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The Refugee Integration into European Society


Europe is experiencing one of the most significant influxes of migrants and refugees in its history. At least 350.000 migrants crossed the EU’s border in January-August, 2015, compared with 280.000 during the whole 2014. UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres has warned that Europe in dealing with the migration crisis. He said:  “The world was facing the highest levels of forced displacement in recorded history and the principle of asylum must remain sacrosanct. He urged Europe to defend its founding values of tolerance and openness by welcoming refugees of all regions.”

As the main purpose of our project is the creation of Agency that accelerates the integration of refugees into EU, firstly, there should be done certain steps in order to take further step to integrate them into society.



In the context of our project integration should be:

  1. Dynamic and two-way: it places demands on both receiving societies and the individuals and /or communities involved in this process. Refugee integration is preparing to adapt to the conditions of life of the host society while preserving their own culture and identity. From the host society in the integration process is required a willingness to adapt public institutions to changes in order to accept refugees as part of the national community, and provide necessary measures to facilitate access to resources and decision-making.
  2. Long-term: from a psychological perspective, it often starts with the arrival in the country of final destination and to the point, when a refugee becomes an active member of society in legal, social, economic, educational and cultural perspective


  1. Multi-dimensional: it is related both to the conditions of participation and effective participation in all aspects of economic, social, cultural, civil and political life of the country of durable asylum as well as to refugees’ own perception membership in the host society and its acceptance by it.

Main purposes of the Agency:

How will financial support provided in order to realize this project?

We consider that, the responsibility of integration of refugees lies primarily on national governments. When calculating the cost of programs aimed at the integration of refugees, European governments should take into account the long-term economic and social costs associated with risks of refugee marginalization in the case of public non- intervention at an early stage. Given the refugees opportunity of integration and solidarity within Europe, national governments should continue structural and special funding to achieve the objectives of the EU integration of refugees. Considerable investment needs to be made in services during the reception phase in order to enable people to develop the necessary skills and knowledge that will facilitate integration in the host country in the case of a positive asylum decision. It is also necessary to fund educational programs that enable people to gain qualifications useful for rebuilding their home country in case of return. Moreover, the resources used by European countries to support the integration of refugees, can be various.  Some countries spend most of their GNP to social well-being and have a well-developed program of refugee integration and welfare. In other countries, social protection and integration systems are less developed, and their costs are less than 22% of GNP.  Growing concern of governments and the public is not only problem of social exclusion and marginalization of immigrant communities in Europe, but also the amount of resources used to facilitate the integration of refugees. Also, there is a possibility that financial support, available under the Asylum Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF), could be used to support initiatives to replace (or mitigate) Dublin.

Obstacles to Integration:

First of all, discrimination should be liquidated and equality should be established. Recently, we can observe some cases of intolerance and xenophobia in Europe. As we know, under the EU rule, known as Dublin Regulation, refugees are required to claim asylum in the member state where they first arrive. However, some EU countries, such as Greece, Italy and Croatia have been allowing migrants and refugees to pass through to countries where they have ties and better prospects.  Germany receives by far the most asylum applications in the EU and says it is expecting 800.000 refugees to arrive this year. In order to match Germany’s 2015 projection per population, France would need to accept more than 650.000 people and UK nearly the same amount. But is it happening in reality?  According to the statistics, France has pledged to accept just 24.000 and UK 20.000 over five years. Between 2000-5000 migrants are camped around Calais, which is just 1%-2.5% of the more than 200.000 who have landed in Italy and Greece.  All these lead to some bad consequences, such as some EU politicians and political elites are consciously exploiting the ambiguity of uncertainty of the boundaries, that they treat the refugees as economic migrants in order to justify their own «impossibilism». By «impossibilism»it’s meant of «state of exception». Such kind of terms are used by states to escape their obligations under International and European Law. If we take into consideration Baltic Sea Region, we will  found out that, when it comes to refugees, Scandinavia is deeply divided. Only Sweden is ready to accept everyone who wants to settle there. Denmark claims that they will accept only the good ones. What does it mean? We are not in supermarket buying goods, we talk about a people, so to which extend this is reasonable and fair? If we talk about three small Baltic countries, they have to accept them, but Estonia support Finish position that each country must decide by itself. Poland decided to accept only orthodox refugees, while Germany has announced temporary border controls along its border with Austria on Sept. 13 to deal with the influx of migrants because Germany is at the limit of its capabilities and also Schengen was suspended.

European societies differ greatly in the extent of cultural characteristics and attitudes towards refugees and foreigners in general.  Some societies promote tolerance and acceptance of them, while the others seek to assimilate them into the dominant culture Throughout Europe, NGO’s and religious organizations often play a major role in representing the interests of refugees, ensuring the integration of services and information to the public. At times they contribute to the development of interoperability and information sharing among different groups of the local community. In countries with a strong tradition of voluntary work, NGO’s and religious organizations are involved in recruitment, training volunteers and supervising their work.

The media also plays an important role in the socio-cultural integration of refugees. Their role can be both positive and negative. In some cases, the media can influence the appearance of the negative stereotypes about refugees and foreigners in general. In other cases, they can play a key role in the fight for equal rights, affecting the cases of racism, discrimination and inequality. As a “supplier” of art on television, radio, the media can make its contribution to the participation / non-participation of refugees in the cultural evolution of the society they live in.

Education is a powerful tool in the process of adaptation and social integration. On one hand, it fosters personal development. On the other hand, it improves the chances of contributing to the refugees in the host countries through their participation in the labor market. Some countries organize language tuition for refugees as part of a comprehensive integration programs for newcomers. The duration of such courses varies from three months to three years. In some cases attendance is mandatory for welfare recipients. However, there are countries where is no free language courses.

The EU in order to avoid such negatives cases and provide integration needs to take some measures. Below mentioned ideas can be done in the framework of the Control Agency of Integration and Protection of Asylum Seekers that we consider relevant to be established:

  • The development of society in the direction of greater tolerance is a key precondition for the successful integration of refugees. Governments and institutions, decision-makers should provide political leadership and set the tone in the public debate on tolerance and the policy of eliminating discrimination
  • In order to understand the role of education in shaping public opinion, it is necessary to introduce seminars on human rights and refugee issues in relevant educational programs. Education in schools, colleges and in the workplace should aim at promoting respect for diversity, emphasizing the benefits of cultural diversity and prepare people for the life in an increasing multicultural society.
  • European governments should eliminate discrimination, establish the rights of refugees for the access to the labor market, housing, health and social services.
  • A program of special measures should be established to ensure equal rights of refugees and members of the host society.
  • Any action aimed at the elimination of discrimination and the legislation proposed by the European Union, should also apply to EU citizens and third-country nationals permanently resident in the State – a member of the EU, without any exceptions and differences between citizens and non-citizens.
  • Some multi-sector alliances of social actors should be involved in refugee issues. Such alliances should seek the involvement of the media, political parties, local authorities and businesses, the police, local / national non-governmental organizations, other district associations.
  • NGOs and religious organizations that are in close contact with refugees should play a central role in the debate on the integration of refugees, evaluating the results of social policy and acts as an intermediary between the communities of refugees and the host community and seek influence to public opinion.
  • Our project recommends that provision should be made for special education or language programs for refugees during the initial phase of integration. Financial support on an equal basis with citizens of the host country should also be available for educational purposes and for bridging the gap between refugees’ original qualifications and requirements for entering schools to continue to receive primary education in the host country.
  • All refuges who are going to in a European country should be entitled to the minimum number of hours of free language training. It is necessary to create conditions under which parents could attend such courses, while their children are looked after. During the initial period after their arrival in the country of asylum, refugees must be able to acquire basic language skills.


  1. The number of states in EU should recognize that the Dublin system is not working anymore, and urgently a new urgent approach should be invented
  2. Alternative ways should be found in order refugees to arrive safely in the EU
  3. Ensure member states’ first reception obligations are fulfilled, so that refugees are not forced to move to a second or third member state to be able to live in dignity while their asylum applications are processed
  4. Exclude coercion from all EU mechanisms to allocate asylum seekers to member states. Voluntary mechanisms are the only ones that will work.
  5. Agree on a distribution key to share reception of refugees and determination of their claims in a way that is fair to the refugees and respects their preferences, and fair to member states by ensuring they all play a full part in hosting refugees.
  6. In the long-term, establish EU Control Agency of Integration and Protection of Asylum seekers to take responsibility for ensuring coherent and consistent determination of asylum claims across the EU and provide proper conditions for their integration


Creating legal and safe avenues to access protection in the EU is essential to avoid life threatening journeys and deaths in transit, whether at sea or by land. Safe access would also diminish the burden on coastal member states for search and rescue, reception, and processing of claims.

Dublin should be replaced with a non-coercive, solidarity-based, fundamental rights-compliant system of responsibility allocation for asylum claims. A legally binding EU distribution key must ensure that asylum seekers are received across the EU in a manner that is fair in terms of both the dignity of asylum seekers and the solidarity of the member states. However, distribution key without reception facilities in all member states for asylum seekers who meet EU norms will fail, just as the Dublin system has failed. The central issue for member states is the fair distribution of asylum seekers;

The key issue for asylum seekers is access to acceptable reception facilities and a fair asylum procedure. The set of issues must go hand in hand –no distribution key will work if asylum seekers find themselves in abject conditions with no access to housing, water, food, etc., as is currently the case in some member states. Further, no distribution key will work if it is based on forcing asylum seekers to go to places where there are no acceptable reception facilities available. The EU legislature must accept the interconnected nature of the refugee crisis and fulfill EU and member state obligations to provide protection to refugees in conditions that respect their dignity. We think that the idea of establishment of Control Agency of Integration and Protection of Asylum seekers would be beneficial for both EU and refugees because there is no other way except accepting and afterwards integrating them into society.


Theoretical Background:

Resilience Development Forum. Keynote speech by Antonio Guterres, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.9 November 2015; Dublin Regulation – European Council on Refugees and Exilés; Elspeth Guild, Cathryn Costello,Madeline Garlick, Violeta Moreno-Lax “The 2015 Refugee Crisis in the European Union”. Centre for European Studies (CEPS).No.332, September 2015;


Professor: Andrey Makarychev

Students: Valentina Galechian

Gunay Hasanova

Ruveyda Kiren




About Gunay Hasanova