From the Charter of Fundamental Rights to the Crisis, the State of the Art
As Europe struggles with the most profound economic and social crises in recent history, what happens to the promises of freedom, democracy, equality and respect for the inviolable and inalienable rights of the human person proclaimed in the Preamble of the Treaty on European Union? How does the European Union intend to demonstrate its commitment to fundamental social rights at a time of widespread deregulation and an increasingly precarious labour market? How can we further enhance the democratic and efficient functioning of European institutions when there is a growing distance between citizens and political elites?
This publication is based on papers given at the international conference «Citizenship and Solidarity in the European Union – from the Charter of Fundamental Rights to the Crisis: The State of the Art», which took place in the School of Law at the University of Minho, Portugal, in May 2012. The line-up of contributors includes scholars from southern and northern Europe and Brazil, and together the papers constitute a lively and productive debate about the future of Europe.
The Anatomy of Civic Integration (Dora Kostakopoulou)
← 74 | 75 →The Anatomy of Civic Integration
University of Southampton
Whereas pluralism and respect for diversity were often cited themes in politics and everyday life in the 1980s and most of the 1990s, the rejuvenation of nations and the maintenance of cohesive societies via integration programmes and tests have become prominent policy objectives in Western Europe in the new millennium. The multicultural paradigm was first displaced in the Netherlands following the entry into force of the 1998 Newcomer Integration Act which required newcomers to attend language and “social orientation” courses. Following the Dutch initiative and New Labour’s Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002, which tightened naturalization requirements by introducing a test on “sufficient knowledge about life in the United Kingdom” in addition to language proficiency, the “civic integration paradigm” has taken root in Europe over the last six years. All “old migration countries”,1 with the exception of Belgium and France, require applicants for naturalization to take civic orientation tests and pre-existing language requirements have been tightened and reinforced. Migrants are also required to attend language and civic orientation courses and, in most cases, to sit integration tests, in order to enter and/or obtain permanent residence in the Netherlands, Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Luxembourg and the UK. Non-attendance of integration courses affects their access to social benefits in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, France and the UK. More controversially, since 2006 integration requirements and tests have “migrated” abroad, that is, to (non-European) states of origin, thereby serving as switches...
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