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The Europeanization of Integration Policy and its Implications for Third Country Nationals residing in the EU

Panagiotis Sfaelos

The Europeanization of immigration policies, including integration policies, has been developing gradually since the Treaty of Amsterdam [ToA] (1997), which communitarized immigration policies under Title IV EC. Prior to the ToA, the status of third country nationals residing in the Member States was a matter regulated by national immigration laws. EU law had only marginal role to play in that regard. EU immigration legislation, adopted since the ToA, has undoubtedly created a new legal framework for the facilitation of the integration of immigrants and their families.The EU legislative measures on integration and family reunion of third country nationals, especially of those with long-term residence status are discussed in this paper. In this context, we provide an analysis of the levels of integration of immigrants in different sectors of the European economy and society (labour market, agricultural sector, education, social insurance and political participation). Essential statistics are taken into account in our analysis, in order to give a complete picture of the status of third country nationals in the EU today. The implications of the Europeanization of integration policies will be critically assessed. The crucial question is whether EU legislation on integration has achieved adequate levels of harmonization in this area. The fact that there are still important differences in the rights afforded to third country nationals across the Member States demonstrates the low levels of harmonization.The conclusions of the paper show that essential progress has been made in relation to the development of a common policy on integration but the EU has still long way to go, in order to develop a comprehensive immigration policy respecting the human rights of third country nationals to integration and family life for the benefit of both the migrant and local populations.

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