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Ref. CG-PR 077 (2013)

Congress of the Council of Europe advocates support for migrant integration through entrepreneurship and access to employment

Strasbourg, 30.10.2013 – While EU micro-businesses and SMEs are creating 4 million jobs per year, migrants meet major obstacles specific to their situation in creating enterprises. Moreover, in 2011 over 33 million foreigners were living in the European Union alone, more than 20 million of them being third country nationals and most of employable age. These data feature in two reports adopted by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe on 30 October 2013 in Strasbourg, France, advocating support for migrants’ entrepreneurship and access to the labour market.  This question is crucial for preserving and enhancing social cohesion through more effective policies for the integration of migrants, and it is a major priority for the 47 Council of Europe member states, particularly at this time of economic crisis.

Presented in the Chamber of Local Authorities by Henrik Hammar (Sweden, EPP/CCE), the report on “Integration through self-employment: promoting migrant entrepreneurship in European municipalities” stresses the need to mainstream migrants’ entrepreneurship into municipal economic development strategies and to simplify administrative procedures. This is to be achieved by creating associations of migrant entrepreneurs, their participation in local affairs, provision of specific assistance to migrant entrepreneurs, in particular for access to finance and for improvement of their occupational skills. The recommendation also calls on the national governments and the European institutions to recognise the importance of migrant entrepreneurship for economic integration and development, to review their regulatory and structural frameworks, to facilitate access to micro-financing and to support local action on behalf of migrant entrepreneurship.

The second report, “Migrants’ access to regional labour markets”, was debated on the same day in the Chamber of Regions. Drawn up by Deirdre McGOWAN (Ireland, ILDG) and presented by Inger LINGE (Sweden, EPP/CCE), the report underlines the extensive competences held by regional authorities in many countries of Europe in respect of employment and labour market access. The adopted texts propose the inclusion of strategies for migrants’ employment in the regional economic development plans, and facilitating the evaluation of qualifications together with the procedures for obtaining a work permit. In particular, the recommendation calls upon the national authorities to enforce regional non-discrimination legislative measures regarding employment and to remove or shorten the duration of work restrictions for certain categories of migrants.

·         Report CPR(25)3PROV – Migrants’ access to regional labour markets
Original - Français  - Anglais

·         Report CPL(25)2PROV - Integration through self-employment: promoting migrant entrepreneurship in European municipalities
Original - Français - Anglais

·         File “25th Session”

The Congress has two chambers, the Chamber of Local Authorities and the Chamber of Regions.
It brings together 318 full and 318 substitute members representing more than 200 000 European territorial communities.
President of the Congress: Herwig Van Staa (Austria, EPP/DC), President of the Chamber of Regions: Nataliya Romanova (Ukraine, IDLG), President of the Chamber of Local Authorities: Jean-Claude Frécon (France, SOC)
Political Groups: Socialist Group (SOC), Group of the European People’s Party – Christian Democrats (EPP/CD), Independent and Liberal Democrat Group (ILDG), European Conservatives & Reformists Group  (ECR)