integration by facilitating the exchange of experience and information. The Handbook is addressed to policy-makers and practitioners at the local, regional, national and EU levels. It covers three thematic subjects and three governance approaches. Chapters on the role of the media, the acquisition of nationality and the practice of active citizenship, and the experiences of immigrant youth in the education system and labour market present practices and lessons learned in these specific areas.
The idea of a European Handbook on Integration emerged after the Thessaloniki European Council in June 2003. There, the Heads of State and Government stressed the importance of developing cooperation and exchange of information within the newly established NCPI network with a view to learning from each other. To respond to this call, the Handbook was prepared to drive and structure this exchange. The Handbook exercise was intended to be an ongoing, inclusive process, a living instrument which would not only improve over time on a step-by-step basis, but also contain updates on new developments, solutions and evaluation results.
The intention is that policy-makers and practitioners draw on Handbook practices and conclusions when developing and promoting priorities or initiatives. Generally speaking, policy-makers formulate overall integration goals at their level of governance, make resources available, monitor implementation and evaluate outcomes. Practitioners translate goals into concrete programmes, set targets and undertake activities to reach them. It is beyond the scope of the Handbook exercise to cover the formation of overall integration law and policy. Nor is it intended to describe specific programmes in great detail. Rather, each chapter of the three Handbook editions revolves around practice-based “critical success factors,” a non-exhaustive catalogue of good practice from a range of countries across the EU that meet one or more of those factors, and a set of conclusions. The fact that a particular country is mentioned in relation to specific activities does not preclude that similar practices can be found in others across the EU. The Annexes to the Handbook explain how policies can be translated into projects and vice-versa as well as how policy-makers and practitioners can engage in mutual learning in order to improve their integration performance.