MEPs called on EU member states to ensure swift and full labour market integration and social inclusion of refugees. The report voted upon yesterday at the Employment and Social Affairs committee (EMPL) highlights the need for concrete action to overcome barriers to integration, in particular discrimination and language barriers while calling on the Commission and member states to continue to prioritise broader policies and investments that promote quality employment for society as a whole.

GUE/NGL MEP Tania González Peñas said that the ideas presented are a good starting point but they need adequate funding to work: “The proposals include facilitating access to housing, healthcare, education, social protection and family unification for refugees and asylum seekers. The Commission must ensure that adequate funds are available at this critical time and that’s why we voted for a minimum share of 25 % of the cohesion policy budget for the European Social Fund.”

GUE/NGL MEPs agree with the need for early and continuous intervention to integrate refugees in the labour market and local communities. The revision of the Reception Conditions Directive to ensure that applicants for international protection have access to the labour market no later than six months and guarantees for national minimum wage for refugees are important steps.

González Peñas highlighted the importance of social partners and civil society organisations in enabling refugee integration and inclusion:  “Our successful amendment in the committee acknowledges the major role that social partners and civil society organisations play in the inclusion of refugees in the labour market and communities at large.”

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