In 2011 PROVIDUS identified opportunities and obstacles to the political participation of third Country nationals in 3 EU countries including Latvia. Our research concluded that Latvia should more actively help NGOs representing third country nationals to acquire civic participation skills in order to implement EU’s Common Basic Principles on Integration and the Stockholm program with regard to the integration of migrants. A meaningful planning and evaluation of migrant integration policy is impossible without the existence of strong migrant NGOs, with third country nationals among their members and leadership.
At the same time public administration should establish consultative mechanisms where migrant NGOs could nominate their representatives to engage in a dialogue on any issue that addresses their interests. Currently there are two consultative councils where representatives of ethnic minorities are represented – within the Ministry of Culture and President’s Chancellery. But members of these councils are not nominated by minority (including migrant) NGOs, and their statutes do not proscribe a compulsory inclusion of a representative of third country nationals.
These processes should take place in parallel – one cannot hope for a qualitative dialogue with public administration without having strengthened the capacity of migrant NGOs, but effective participation is difficult without the establishment of inclusive consultative mechanisms. Thus, it is necessary to:
- Develop the civic participation skills and strengthen the capacity to engage in policy processes among migrant NGOs and NGOs that work to support the rights of third country nationals;
- Study the principles of establishment, mandate and operation of consultative mechanisms for migrant integration in other EU countries, aiming to help Latvian public administration to establish an effective consultative mechanism for the participation of third country nationals and their dialogue with public administration.
Therefore the project included the following activities:
- Training and mentorship program for the establishment of a dialogue platform for migrant NGOs;
- Research on the principles of establishment, mandate and results of consultative mechanisms for migration integration in Spain, Ireland and Finland. The conclusions and recommendations of the study were discussed with experts and representatives of state and non-governmental organizations at the public conference “Consultative mechanisms for immigrant integration”.
Presentations from conference in English:
- Consultative bodies for immigrants’ participation: Lessons from three EU countries (Maria Golubeva, PROVIDUS);
- Advisory board for ethnic relations ETNO (Peter Kariuki, ETNO, Finland);
- Consultative Mechanisms on Immigrant Integration Policy (Jennifer Curtin, Immigrant Council of Ireland)
- Spain’s Forum for the Social Integration of Immigrants (Joaquin Arango, Complutense University of Madrid)
The results of the project will also be used to implement the national policy document “National identity, civil society and integration policy guidelines 2012-2018” (adopted by the government in October 2011). It envisages the establishment of a national consultative council in 2012, with the participation of migrant NGOs, as well as representatives of ministries and municipalities.
The study “Consultative bodies and dialogue platforms for immigrant communities: lessons from three EU countries” is available here in Latvian, English and Russian.
For other resources created within the project in Latvian, please see this website.
The project was financed by the European Fund for the Integration of Third Country nationals (with 75% of funding coming from the Fund, and 25% from Latvian state budget).