14. April 2015

During the 2015 FutureLab Europe Spring Conference, FutureLab Europe participants met Matthias Francken, Adviser to Belgian State Secretary of Asylum and Immigration; Brenda King, Chief Executive of African & Caribbean Diversity and Member of the European Economic and Social Committee; and Yves Pascouau, Director of Migration and Mobility Policies at the European Policy Centre for the roundtable discussion. The roundtable, entitled “A youth perspective on the integration of migrants into European societies: Are we on the right track?”, focused on the integration of migrants in EU member states.

FutureLabber Joao Labareda opened the debate presenting FutureLab youth perspective on the integration of migrants in Europe and setting the scene for FutureLabbers Nathalie Straker, Hanna Engblom and Darija Maric to present their case studies on the state of play on the integration of migrants inFrance, Sweden and Serbia respectively. The session was moderated by FutureLabber Mathew Shearman.

The group discussed the need for a change in the public rhetoric on migration used by governments and the media. It was noted that migrants are often portrayed in negative terms by the media that gives space to news about migrants only when they are about violent crimes. Governments should also adjust their public discourse, reclaiming migration as a positive factor and resetting the migration discourse on factual data.

FutureLabbers discussed also the responsibility of the host society for a successful integration of migrants. It was highlighted that while integration should be a two way street – where migrants try to integrate in a welcoming host society – public discourse puts the responsibility for integrating mainly on migrants, while very little attention is devoted to the host society’s willingness to facilitate their integration.

The interlink between migration, integration and security was also debated. A more integrated migration and integration policies was welcomed by some participants to the roundtable who also called for a less security-oriented approach to migration.

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