22 Sep 2009

Education and Political Participation of Migrants and Ethnic Minorities in the EU

Policy Analysis

Anaïs Faure Atger

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This report aims at providing an overview of the ways in which the link between the education and political participation of migrants and minorities is being developed by EU policy. The first legally binding, common instrument where this link appeared was adopted in 1977 (Council Directive 77/486/EEC on the education of children of migrant workers); yet according to the European Commission, it appears that its implementation, 30 years on, is still not satisfactory. The fact that the Directive was limited to EU citizens further contributes to a narrowing of the personal scope of this instrument, as according to Art. 17 of the Treaty establishing the European Community, EU citizens are those persons holding the nationality of a member state. Thereafter, legally binding measures with an impact on the education of migrants and ethnic minorities have only been adopted through policy initiatives relating to non-discrimination and to the integration of legally residing third-country nationals. After conducting an analysis of the relevant EU legislative acts and policies, three different approaches have been identified in connection with the policy-making processes embracing the education and political participation of migrants and ethnic minorities: the principle of equal treatment, the inclusion of youth and the integration of third-country nationals. The relevance of the latest developments and in particular the European Commission’s 2008 Green Paper on migration and education are also examined.