“A pact for the integration and participation of people of immigrant origin in Europe’s towns, cities and regions” - CPL (11) 4 Part II

Helene LUND, Denmark,
Chamber of Local Authorities
Political Group : SOC
Wolfgang SCHUSTER, Germany,
Chamber of Local Authorities
Political Group: EPP/CD



I. Introduction

1. Congress meetings and previous events

In keeping with its founding principles, which include the protection of human rights, the Council of Europe has, for over 25 years, striven to secure recognition of the social and political rights of foreigners legally resident in member states.

In November 1992, it invited its member states to sign and ratify a fundamental text in this field – the Convention on the participation of foreigners in public life at local level (http://conventions.coe.int ). Unfortunately, the Convention has to date been signed by no more than 10 member states and ratified by only 7: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden. And yet the participation measures it proposes are flexible and gradual, and can be adapted to the situation in each member state. They include:

- providing foreign residents with comprehensive information on their civic rights and duties;

- setting up advisory committees or other bodies which to give foreign residents a voice at local authority level;

- giving foreigners who satisfy certain residence requirements the right to vote and stand for election at local level.

Unfortunately, the Convention is still too little known, since some European countries are already implementing the measures it proposes without having signed or ratified it. At any rate, foreign residents’ participation in local public life is being widely debated throughout Europe today.

The Congress has organised several European meetings to publicise the Convention:

i. the Strasbourg conference, "What participation by foreign residents in public life at local level?"1, which was held at the Council of Europe on 5-6 November 1999, and attracted 400 participants. At the end of this conference, an Appeal was addressed to the European institutions and to Council of Europe member states and their local authorities and political parties, urging them to give foreign residents, regardless of nationality, the right to vote and stand in local elections. It also emphasised that member states should sign, ratify and apply the Council of Europe Convention of 5 November 1992. Ms Helene Lund (Denmark) presented the conference’s conclusions at the Congress’s 7th Plenary Session, and they are also embodied in Recommendation 76 (2000) and Resolution 92 (2000) on the participation of foreign residents in local public life2.

ii. the Stuttgart hearing3, (14 December 2001), which was organised by the Committee on Culture and Education of the Chamber of Local Authorities at the invitation of one of its members, Mr Wolfgang Schuster, Mayor of Stuttgart. This was attended by some one hundred participants, who focused on one of the measures proposed in the Council Convention - consultative councils - and compared their experience of applying it. The hearing’s conclusions, and also Recommendation 115 (2002) and Resolution 141 (2002)4, were incorporated into the report presented to the Chamber of Local Authorities by Mr Schuster and Ms Dirksen (NL) at the Congress’s Plenary Session in 2002.

iii. Finally, again at Mr Schuster’s invitation, the Congress and the City of Stuttgart organised the Stuttgart Conference, “Foreigners’ integration and participation in European cities” on 15-16 September 2003. This was extremely successful, attracting over 400 participants - many of them well-known figures - from 30 countries (see programme in appendix). This report is chiefly concerned with the conclusions of that conference.

2. The objectives of the Stuttgart Conference, 15-16 September 2003

The conference set out to broaden the debate to cover all aspects of integrating foreign nationals and persons of foreign origin into European cities - culturally, socially, economically and politically.

For several years, Stuttgart has itself been pursuing an active and progressive integration policy. This is detailed in a document, “A Pact for Integration – Stuttgart’s experience”, in which it describes its aims, the things it has done, and its approach to cross-funding of the various projects involved. Stuttgart is the German city with the lowest unemployment rate for foreign residents, and is particularly proud of its German-language teaching programmes for immigrant children and adults.

The objectives of the Stuttgart conference were to:

- promote the pooling of experience and encourage dialogue between European cities on local policies for the integration and participation of foreign residents;
- launch a network of towns and cities to foster co-operation in this area;
- adopt a draft local authorities handbook on consultative bodies for foreign residents, as proposed in the Council of Europe’s 1992 Convention on the participation of foreigners in public life at local level;
- adopt a declaration on local policies for the integration of foreign residents in Europe.

3. Cross-sectoral co-operation at the Council of Europe

As soon as preparations for the conference began, the Congress set out to involve the other Council of Europe sectors concerned by this question, and representatives of those sectors - particularly members of the Parliamentary Assembly, the European Committee on Migration (CDMG) and the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) - contributed to the conference discussions (the representative of the Steering Committee on Local and Regional Democracy (CDLR) was unfortunately prevented at the last minute from attending).

This cross-sectoral co-operation was supported by Council of Europe Integrated Project 1 “Making democratic institutions work5 (which also helped to cover the cost of the conference), and co-ordinated by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities (Congress).

4. Handbook on local consultative bodies for foreign residents

One important aspect of the Stuttgart conference was the presentation of a Handbook on local consultative bodies for foreign residents.

Such bodies are one of the approaches to promoting participation suggested in the Council of Europe’s 1992 Convention (Article 5).

In the last thirty years, structures of this kind have been established in over ten states. They are genuine instruments of local democracy, and strengthen the social and political cohesion of towns and cities which are becoming increasingly multicultural. They help to ensure that the various population groups coexist peacefully, and they foster citizenship by providing platforms for dialogue and co-operation between foreign residents and nationals.

The handbook is a sort of compendium of guidelines on setting up consultative bodies for foreign residents and ensuring that they function smoothly. It does not tell the story of such structures in Europe, but it draws inspiration from past schemes and is – above all – based on present ones. It accordingly provides information on existing structures for the purpose of (1) encouraging them to improve, (2) promoting the establishment of more such bodies, and also (3) encouraging existing and new ones to evolve and pool their experience. It is aimed at all local protagonists (municipal authorities, consultative councils and associations) who want fuller political participation of all citizens at local level.

With backing from Integrated Project I, “Making democratic institutions work”, the handbook was prepared by two researchers, Mr Marco Martiniello and Ms Sonia Gsir (Liège, Belgium), who relied on information and comments provided by experts from towns and cities with consultative structures, and from the European Committee on Migration (CDMG), the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) and the Ad hoc Committee of Experts on the Legal Aspects of Territorial Asylum, Refugees and Stateless Persons (CAHAR).

Following its presentation at the Stuttgart conference, the Handbook will now be published and circulated as widely as possible to Congress members, local and regional elected representatives, national and international associations of local and regional authorities, and the Council of Europe governmental experts concerned with migration, integration and participation by foreign residents in public life at local level.

The Handbook is meant to be up-dated and improved as necessary, and the Congress secretariat would welcome comments and further information on practical experience with consultative bodies of this type in Europe.

II. Summary of proceedings of the Conference6


Dr Wolfgang SCHUSTER, Mayor of Stuttgart

The Mayor of Stuttgart welcomed and thanked the President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, Dr van STAA, the national and regional parliamentary representatives and those representing diplomatic and consular missions, as well as the representatives of the thirty countries taking part in the discussions on finding ways to live in harmony in cosmopolitan towns and cities.

In former times, Stuttgart had been part of a region of emigration, with the result that Swabians were to be found scattered throughout the globe. Gradually, the city had grown and developed a strong economy thanks to substantial exports and the development of advanced technologies. It had thus become a city of immigration, receiving first the Gastarbeiter, followed by other migrants who had moved there for a variety of reasons, and in particular persons of German descent arriving from the former Soviet Union. Foreigners made up about a quarter of the population, and the city was home to some 180 different nationalities. Coexistence worked well: the city authorities endeavoured to allow each community to play an active role in the life of the city. However, some problems remained, notably with regard to the situation of refugees, the building of large mosques and ghetto areas. Despite these problems, the city hoped to continue welcoming those who migrated there as part of the process of globalisation.

Integration in Stuttgart was based first and foremost on the premise that migrants should be treated on an equal footing rather than as charity cases. That notion was central to the definition of reciprocal rights and obligations, which was the objective of the integration pact. The diverse profiles of migrants, too, called for a tailor-made policy which better served the interests of everyone. The two main planks of integration policy were to promote equality of opportunity through the teaching of German and to reduce anonymity, a common feature of urban life, by opening up meeting spaces such as clubs or cultural associations, and through inter-faith dialogue. Integration depended too on a number of players such as municipal officials, the churches and sporting associations. Stuttgart had also been the first German city to set up a consultative council made up of elected representatives. The participants in the Conference were invited to present their models and engage in a joint discussion on integration policy.

Mr Walter SCHWIMMER, Secretary General of the Council of Europe

Managing the flow of migrants and of refugees in particular from Africa and Asia, posed a major challenge to all European institutions, whether at local, regional, national or international level. While immigration policy was a matter for national governments, it was the towns and cities which were in the frontline when it came to ensuring day-to-day management of the social and cultural problems thrown up by the coexistence of diverse and changing communities. Integration issues were played out first and foremost at local level. Integration did not affect just new arrivals, but also foreign residents who had lived for many years in European towns and cities. It was important, therefore, for local and regional authorities to exchange information and experience on the subject of intercultural and inter-religious dialogue and the introduction of conflict prevention measures, in order to achieve social and cultural integration. “Circular” migration was another issue. Some migrants stayed for only a short period before returning home, or commuted between their country of origin and the host country; this sometimes had an adverse effect on their integration into the host society.

The Council of Europe had devised instruments to help countries manage migration flows and, in particular, to help new residents to integrate. Knowledge of the host country’s language was a key factor in integration. With this in mind, the Council of Europe had launched a special programme under the banner “Learn your neighbour’s language”. Language teaching continued to be a priority for the municipalities. One of the fundamental tools created by the Council of Europe was the 1992 Convention on the Participation of Foreigners in Public Life at Local Level, to which all the member states were invited to accede. It comprised three categories of flexible measures which could be varied according to the local situation: informing foreign residents of their civic rights and duties, the creation of consultative bodies to represent foreign residents at local level and the granting of political rights at local level to foreign residents. Of these measures, the creation of consultative councils for foreign residents was an important step towards the integration of foreigners and the development of local democracy. The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, moreover, had recently prepared a guide to best practice in the operation of such councils. Young people must also be drawn into the consultation process; the European Charter on the Participation of Young People in Local and Regional Life aimed to achieve just that.

Other instruments existed, such as the European Convention on the Legal Status of Migrant Workers, and the Convention currently in preparation on human trafficking. In addition, a committee of experts had prepared, during the year 2000, a strategy for managing migration flows in Europe. It was essential, too, to involve non-governmental players in the integration of foreign residents, and to disseminate practical experiences at local and regional level throughout Europe. The slogan of the Rio Conference “Think global, act local” could be applied in this context, and served to underline the importance of cities and municipalities in the political dialogue on managing migration flows.

Dr Herwig van STAA, President of the Congress of Regional and Local Authorities and Governor of Tyrol

Integration had to be a political priority for Europe. Migration patterns had diversified over the past fifty years, and it was important to distinguish between the issue of refugees and that of migrants in general. Furthermore, while the arrival of new migrants might arouse mixed feelings, oscillating between pity, fear and powerlessness, an objective view of the situation showed that large numbers of European towns and cities were already very cosmopolitan, and that the different cultures coexisted peacefully. However, the shockwaves from the attacks of 11 September had intensified negative attitudes towards migrants and minorities and contributed towards focusing the debate on migration increasingly on controlling illegal immigration.

It was necessary to acknowledge such tensions and promote integration between the two sides. Integration was a process which required a willingness to integrate on the part of both the foreign residents and the host society: it did not come about of its own accord. That implied on the one hand acquiring a basic grasp of the language and culture of the host country, and on the other hand assistance and support for that process. In addition, for integration to occur, the numbers of migrants must be in balance with the size of the existing population.

The concept of citizenship, too, had evolved. Citizenship was no longer based solely on nationality, but on a community of rights and obligations within a locality. With this in mind, the Congress had drawn up the Convention on the Participation of Foreigners in Public Life at Local Level, and more recently, had prepared a handbook for local authorities on local consultative bodies for foreign residents. The participants were invited to refer to that publication to promote integration. Each and every person must be allowed to participate in the life of the city within a well-defined framework. While, as a general rule, national integration programmes were drawn up through a process of co-operation between central government, the local and regional authorities, the social partners and civil society, the towns and municipalities were at the epicentre of integration. Municipalities were thus ideally placed to promote integration. Accordingly, it was vital for towns and cities to receive substantial funding from central government.

The Conference provided an opportunity for a constructive dialogue between political leaders. While it was essential to debate and campaign for the integration of those foreign residents already present, consideration must also be given to the integration of new arrivals. There was a real need for coherent integration programmes which addressed the specific issues arising on the ground.


Dr Dieter FILSINGER, Catholic Institute for Social Affairs, Saarbrücken, Germany

Migration was a modern phenomenon in European societies and states, which now had multicultural cities engaged in the process of integration and inclusion or exclusion. However, social cohesion issues were not confined to the sphere of migration, and there was a need to conduct a broader campaign against exclusion and marginalisation. In addition, cultural pluralism must involve all stakeholders, in order to ensure that migrants were given fair treatment with regard to living conditions, the right to education and equality of opportunity. What was at stake, then, was the issue of social relations between minorities and the majority.

Discrimination and territorial segregation were a fact. Integration policies showed that conflicts differed according to region. There were also positive examples of peaceful coexistence. A considered approach to difference and to multiculturalism was needed, involving clarification of the respective roles of the State on the one hand and towns and cities, NGOs and citizens on the other. In Germany and elsewhere, projects were underway aimed at increasing political participation. This must be anchored in a policy of integration, in other words a social policy aimed at combating economic and social marginalisation, in which education played a leading role.

Integration was an ongoing, cross-sectoral task calling for a concerted strategy and mobilisation of resources. Dr Filsinger recalled the ten recommendations made under the Cities of Tomorrow programme at a congress held in Essen in September 2001 on the theme of integration strategies – the multiethnic society and local government. These consisted of:

    - developing an overall intercultural vision;
    - promoting municipal networks in order to underpin the integration process;
    - employing officials from immigrant backgrounds in local administration;
    - developing skills in intercultural management as a policy objective;
    - better coordinating practice in schools and local initiatives via community schools;
    - focusing on language teaching for pre-school children and on increasing parental involvement;
    - fostering the integrating role of local authorities as model employers;
    - campaigning actively against economic exclusion by mean of State-subsidised anti-discrimination programmes;
    - supporting communities through the symbolic representation of migrants;
    - broadening political participation by supporting migrants’ organisations.

    Integration policies could be broken down into three main modular components:

    - Module A: training and qualification. Young migrants should have access to training leading to a professional qualification. Schools should be regarded as centres for integration.
    - Module B: urban planning. Action must be taken on ghettoes, which locked migrants further into inequality and social disadvantage. Intercultural mediation was a crucial element in this strategic module.
    - Module C: involving institutions. Population groups of immigrant origin must have a place in institutional structures. This meant opening up institutions to multicultural pluralism.

Finally, integration policy must comprise a number of elements. First, it must grant equal opportunities to all citizens with regard to housing and employment. Second, it must be grafted onto existing social policy. Third, it must address the dual issues of exclusion and integration in order to increase the room for manoeuvre of all groups, not just minorities. Fourth, integration policy must create common spaces, places for exchange and contacts between groups of different origins. What was needed, therefore, was a positive and interactive policy which promoted coexistence between groups from diverse backgrounds. The prerequisites for such a policy were political will, strategic planning, institutional structures and intermediary bodies, allied to a bottom-up approach, open consultation and social monitoring including project evaluation. The policy must furthermore be based on a clear and well-defined national policy in pursuit of the same objectives. The integration and participation of migrants in towns and cities was a public policy issue involving a learning process on all sides. Learning to live together was vital for all the city’s inhabitants.


Decision-making in a multicultural society

Mr J.J.H.M. METZEMAKERS, Senior policy officer, City of The Hague, Netherlands

In the Netherlands, the belief that minorities had been successfully integrated into Dutch society had given way over the past two decades to a consensus that integration policy had failed. In addition, the prevailing climate of insecurity and uncertainty had led to extreme reactions to foreigners, as witnessed in the suspicion sometimes encountered by Muslims. In view of such trends, it was time to reflect on the kind of society to which people in the Netherlands aspired.

Dutch society had often been described as multicultural. However, a society made up of different nationalities was not necessarily multicultural. That was the case only when all the members of society enjoyed the same rights, had equal decision-making power and were able fully to express their identity in both private and public spheres. Those who wished to attain that ideal must focus their efforts on integrating rather than assimilating ethnic and cultural minorities.

Society could not be divided neatly into two camps, “us” and “them”. Strictly speaking, there was no such thing as a dominant culture; instead, a number of “subcultures” coexisted and forged temporary alliances. It was a society based on negotiation, implying that each member must be entitled to a say in decision-making. Bearing that in mind, efforts to promote the participation of ethnic minorities were based on a three-pronged approach. First, foreigners who had been residing lawfully in the Netherlands for five years had the right to vote and to stand for election in local elections. In practice, only 50% of foreign residents in underprivileged areas availed themselves of that right. Second, since the late 1970s, a number of towns and cities had set up consultative councils for ethnic minorities, which could be consulted by the municipal councils or could themselves initiate consultations. Since the granting of a vote to foreign residents, however, the role of these councils had diminished. While they acted as a springboard for political participation, their aims had sometimes been ill-defined. Third, neighbourhood councils also acted as channels for political participation by ethnic minorities, although the latter, like young people, were often underrepresented on them.

Despite the efforts undertaken, levels of political participation among ethnic minorities remained low. The levels among nationals also left something to be desired. However, participation needed to be encouraged. Ethnic minorities had the right to air their views and be heard, even if their opinions differed from, or were opposed to, those of the majority. That need not result in cultural relativism, as Dutch law would continue to provide the framework for dialogue, determining the rights and responsibilities of each individual. But the laws could also be changed to suit the circumstances. In sum, everyone must be involved in shaping a multicultural society. Ethnic communities should not be regarded as groups but as collections of individuals. It was essential to be even-handed in constructing such a multicultural society; ethnic minorities must not have to meet more stringent requirements than nationals, people must be open and cast aside prejudices towards Islam in particular, groups such as women and young people must be involved and, finally, the debate on integration must be ringfenced to prevent its being dominated by overall migration policy.

The integration of foreign residents in Moscow

Mr Sergey SMIDOVICH, First Deputy Head of the Department for Economic Policy of the City of Moscow, Russian Federation

The integration of migrants was a complex social and multi-faceted process which encompassed housing, employment, medical assistance, the acquisition of new knowledge, etc. The adaptation of migrants and foreign residents in the city of Moscow had assumed critical importance in Russian migration policy. The federal migration programme had enabled Moscow to provide housing for a certain number of forced migrants outside the city, but much remained to be done.

Despite the current fall in the number of forced migrants, integration of this category of citizens remained a complex and lengthy task. Furthermore, as far as housing was concerned, migrants were competing with permanent residents. Education was a further crucial factor in the integration of foreign residents. In Moscow, schools with an ethnic and cultural component had been set up. Children tended to adapt more quickly than adults, and were quick to pick up the language.

The City of Moscow’s programme to control migration was working. Its aim was to ensure that migration occurred in harmony with the city’s economic and social development. Specifically, it included mechanisms for managing the problems of asylum-seekers and refugees in co-operation with international organisations such as the International Organization for Migration and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Migration was hitherto a major component of federal integration policy, and it was important for Russia to establish an effective immigration policy which served the interests of both State and people.

Integration in Walsall (United Kingdom)

Mr Mohammed NAZIR, Member of the Congress, Member of Walsall Council, United Kingdom

Walsall was a town in the West Midlands with a population of 25 000 and a wealth of different cultures and communities which coexisted peacefully. What had the municipality and the different communities done to ensure harmonious coexistence?

First of all, Walsall Council had taken a lead in setting up a department with responsibility for ensuring equal access to services for all the resident communities. This was based on the 2000 Race Relations Act which required each local authority to set in place a scheme to improve race equality for service users. The aim was to ensure that council employees provided services to all users on an equal footing. The scheme helped to raise awareness among politicians while increasing the confidence of ethnic minorities in public services. It was of real assistance in developing good practice and reducing the number of discrimination claims.

While problems remained in Walsall, as in the rest of the United Kingdom, the town was confident it was taking the right approach, and had set up a number of projects accordingly. First of all, action was being taken to rehabilitate the most deprived areas – which also had the highest concentration of ethnic communities – by means of a specific budget on which the communities concerned were consulted. Next, public sector housing was allocated on the basis of a bottom-up approach, allowing local communities to participate in public housing policy. Finally, despite the tendency to blame foreigners, asylum-seekers and members of ethnic communities for crime and offending, relations between the police and the communities had taken a turn for the better. The police encouraged recruitment from ethnic minorities, while consultative forums were being held involving the police and the local population in a bid to devise a joint approach to tackling crime.

There remained the issue of asylum-seekers, numbering around 1 500 from some thirty countries. This was a thorny issue not just in the United Kingdom, but in other countries in the European Union. The United Kingdom’s long history of community integration gave it a head start.

Integration and participation of foreign residents in the city of Lausanne (Switzerland)

Ms Silvia ZAMORA, Municipal Councillor, Lausanne, Switzerland

Foreign residents accounted for around 20% of the Swiss population. They were concentrated in major urban centres such as Basle, Bern, Geneva, Zurich and Lausanne. Their integration was a complex matter as it involved the three tiers of authority of the Swiss federal system: the federal government, the twenty-six cantons and the 2 880 municipalities.

Of a total of 169 000 foreign residents in the canton of Vaud, a third lived in Lausanne. Lausanne was also the municipality with the greatest number of requests for asylum, and was home to between 4 000 and 6 000 foreign nationals who had no residence permit. Integration into a city called for a social policy which met the needs of people in often precarious circumstances.

Lausanne was a pioneer in four areas of activity. In the field of schools policy, classes for non-native speakers had been set up in order to promote equality of opportunity between Swiss and foreign nationals. On the education policy front, Lausanne furnished a substantial annual grant to a network of associations providing free basic tuition to adults in French, reading, arithmetic and logic. Adult education, however, fell within the remit of the cantons. With regard to social policy, Lausanne was addressing the issue of unlawfully residing or clandestine migrants. As it had no powers in the immigration policy field, it had set up a working party to study the issue. The working party had come up with a number of proposals designed to ensure that clandestine migrants had access to basic healthcare, food and emergency housing. Finally, with regard to participation by foreign residents, a consultative body for foreign residents had been in existence since 1977, and foreign residents had been granted political rights at cantonal level in 2003. Hence, as in the case of Lausanne, cities could influence integration policy at other levels of government. The transfer of ideas could take place through bilateral contacts with the cantons and the federal government, and multilateral contacts between towns and cities.

The experience of Bologna: the Charter of rights and obligations for civic coexistence

Mr Giovanni SALIZZONI, Deputy Mayor of Bologna, Italy

For the past two years, the City of Bologna had been endeavouring to tackle integration issues, and had promoted a series of initiatives entitled Experiencing the city together. Six keywords summed up the project: identity (the assertion of who one was, with the corollary of respect for others), school, work, home (places of education, resources and family life to which everyone was entitled), rules (essential in order to live together), and financial resources (essential in order to put principles into action).

The existence of new instruments, in the form of the community foundations, made it possible to obtain funding from companies, banks and individuals in order to tackle social problems and problems linked to immigration. The City of Bologna had also focused on important aspects of coexistence such as schools and training, as well as housing.

Finally, prompted by the notion that the host community also had its own identity, Bologna had drawn up a Charter of rights and obligations for civic coexistence, which was more a pact than an instrument of coercion. Based on personal choice, integration was the culmination of a historical process, a cultural phenomenon which could not be ordered by decree. The Charter contained nine articles. Article 1 set out the conditions for coexistence, and comprised the Charter for coexistence. Article 2 defined the measures leading to civic integration. The third article outlined the commitment of the municipality to combat all forms of discrimination or racism. In Article 4, the municipality undertook to ensure the existence of instruments to enable immigrants to acquire knowledge (in particular a knowledge of Italian) and be informed. Article 5 defined the instruments for coordinating activities in the sphere of immigration. The subsequent articles stressed the importance of school (Article 6), healthcare (Article 7) and access to jobs and housing (Article 8) in the integration process. Finally, Article 9 dealt with municipal assistance to political refugees. The Charter had been translated into nine languages and had thus been widely disseminated. Moreover, it had become a kind of charter of the city’s identity, and was handed out to each resident issued with an identity card. The municipal council had set up a working party to draft the outline Charter. Finalisation of the text had taken two years of discussions within the municipal council and with the trade unions.

Those who were unable to read and write had access to information on the Charter in particular via the reception centres for new arrivals and migrant workers.

Integration in Barcelona

Ms Núria CARRERA, Municipal Councillor, Barcelona, Spain

Like most Spanish cities, Barcelona was experiencing growing diversity and an increasing mix of cultures. A political agreement had first been concluded in 2002 between all the political parties in order to establish an immigration plan. This was an external pact between the regional and local governments, but also involved social players like the associations and the trade unions. Its aims were to promote social cohesion and coexistence, take account of cultural diversity, regulate access to all services and promote participation and political consensus. Its three strategic planks were cohesion, the importance of diversity and coexistence in conflict situations.

With regard to political participation, Barcelona had adopted a law governing the full range of participatory councils. A foreign residents’ council had been set up in 1997, along the same lines as the women’s council, the tourism council, etc., and was recognised by the municipal council. After six years of existence, it had evolved into a pressure group campaigning for improvements to the law on foreign residents, which had been made more stringent, and a partner in dialogue for the municipal council on issues of concern to foreign residents. In the future, the foreign residents’ council hoped to make itself more representative and support the network of associations which existed. Its role was purely consultative, and it was not always representative of all immigrants, especially the most recent arrivals who had not yet set up associations. However, it also had some advantages: it wielded a certain amount of political influence and served as a pressure group and a platform for negotiation. It was also a source of information for foreign residents. Hence, it was essential for bodies of this kind to be established to help promote political dialogue. Towns and cities had a major strategic role to play in the process of cultural blending (mezcla) which was taking place in Europe.

Stuttgart, a Pact for integration

Mr Gari PAVKOVIC, Local Commissioner for the integration of foreign residents, Department of integration of the City of Stuttgart, Germany

In Stuttgart, foreign residents accounted for 23% of the population, the second-highest proportion of any German city. A total of 177 nationalities lived together in the city. Effective integration measures were therefore needed in order to put this diversity to positive use. Integration in Stuttgart was seen as a task which extended across the board and required the co-operation of all concerned, be they public or private sector organisations, political bodies or individuals – Germans and foreigners - and their associations. Hence, issues specific to migrants were dealt with by each municipal department.

The aims of Stuttgart’s integration policy were threefold. First, to promote participation and equality of opportunity for migrants. Projects to promote equal opportunities were therefore encouraged, their absence being seen as discrimination. Second, to foster peaceful coexistence between the different communities and thereby improve social cohesion. The third and final aim was to make the most of the city’s cultural resources in order to enhance intercultural dialogue.

In order to realise these objectives, the emphasis was placed on four main spheres of action. First, language courses were organised, as well as courses on integration in the specific context of Stuttgart. These consisted of integration courses organised by the Land, comprising 150 hours of German and two hours of one-to-one consultation for each participant, and of courses in beginners’ German totalling 150 hours and also organised locally. Second, integration at local level was promoted by means of day-to-day intercultural dialogue and activities bringing together different communities, and through the presence of mediators who were on hand in the event of disputes between neighbours. Third, there was support for German teaching for children in kindergartens and schools. Fourth, the use of cultural resources was encouraged, in particular through the recruitment of qualified migrants into the municipal departments and by establishing multicultural teams equipped to respond to the needs of a diverse population.

As far as political participation was concerned, a consultative committee of foreign residents had been in existence in Stuttgart for twenty years. Today, it was known as the international committee, and consisted of twelve directly-elected members who were non-EU nationals and twelve other members: four from European Union countries, appointed by the parties, and eight specialists. Some of its members sat on other advisory committees. However, participation in the election of members of the international committee and members elected for committee sessions was restricted, and other more effective forms of participation might need to be devised. Successful participation was contingent upon the social integration of migrants. To that end, there was a need to establish a committee responsible for integration and migration issues, made up of suitably qualified individuals.


Mr Harrie VAN ONNA, Senior Policy Officer of the City of Rotterdam, representative of Eurocities, Netherlands

European towns and cities often lacked the resources to fulfil all their obligations regarding migrants and their integration. In addition, they were rarely consulted by central government, although they were responsible for ensuring implementation of its policies. Eurocities, a network of just over 130 towns and cities, had therefore produced a recommendation addressed to European government institutions aimed at contributing to good governance with regard to the reception and integration of immigrants and asylum-seekers. The emphasis was on the importance of an integrated, multi-faceted approach in which everyone was given equal treatment with regard to the procedures to be implemented. The recommendation also called for efforts to promote coordination among cities, and stressed the role of individual citizens.

Furthermore, an observatory on integration issues in major European cities had been established. Its headquarters were in Barcelona, and it received particular support from some fifteen towns and cities. Its mission was threefold: to act as a monitoring station for migration in major European cities, to devise new integration strategies and, finally, to prepare pilot projects. Eurocities was engaged in an ongoing open dialogue not just with cities, but also with government representatives.


Presentation of the handbook on local consultative bodies for foreign residents

Dr Marco MARTINIELLO, Senior Research Officer at the National Scientific Research Foundation and Director of the Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Migration (CEDEM), Liège, Belgium, and Ms Sonia GSIR, research assistant at CEDEM, Liège, Belgium

This practical handbook was designed to encourage the setting-up of local consultative bodies for foreign residents in the member states of the Council of Europe. It was based on the Council of Europe Convention on the Participation of Foreigners in Public Life at Local Level of 5 February 1992, Article 5 of which proposed the establishment of consultative bodies for foreign residents at local level. Local consultative bodies for foreign residents had the potential to play an extremely important role in social and political cohesion in European towns and cities, which were becoming increasingly multicultural. They could prove to be a valuable asset in developing local democracy, benefiting the entire city.

The handbook thus set out the building blocks for these consultative bodies and made constructive suggestions for improving them. Accordingly, it was intended for use by all local stakeholders (municipal authorities, consultative councils, associations) wishing to improve political participation by all citizens at local level.

Local consultative bodies for foreign residents were democratic bodies set up locally which established consultation between elected representatives and foreign residents. They were a tool for ensuring political participation and representing and defending the interests of all foreign residents at the local level. In order to function effectively, the consultative bodies therefore had to be in constant communication with local elected representatives and foreign residents. Without a consultative body, the dialogue between local elected representatives and foreign residents was likely to be haphazard, informal and unequal, especially if foreign residents had no right to vote or to stand for election at local level.

Most existing consultative bodies set out their objectives in varying degrees of detail. The overall objectives could be summarised as follows. The aim was to integrate foreign residents and secure their involvement in local public life while improving and harmonising relations between foreign residents and other sectors of the community. The consultative bodies also laid down other objectives that were specific to local needs and priorities. It was vital to pinpoint exactly what objectives the consultative body for foreign residents sought to achieve. If their aims were clearly and precisely defined, it would be easier to evaluate their activities and functioning. It was essential also to classify the objectives in the light of priorities and the resources available and to regularly reassess and adapt them.


Consultative bodies carried out a variety of activities. In addition to their consultative role, consisting in forwarding to the municipal council opinions and recommendations on specific topics, they were also active in the spheres of local policy and social and cultural activities. It was suggested that consultative bodies should focus on consultation and local political action, and simply promote activities pursued by other bodies such as associations. The scope of consultations could include any topic relating to the running of the city. Finally, it was essential to monitor and evaluate the activities conducted and to inform all the city’s residents of the results obtained.


The members were the driving force behind consultative bodies. They were chosen on the basis of different criteria such as nationality and their role within the structure (representing a community or a municipal council). Bearing in mind their core task of increasing political participation by foreigners, the consultative bodies devised different means of ensuring that all foreign residents were represented. The “one nationality, one member” formula was not always the solution. An individual was not necessarily representative of his or her national community, and “ethnic” representatives might put their own personal interests before those of the community. Accordingly, a flexible approach to selection criteria for members was advised, as well as an open-ended and differentiated membership. A directly elected structure based on equal representation should be encouraged, with a balance between male and female members. Finally, encouragement should be given to training for members.


The initiative to set up a consultative body could come from either the municipal councillors or foreign residents or their associations. In some cases, national or regional legislation promoted the creation of such bodies, or even made them compulsory. In addition local consultative bodies might, depending on circumstances, have different types of resources at their disposal: human, financial and administrative resources and communication tools. Some consultative bodies had the benefit of a regional coordinating or representative body, which could lend support to the activities of the local consultative body and act as a link to regional and national government. In a number of cases, despite the existence of a consultative body, local elected representatives had failed to consult it or had done so after a decision had already been taken. For the consultation process to operate smoothly, therefore, the consultation mechanisms needed to be institutionalised. That entailed clarifying the rights and duties of both the municipal council and the consultative body. It was therefore vital to institutionalise the consultative body’s rights of initiative and response and, at the same time, to state formally the duty of the municipal council to consult the local consultative body. The consultative body must also be equipped with sufficient resources to ensure its sustainable functioning.


Local consultative bodies faced two possible major constraints, namely representativeness and consultation. Some foreign communities were not represented despite the efforts undertaken. In addition, consultation in itself could be restrictive. Political participation which was confined to consultation alone could lead to feelings of frustration among members, who then made less and less use of the consultative body, or in some cases used it for their own individual ends.

It was important to remember that the original objective was to secure political participation for foreign residents in local public life. In addition to local consultative structures for foreign residents, there were other means of increasing political participation by foreigners across the board, for instance by involving them in neighbourhood councils. Clearly, therefore, measures were needed to encourage local consultative bodies to innovate and evolve. Consultative bodies needed to be flexible and capable of adapting to the situation of foreign residents and of accommodating new arrivals. However, the setting-up and running of consultative bodies must be backed by genuine political will on the part of the municipal council.

Local consultative bodies for foreign residents, then, could take a variety of forms. They were without doubt a simple and flexible tool which could be adapted to each town or city. However, they should not be regarded as a substitute for the right to vote and to stand for election. Moreover, they continued to play an active role in countries where foreign residents were granted political rights. These consultative bodies should be seen primarily as a springboard for putting local democracy into action on a daily basis. They provided a valuable opportunity to improve political participation for all local residents and to develop their capacity for civic action, especially in multicultural towns and cities. The consultation mechanism, with its rights of initiative and response, was central to the operation of the consultative bodies. When placed on an institutional footing, this mechanism paved the way for dialogue between elected representatives and citizens, and encouraged direct participation by all citizens in the local management of their city.

The Chairperson, Ms LUND, said that the handbook was a tool which could be used at local level despite the fact that there had been no firm agreement or ratification of the Convention at national level. She recommended towns and cities which did not have local consultative bodies for foreign residents to establish them. She urged those participants who were so inclined to contact the local authorities and show them the handbook in order to give them inspiration and assistance in setting up such bodies.

The Citizenship Council for non-EU Parisians

Ms Khedidja BOURCART, Deputy Mayor of the City of Paris with responsibility for the integration of non-EU nationals, France

Two realisations at least underpinned the establishment of the Citizenship Council for non-EU Parisians (CCPNC). First, the fact that one Parisian in seven was a foreign resident. The presence of foreign residents (who made up 14.5% of the population) was nothing new. It helped shape the city’s identity and made it a cosmopolitan and outward-looking place to live. Second, since the granting of voting rights in local elections to European nationals, those who were not European Union nationals were discriminated against further. The CCPNC was therefore aimed at giving the 10% of Parisians denied voting rights an opportunity to express their views on their city, while promoting citizenship based upon residence. Established in late 2001 within the Paris municipal council, the CCPNC had commenced operations in January 2002. It had 90 full members selected on the basis of geographical criteria and the need to maintain a gender balance. Since then, numerous meetings had been held in committees dealing with various topics.

A review of the first year of activity prompted a number of recommendations. First, priority should be given to access to rights. This was anchored in access to citizenship based upon residence, action to combat discrimination, access to learning French, to administrative information and, particularly, to housing and jobs, a major driver of integration. Elderly and young immigrants were two particularly vulnerable groups which deserved special attention. Finally, mobility issues affected all Parisians, whatever their background. The second recommendation was that more should be made of the cultural contribution of foreign residents. Third, the City should foster international solidarity and shared development.

The CCPNC was involved with, and helped organise, a number of municipal initiatives. It had also been consulted on urban planning issues. Its future aims were to continue its discussions and activities on the basis of three overarching principles (access to rights, young people and gender equality), to raise its profile, to participate in a number of major events such as the European Social Forum and, finally, to secure voting rights in local elections for non-EU citizens of Paris.

The Luxembourg Consultative Committee for Foreigners

Mr Claude WISELER, Alderman (Echevin) of the City of Luxembourg, Chair of the Consultative Committee for Foreigners, Luxembourg

The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg had the highest proportion of foreign residents of any European Union country, most of them Europeans. Just over half the residents of the city of Luxembourg were not Luxembourg nationals, and represented 118 nationalities. As far back as 1978, the municipal authorities had responded to the demographic situation by taking three initiatives relating to the integration and participation of foreigners. These were the publication of a newsletter Ons Stad (Our city) which provided information in four languages, the establishment of the country’s first joint consultative committee for foreign residents and the creation of an information and reception service for foreigners.

Since entry into force of the Grand-Ducal Regulation of 5 August 1989, municipalities in which foreign residents made up more than 20% of the population had been obliged to set up a consultative committee for foreign residents. The aim of these committees was to ensure the participation of foreigners in municipal life and to foster mutual understanding between foreign residents and Luxembourg nationals, and in particular with the municipal authorities. The committee could be consulted by the municipal council or itself initiate consultations. It was a joint committee made up of foreign residents and Luxembourg nationals appointed by the municipal council. In selecting the Luxembourg nationals, care was taken to ensure that they included at least one member of the municipal council and one non-member. The foreign residents, meanwhile, were selected with reference to the size of the different communities, and were required to have at least one year’s residence in the municipality.

During the early years of the consultative committee for foreigners (CCEL), the embassies had acted as go-betweens in selecting the foreign residents. However, this method was far from representative, and the role was subsequently taken over by the associations. In July 2000, twelve members (six foreign residents and six Luxembourg nationals) were appointed to the CCEL by the Luxembourg municipal council. One drawback was that the degree of involvement of members depended largely on their individual commitment. The CCEL had set up various working parties dealing with issues such as schooling and participation in elections by EU nationals. Members of the CCEL sat as delegates on other municipal consultative committees. This cross-sectoral approach made it possible to address issues other than those specific to foreign residents in a more effective and credible manner.

The CCEL also dealt with issues such as information for foreign residents on municipal services, the organisation of language classes, housing and participation by foreign residents in community life. Its opinions in these spheres were taken seriously. Its involvement in such a wide range of activities had caused it to spread itself too thinly; henceforth, the emphasis was to be on policy, with the CCEL confining itself to lending support to other types of activity. Training of members was also given high priority, and several sessions at the beginning of members’ terms of office were devoted to explaining the workings of the municipality.


Mr Luis YAÑES-BARNUEVO, Rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on the situation of young migrants in Europe, Spain

Mr YAÑES-BARNUEVO, in his capacity as representative of the Parliamentary Assembly’s Committee on Migration, Refugees and Demography, reported on a hearing on the situation of young migrants from twenty-seven European countries organised by the Committee in November 2001. Young migrants often faced difficulties in integrating. A number of points had emerged from the hearing, resulting in recommendations to the Parliamentary Assembly.

First, young migrants had limited opportunities for active participation in political life. In several European countries, meanwhile, the debate on voting rights for foreign residents had intensified. While the Assembly was in favour of residence-based citizenship at local level, it believed that political rights at national level should be confined to nationals. In addition to political rights, access to public sector jobs was also a catalyst for integration, especially for the descendants of immigrants. Second, in order to foster social cohesion, it was essential to devise integration programmes for young migrants. In the view of the Assembly, such programmes should be set up at local level and should include language lessons, social guidance and vocational training, and be based on an assessment of the individual needs of each young person. Participation in such programmes should ensure the personal development of young people within the host society without forcing them to assimilate or preventing them from preserving their culture. Accordingly, central government and local authorities should lend support to activities which promoted the cultures of immigrant communities and of their countries of origin, in co-operation with foreign residents or residents from immigrant backgrounds. In addition to cultural activities, measures should be taken to promote study of the language, history and culture of young people’s countries of origin. Non-formal education in the form of participation by young migrants in associations, youth movements, theatre groups and other activities should also be supported.

Finally, young migrants were the stakeholders – voters, workforce and public opinion – of tomorrow’s society. They should therefore be seen as an asset and a source of enrichment to society and, accordingly, should be able to play a full part in that society and express their opinions, their fears and their plans for the future.

Mr YAÑES-BARNUEVO further observed that there were lessons to be learnt from earlier waves of immigration. In the past, he argued, there had been no integration programmes and integration had occurred naturally and gradually. These days, with the growing awareness of the issue of immigration, there were far greater opportunities for action. Education, training and citizenship programmes existed for immigrants; however, there was also a need for measures targeting the indigenous population.

Ms Fatima EL HASSOUNI, Member of the Bureau of WFM (Young Women from Minorities) and founder of the “Espace Rencontre Jeunes Filles”, Strasbourg, France

The Espace Rencontre Jeunes Filles (ERJF) was a place where young women could meet to enjoy themselves and obtain information and training. Established in Strasbourg in 1996 by a Maghrebi neighbourhood association, its aim was to provide a convivial meeting place for young immigrant women where they, like the young men, could engage in leisure activities. The activities of the ERJF were also aimed at enhancing their knowledge of the history and culture of their countries of origin and increasing their participation in public life.

Some young women of immigrant origin, despite having French nationality, continued to see themselves as Algerian, Tunisian or Moroccan rather than as French citizens. Ultimately, they did not feel they belonged anywhere and in some cases turned inwards towards their community of origin, wearing headscarves or signing up for courses in Arabic or Islam. The ERJF gave young women of immigrant origin the opportunity to assert their citizenship, and had become a benchmark in Strasbourg for the provision of facilities to young women from immigrant backgrounds.

Ms EL HASSOUNI said that the young women in question were locals (of immigrant origin), and that the activities of the ERJF were open to all young women. The ERJF endeavoured to strike a balance between the culture of the host country and that of the country of origin. It helped young women to form opinions by organising debates, occasionally with guest speakers. The aim was to make the young women independent and responsible. The ERJF’s activities were not funded, but, as an association, it could apply for grants. However, most of the people who worked with the association did so as volunteers.

Furthermore, as young people under 25 made up some 40% of the population of Strasbourg, the municipal authorities had sought to involve them in the running of public life by setting up a consultative body, known as a youth council. The council was made up of 140 young people who were elected members, and could formulate opinions and proposals aimed, for instance, at improving life in their locality. It also provided a platform for discussion and exchange with adult elected representatives. Young people were also keen to have a say on broader issues such as jobs, discrimination, Europe, etc.

Mr Kerim ARPAD, European Assembly of Turkish Academics, German-Turkish Forum, Stuttgart

The European Assembly of Turkish Academics (EATA) was a network of Turkish secondary school students in a number of European countries. It undertook projects in Europe such as the integration event in Baden-Württemberg and the international children’s festival in Stuttgart.

In Stuttgart, it had also organised training initiatives funded by the city authorities. The first of these was the “brothers and sisters” project, aimed at primary and secondary schoolchildren. Each child was assigned a young Turkish mentor from a higher class, who became a “big brother” or “big sister” and was meant to act as a role model for his or her younger “brother” or “sister”. Second, working seminars were organised for Turkish parents, to which German and Turkish experts were invited in order to answer parents’ questions on specific topics such as training, the social welfare system, etc. The EATA also provided volunteers to help out in schools and assisted young immigrants in finding work, with funding from the city authorities.

Mr ARPAD explained that the “big brothers and sisters” project was aimed particularly at young people of Turkish origin to help them overcome considerable handicaps and in response to local needs. However, multicultural and intercultural events were also organised. He added that other communities also needed to mobilise. At local level, he pointed to the existence of youth councils which included non-Germans and which discussed very specific issues such as the opening of a disco or a skate park. He suggested that delegates from these councils might take part in the foreign residents’ committee. Finally, he said that the EATA received periodic funding from the City of Stuttgart.

Integration was not a one-way process. Moreover, it was regrettable that Turks and residents from the former Yugoslavia, two of the largest foreign communities in Stuttgart, were denied political rights at local level, although some of them had been living there for forty years! The granting of voting rights was essential, as was entitlement to dual nationality.

On the ground, there was a need for local meeting places and places for exchange. Firmly-rooted institutions were needed so that occasional encounters at fairs and festivals could be followed up and built upon.

Mr Derek BODEN, Rapporteur of the European Union Committee of the Regions on immigration, integration and employment, United Kingdom

The situation in the United Kingdom was different for historical reasons, but also had a number of features in common with other countries. The needs of migrants were similar throughout Europe, as most countries would come to rely on foreign labour. The British press had a tendency to whip up xenophobia instead of acknowledging the contribution of the migrants and immigrants already in the country. However, attention also needed to be focused on other groups such as women, young people and the elderly. Local authorities needed to tackle discrimination. In the United Kingdom, associations existed to foster racial equality, but their efforts often did not go far enough. It was essential, therefore, to continue striving to achieve integration.


Ms Corinna WERWIGK-HERTNECK, Minister for Justice and Commissioner for Integration, Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Ms Werwigk-Hertneck said that political participation entailed working together to define certain aspects of one’s environment and participating in the decisions affecting the city. Hence the importance of granting foreign residents the right to vote in local elections, particularly since many of them were long-standing residents of European cities. She recalled the fact that the principles of nationality and residence were at stake. The traditional link between nationality and vote must be challenged. She favoured granting local voting rights to all foreigners who had been resident for five years. Municipal rights were vital for foreign residents as they identified more readily with the locality they lived in than with the State, which was a more abstract entity.

In Germany, in accordance with the Basic Law, only German nationals had the right to vote. Changing the law would require a two-thirds majority, which would be difficult to obtain. No municipality could exempt itself from the rules laid down by the State. In a federal State, however, not everything was decreed from on high; what was needed, therefore, was to secure the support of the Länder. She concluded by saying that the granting of voting rights in municipal and European elections to European Union nationals under the Maastricht Treaty had severed the link between voting rights and nationality. The idea should be taken a step further and voting rights extended to all foreigners.

Mr Memet KILIC, President of the Federal Foreigners Advisory Council, Mainz, Germany

The law in Germany was still very restrictive and migrants and their descendants remained in an uncertain and discriminatory situation. One of the Advisory Council’s tasks was to defend the legal status of migrants.

Integration was a magic word, but was open to a variety of interpretations. It was important to look at how migrants themselves defined it. In assessing the level of integration, the degree of access to which migrants were entitled was decisive. To what extent, for instance, were the children of migrants represented in institutions? In Germany, there was a lack of measures and structures enabling migrants to express their views. Two European anti-discrimination directives existed, but Germany had so far failed to incorporate them into national law and, moreover, had requested more time to do so.

While progress was undoubtedly being made in the European Union on the question of the integration of foreigners, it did not go far enough or fast enough. The proposals on family reunification, combating discrimination and the social and civic rights of non-EU nationals were overcautious, not to say restrictive. The Economic and Social Committee had proposed to the Convention on the Future of Europe that EU citizenship should be granted to non-European nationals who had been resident for a certain number of years; the proposal had, however, been completely disregarded.

The European Union needed to lay down new criteria for granting citizenship of the Union. EU citizenship should not be based solely on being a national of a Member State, but also on long-term residence in the European Union. Efforts were needed to establish a civil society in Europe, and even worldwide, in which individuals’ rights were linked to the place they lived rather than to their nationality.

Ms Ans ZWERVER, Rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on policies for the integration of immigrants in Council of Europe member states, Netherlands

The events of 11 September had altered the tone of the debate on immigration in the international community and within national governments. The debate was now dominated by considerations of security and border controls. There had been a similar shift in public opinion, and religious minorities from immigrant backgrounds and foreigners generally tended to be seen as a threat. So where did that leave the millions of legally residing immigrants who wished to play a full role in the community and respect democratic rules and values? The change in priorities was evident also in the European Union: despite the progress made on a common asylum policy, the main instruments adopted under common immigration policy related to border controls, combating illegal immigration and introducing more stringent measures relating to the expulsion or repatriation of foreigners. Governments needed to stop viewing the complex phenomenon of migration from a solely national and security perspective. Priority should be given to integration policies, which acted as a catalyst for democratic society.

The debate on integration was invariably approached unilaterally, without any real input from migrants themselves. However, the lack of participation by immigrants in political life, elections and local organisations was a sign of a democratic deficit. Equal responsibilities should mean equal rights and equal opportunities. At local level at least, lawfully residing foreigners should have the same obligations, duties and opportunities as nationals. As recommended in the report, foreign residents should be granted voting rights after three years of residence. Actual levels of local political participation by immigrants were often low, even when they had the right to vote, as they were convinced that their vote would have no significant impact. That was due to lack of information and political awareness. Politicians and political parties therefore needed to make strenuous efforts to inform and raise awareness among immigrants; the latter, however, must also play their part. They must address this lack of political participation by taking a proactive stance, becoming involved in neighbourhood initiatives, taking part in the debate on integration, etc. Experience in the Netherlands, where foreign residents had the right to vote and to stand for elections after five years of residence, showed that, after several years, the numbers of foreigners on the municipal councils increased. At national level, where Dutch nationality was required, 10% of members of parliament were now of immigrant origin.

Genuine integration of immigrants, then, entailed their participation in local public life and in local decision-making. Conferring voting rights was much easier than guaranteeing the right to work. But voting rights were not a panacea for all the problems linked to integration: the local, regional and national authorities must pursue their policies in relation to employment, housing and education for immigrants, in order to ensure equality of opportunity in those spheres. Integration was a two-way street. Political participation was not an isolated objective; it was a hallmark of a healthy society, necessary in order to ensure equal rights and opportunities for all sectors of the community. It was just part of a wider movement towards integration and combating all forms of exclusion.

Mr François SANT’ANGELO, Member of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) of the Council of Europe, Centre for Equal Opportunities and the Fight against Racism, Belgium

The ECRI was an independent human rights monitoring mechanism within the Council of Europe. Its aim was to combat racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and intolerance throughout Europe. It co-operated with governments, assisting and encouraging them in pursuit of those objectives. At the same time, it prepared documents, such as overall policy recommendations and research papers, and organised activities to raise awareness of the fight against racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and intolerance. The ECRI also maintained links with civil society in order to keep it informed of its objectives and activities.

The ECRI was wholly in favour of participation by foreign residents in the political process, and advocated the establishment of consultative bodies for foreign residents at local and national level, and also the granting to foreign residents of the right to vote and to stand in local elections. Its goal in fact, was an integrated society, which entailed promoting integration between majority and minority communities. In addition, the ECRI judged it essential to counter racist and xenophobic discourse in politics, and recommended a raft of measures to that end.


Round table discussion

Ms Helene LUND, Chair of the Culture and Education Committee of the Chamber of Local Authorities of the CONGRESS, Deputy Mayor of Farum, Denmark

Equal access to education and the labour market was vital – the question was how to achieve it! In Denmark, a debate was underway on introducing quotas for immigrants; however, discussing the issues with the private sector was difficult. In the educational sphere, it was important to step up contacts between Danish parents and immigrant parents. Mutual understanding was vital. Danish politicians also needed to be better informed in order to be more aware of the issues.

Ms Luisa LAURELLI, Vice-Chair of the Committee on Social Cohesion of the CONGRESS, Municipal Councillor, Rome, Italy

Integration meant recognising people’s rights at municipal level: the right to live somewhere, as well as social, economic and civil rights. Ms Laurelli cited the example of Rome, where four foreign residents were now entitled to sit on the municipal council. They would not have the right to vote, but would be entitled to contribute. It was a step in the right direction. Rome also had an officer in charge of multi-ethnicity. Some projects were already underway, but frequently fell foul of the rather cumbersome local bureaucracy. Political will was therefore needed, as well as equality between citizens.

Mr Wolfgang SCHUSTER, Mayor of Stuttgart

Municipal voting rights were enshrined in the Basic Law, which confined voting rights to German nationals. The Stuttgart consultative committee had been in existence for twenty years. Originally, its members had been co-opted, but there were now elected representatives, and it was now known as the international committee. Stuttgart was now a city of sustainable immigration.

However, there were other opportunities for political participation besides the right to vote, such as the introduction of an equal opportunities policy. In Stuttgart, acquiring a knowledge of German, if not Swabian, was felt to be essential: it was vital to have a common language. The main focus, therefore, was on social integration through the language. Mastery of the language was also essential to integration in the workplace.

Mr Michel VILLAN, Chair of the Committee of Experts on Integration and Community Relations (MG-IN/CDMG), Director of the Social Affairs and Immigrants Division, Ministry of the Walloon Region, Belgium

Local policies were essential to integration, as they laid the foundations for regional, federal and European policy. A new framework had to be found for integration; it was necessary to take stock of the situation by evaluating integration policies. Integration must be viewed in the round, not just in relation to education and employment. There were four aspects to be considered: economic, cultural, social and environmental. Integration was a process, one which involved complying with the laws in force and allowing all citizens the opportunity to express themselves and fulfil their potential. Participation was necessary at a variety of levels, including voting rights and opportunities for different forms of cultural expression.



The Final Declaration of the Stuttgart Conference was based on the past contributions of migrants to the European continent. While migratory movements involved, and would continue to involve, challenges and problems, they also brought numerous advantages in the demographic, economic and cultural spheres. The Final Declaration therefore called for implementation of a successful integration policy supported by networks at the different levels of policy-making. The policy must pursue three strategic objectives: (1) integration and participation to ensure equal opportunities and equal rights, (2) peaceful coexistence and (3) use of cultural diversity as a resource.

These objectives could be achieved only through co-operation between the different tiers of government. At European level, co-operation was needed between the Council of Europe and the European Union in order to ensure respect for human rights, devise common policies on immigration and asylum, conduct dialogue with countries of origin and transit and host countries and lend support to the integration projects of the Council of Europe Development Bank. At national level, there was a need to give priority to integration policy, to promote the exchange of experiences on integration, involve the municipalities and regions in shaping migration and integration policy and ratify in particular the Council of Europe Convention on the Participation of Foreigners in Public Life at Local Level. Measures were also required to support school and vocational training and integration into the urban labour market, as well as urban planning and housing measures to prevent the formation of ghettoes.

Furthermore, steps must be taken to facilitate the acquisition of nationality and to allow multiple nationality. Voting rights must be granted in municipal elections. At local/regional authority level, all sections of the community must be involved in the integration process. An information policy aimed at the whole population, both long-term residents and new arrivals, must be put in place. Integration and participation must also take account of migrants’ individual circumstances. Measures must be taken to assist migrants in learning the language. Finally, there was a need to promote access to housing in the interests of peaceful and harmonious coexistence; spaces for dialogue should be created in every neighbourhood in order to prevent the build-up of prejudice and tension, and to facilitate intercultural and inter-religious dialogue. Municipal departments must operate on an intercultural basis and advisory committees on integration must be set up.

The Final Declaration called on the Council of Europe to support the setting-up and functioning of a network of local and regional authorities and to promote an evaluation process for local integration policies. It called upon the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities to disseminate the proceedings of the Stuttgart Conference, continue its efforts to integrate foreign residents and enable them to participate in local public life and support the exchange of good integration practice.


One of the challenges currently facing integration in European towns and cities appeared to stem from the complexity and increasing diversity of migration patterns and, accordingly, the diversity of migrants. In each town and city, the term migrants or, more usually, foreigners covered a whole range of situations. What, then, was meant by the term foreigners in the context of a discussion on their participation and integration in European towns and cities?

The participants in the Stuttgart Conference came up against this question again and again. In the course of the speeches and discussions, reference was made to several categories of foreigners: legal or illegal immigrants, recent arrivals and long-standing residents, forced migrants, migrants who commuted back and forth, asylum-seekers and refugees. The terms ethnic and minority communities also featured. The question was not simply one of semantics, but of deciding who should benefit from integration policies. Determining the target population was a vital task for policy-makers and stakeholders in each city, and integration policies could only benefit as a result.

The participants also debated which groups should be given priority within the various categories of foreign residents. Put another way, should integration policies specifically target parents perhaps, or children, women, young people, young women, the elderly, naturalised citizens? Experience had shown that, for integration policies to be effective, they must take account of other criteria besides nationality, and in particular of gender, age and ethnic origin.

As far as the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities was concerned, local integration policies must give priority to lawfully residing foreigners, especially if they were long-term residents. However, such policies could also cover more recent arrivals, provided they had the prospect of taking up long-term lawful residence. It was unquestionably more difficult to integrate foreign residents such as asylum seekers or illegal immigrants, whose situation was more precarious. The comings and goings of “commuter” migrants, too, made it difficult to integrate them and ensure their participation. However, through their work, large numbers of these foreigners were already active in the local informal economy. As a result, each town and city, depending on local circumstances, should endeavour gradually to integrate all of its residents.

Several participants made the point that the integration process should not involve just foreign residents themselves, but society as a whole: it was a two-way process. Hence, foreign residents could not embark upon it alone. It was also pointed out that neither the definition of integration nor the shaping of policy could be undertaken unilaterally without the involvement of the foreign residents.

Attempting, as participants did, to define integration and discuss appropriate integration policies inevitably prompted the question as to what kind of cosmopolitan city we should aspire to within this multicultural society. The Conference was able to pinpoint a number of characteristics:

    - equal rights for all residents;
    - residents’ obligations and duties clearly defined;
    - equal opportunities in terms of education, housing and employment for all residents;
    - all residents entitled to participate in decisions affecting the life of the city, in particular through the ballot box;
    - all residents entitled to participate in consultative bodies, whether on the municipal council or in their locality, and able to communicate in the language of the city;
    - all residents free to express their cultural identity in both public and private spheres while respecting the laws of the host country.

Finally, the residents of this city, both nationals and foreign residents, would be fully-fledged citizens. Citizenship would in future be based on residence rather than solely on nationality. This need not be a pipedream: the conference had provided a number of pointers and recalled the existence of various instruments for achieving it. Three major instruments for integration policy were mentioned time and again during the conference: the 1992 Council of Europe Convention, the handbook on consultative bodies and the Eurocities observatory on migration. While the first of these was addressed primarily at national government, the other two were intended for local authorities.

The 1992 Council of Europe Convention on the Participation of Foreigners in Public Life at Local Level was a key instrument. It proposed flexible measures which could be adopted gradually. Those Council of Europe member states which had not yet ratified it were called upon to do so.

The handbook on consultative bodies for foreign residents was a practical guide for local government. Based on practical experience in a variety of European cities, it could provide inspiration and assistance to towns and cities in creating consultative bodies for foreign residents. Towns and cities, for their part, could improve political participation for all residents and enhance participative democracy.

Eurocities and, more specifically, the observatory on immigration and integration in European cities, would provide support at the European level for local authorities’ integration efforts. It was vital for European cities to exchange local experience and good practice on integration.

Finally, the Final Declaration enunciated the strategic goals of a successful integration policy and the resources to be deployed in order to achieve it at European, national and local and regional authority level. While overall integration policy was rarely determined at local level, a number of experiences referred to at the Conference had shown that initiatives on the part of the local and regional authorities could act as a source of inspiration or as models for other local and regional authorities and for national governments. Co-operation between the different tiers of government was therefore essential for effective integration policies.



Monday, 15 September 2003

10.00 – 10.45 Opening Statements

        - Dr. Wolfgang SCHUSTER, Lord Mayor of the City of Stuttgart

        - Mr. Walter SCHWIMMER, Secretary General of the Council of Europe

        - Dr. Herwig van STAA, President of the CLRAE, Governor of Tirol, Austria


        Chairperson: Dr. Herwig van STAA, President of the CLRAE, Governor of Tirol, Austria

        Introductory statement by Dr Dieter FILSINGER, Catholic High School for Social Work, Saarbrück, Germany



        Chairperson: Baron Berend-Jan VAN VOORST TOT VOORST, Chair of the CLRAE Culture and Education Committee, Governor of the Province of Limburg, Netherlands

        Contributions from:

        - Mr J. J. H. M. METZEMAKERS, Senior Policy Office of the City of The Hague, Netherlands
        - Mr Sergey SMIDOVICH, First Deputy Chief of the Department for Economic Policy of the City of Moscow, Russian Federation
        - Mr. Mohammed NAZIR, Member of the CLRAE, Councillor of Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council, United Kingdom
        - Mrs. Silvia ZAMORA, Municipal Councillor of the Social Security and Environment of the City of Lausanne, Switzerland

13.00 – 14.30 Lunch break

14.30 – 15.30 INTEGRATION IN THE CITIES (continued)

Contributions from some European cities

        - Mr Giovanni SALIZZONI, Vice-Mayor of the City of Bologna, Italy
        - Mrs. Núria CARRERA, Municipal Councillor of the City of Barcelona, Spain
        - Mr. Gari PAVKOVIC, Local Commissioner for the Integration of Foreign Residents, Department for Integration of the City of Stuttgart, Germany

15.30 – 16.00 Coffee break

16.00 – 18.00 Brief contribution from Mr Harrie VAN ONNA, Senior Policy Officer of the City of Rotterdam, Representative of Eurocities, Netherlands

      General discussion

19.00 – 22.00 Evening social programme (optional – registration required)

        Informal discussion between the participants and representatives of migrant Organisations from the City of Stuttgart
        International Buffet and music
        DGB-Haus, Grosser Saal (Willi-Bleicher-Str. 14, in front of the “Haus der Wirtschaft”)

* * * * *



        Chairperson: Mrs. Helene LUND, Vice-Chair of the CLRAE Culture and Education Committee, Deputy Mayor of the City of Farum, Denmark

        Presentation of the Manual on Local Consultative Bodies for foreign residents by:

        - Mr. Marco MARTINIELLO, Senior Research Officer at the National Scientific Research Foundation, Liege, Belgium
        - Mrs Sonia GSIR, Researcher at the Ethnicity and Migrations Research Centre, Liege, Belgium

        Panel discussion followed by a general discussion

        with representatives from local consultative structures:

        - Mrs. Khedidja BOURCART, Deputy Mayor of the City of Paris in charge of the Integration of non European Union Foreigners, France
        - Mr. Claude WISELER, Echevin of the City of Luxembourg, President of the Consultative Body, Luxembourg

10.15 – 10.45 Coffee break

10.45 – 12.00 YOUNG MIGRANTS

        Chairperson: Mrs. Luisa LAURELLI, Vice-Chair of the CLRAE Committee on Social Cohesion, Municipal Councillor of the City of Rome, Italy

Statement by:

        - Mr. Luis YÁÑEZ-BARNUEVO, Rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on the situation of young migrants in Europe, Spain

        Panel discussion and debate with:

        - Mrs. Fatima EL HASSOUNI, member of the Bureau of WFM (Young Women from Minorities) and initiator of the “Espace Rencontre Jeunes Filles”, Strasbourg, France
        - Mr Kerim ARPAD, European Assembly of Turkish Academics, German-Turkish Forum, Stuttgart

12.00 – 13.30 Lunch break


        Chairperson: Mrs. Corinna WERWIGK-HERTNECK, Minister of Justice and Commissioner for integration of Baden-Württemberg, Germany

        Panel discussion and debate with:

        - Mr. Memet KILIC, Chairman of the Bundesausländerbeirat (Federal Foreigners Advisory Council of Germany)
        - Mrs. Ans ZWERVER, Rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on Policies for the integration of immigrants in Council of Europe member States, Netherlands
        - Mrs. Greta BILLING, Member of the Steering Committee for Local and Regional Democracy (CDLR)7 and Deputy Director General of the Department of Local Government, Norway
        - Mr. François SANT’ANGELO, Member of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance of the Council of Europe (ECRI), Centre for Equal Opportunities and the Fight against Racism, Belgium

Brief contribution from Mr Derek BODEN, Rapporteur of the Committee of the Regions of the European Union on immigration, integration and employment, United Kingdom


        Moderator: Mrs. Anna KOKTSIDOU, member of the International Committee of the City of Stuttgart and journalist for SWR International (Südwestrundfunk)

        Round table with:

        - Dr. Wolfgang SCHUSTER, Lord Mayor of the City of Stuttgart,
        - Mrs. Helene LUND, Vice-Chair of the CLRAE Culture and Education Committee, Deputy Mayor of the City of Farum, Denmark
        - Mrs. Luisa LAURELLI, Vice-Chair of the CLRAE Committee on Social Cohesion, Municipal Councillor of the City of Rome, Italy
        - Mr. Michel VILLAN, Chair of the committee of experts on integration and community relations (MG-IN/CDMG)8, Director, Department for Social Action and Immigrants, Ministry of the Wallony Region, Namur, Belgium


        Chairperson: Mrs. Helene LUND, Vice-Chair of the CLRAE Culture and Education Committee, Deputy Mayor of the City of Farum, Denmark

        Presentation of a draft Final Declaration by:

        - Dr Wolfgang SCHUSTER, Lord Mayor of the City of Stuttgart

Adoption of the Final Declaration

Closing of the Conference

* * * * *

At the end of the Conference (optional – registration required)

16.30 – 18.30 STUDY VISITS organised by the City of Stuttgart on “Integration Projects”

      1. Integration in the Neighbourhood: “Haus 49”

        2. Integration in schools: discussion with teachers involved in the Stuttgart school project
        3. Integration courses: discussion with teachers of the Stuttgart language and orientation courses

The City of Stuttgart will provide interpretation into German and English


Convention on the Participation of Foreigners in Public Life at Local Level
CETS No.: 144

Treaty open for signature by the member States and for accession by non-member States

Opening for signature

Entry into force

Place: Strasbourg
Date : 5/2/1992

Conditions: 4 Ratifications.
Date : 1/5/1997

Status as of: 3/3/2004

Member States of the Council of Europe




Entry into force










































































Bosnia and Herzegovina












































Czech Republic








































































































































































































































































San Marino











Serbia and Montenegro


































































the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

































United Kingdom











Non-member States of the Council of Europe




Entry into force








Total number of signatures not followed by ratifications:


Total number of ratifications/accessions:


Notes:a: Accession - s: Signature without reservation as to ratification - su: Succession - r: Signature "ad referendum".
R.: Reservations - D.: Declarations - A.: Authorities - T.: Territorial Application - C.: Communication - O.: Objection.
Source : Treaty Office on http://conventions.coe.int

1 Proceedings of the Strasbourg conference: Studies and Texts N° 71.

2 See document CG (7) 5, report by Ms H. LUND (Denmark).

3 Proceedings of the Stuttgart hearing: Studies and Texts N° 78.

4 See document CPL (9) 5, report by Ms V. DIRKSEN (Netherlands) and Mr W. SCHUSTER (Germany).

5 The three-year integrated project (2002 - 2004), "Making democratic institutions work", was launched by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe in response to the growing need to reinforce democratic institutions in Europe. The project themes are: transparency and responsiveness of democratic institutions, participation of civil society in the decision-making process, and fair elections and universal entitlement to vote. Seeking pragmatic solutions to these problems, which member states are currently facing, the project relies on wide-ranging resources, from legal instruments to training materials, and including guidelines – for both governments and civil society.

6 Summary by Sonia Gsir, research assistant, Liège (Belgium)

7 The CDLR is a Council of Europe intergovernmental committee

8 The CDMG is a Council of Europe intergovernmental committee



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