When we talk about integration problems in Europe we are talking about problems which affect the life of two very important groups, migrants and refugees. In this article I want to talk about the main important issues that migrants are facing regarding the integration process here in Europe, which may be the same problems that refugees are facing.
Language is considered as a very important tool to become well integrated. If the newcomer doesn’t speak the native tongue of the host community, it gets very hard to communicate. In general the new comers will not be able to work, or even to do the basic things in life like, shopping, studying, etc if they didn’t reach a good level in the language. The language is important as well to know the culture and the history of the new home, which it’s an important part of the integration as well otherwise the new home will be only a place to live!
In Germany, for example, it’s clear that the government has a plan to help the newcomers to learn the language, the opportunity is available for everyone, and even the courses are well-designed to help the newcomers to gain specific level of the language. In some other countries, we are still facing problems regarding accessing these course as well as its quality. The European Commission has the topic of language courses as one of the main objectives in their plan for integration, but, sadly, once again the Member States are not taking care of this the same way, with the same issue.
Isolation is one of the biggest problems that the newcomers are facing in Europe, specially when we talk about the northern part of Europe, while this problem is not taking big place in the southern part of Europe like Spain and Portugal. The methods of communication are different from country to country in Europe, especially between the north and the south. One very common joke for the newcomers “the north is not only cold in winter, people are even cold in the way they communicate with us”.
“They are unwanted in Denmark, and they will feel that,” the immigration minister, Inger Stojberg, wrote on his Facebook page a few days after the government in Denmark said that they are planning to move the unwelcome foreigners to a most unwelcoming place, a tiny, hard-to-reach island. One of the suggested names for this island is “virus”!!
The identity. How we can talk about integration without talking about the problem of identity. Part the new comers are afraid of integration because they feel it will be the reason to lose their identities, They are not the only one to blamed here, because as well part of the citizens believe that if the newcomer want to be integrated he should replace his own identity with the new identity of the new community.
Actually the issue is much deeper than that, some people consider their identity as part of the ideology they believe, and when you are asking them to change their identity it’s like you are judging their beliefs.
Muslims, for example, the Hijab for the Muslim women, if we looked to the Islamic community in Europe, the Women for example, it’s clear for everyone that hijab was not a barrier for the women to communicate, to study, or even to be successful in her job. It means we need to rethink again about the identity and its part in the integration process. Yes there are many things that every newcomer should learn, practice, even the methods of greeting, methods of talking, the law and the system, a lot of things to discover and to learn to make sure that the integration process will take place.
Everyone must work together
At the end of the day, it’s clear that the integration process is the responsibility of both parts, the newcomers and their host communities. If Europe is really looking for better integration then they should push the governments to do more and better work to prepare these two parts to be able to generate a successful integration process.