Position Papers

Integrating a Gender Perspective into the EU Immigration Policy (February 2004)

In recent years, immigration has become a central theme in the EU political debate. The European Union is beginning to acknowledge that the “zero” immigration policies of the past 30 years are no longer appropriate. Immigration is one of the factors that must be considered in relation to the new demographic and economic challenges which EU is now facing such as skill and labour shortages and ageing population.

Immigrant women face multiple discrimination as women, due to their situation as immigrants and due to the racism that they suffer if they are also a member of an ethnic group. EWL believes that it is fundamental to address this situation and to promote policies that combat the multiple discrimination that immigrant women face within the EU.

Immigration has been included as a strategic priority in recent EU positions on social and employment issues. The Commission has adopted several proposals since 1999, however some Member States are putting up great resistance to the integrating efforts of the Commission and often reduce the immigration framework to simply restricting entry.

As the conclusions of Thessaloniki European Council, June 2003, have shown, Member States efforts in the field of immigration are focused on the development of a common policy on “illegal immigration, external borders, the return of illegal immigrants, cooperation with third countries and asylum”. Such an approach, which is focused narrowly on the need for management of migration flows, often ignore the human rights dimension of immigration.

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