Knowing the main language of their adoptive country – one of the basic principles agreed among the EU states in their quest to integrate immigrants. The justice and interior affairs council meeting in Brussels also highlighted employment and social participation.
Chairing the talks, as the Netherlands is the EU’s current presiding nation, Dutch immigration minister Rita Verdonk said an effective policy for newcomers to Europe was of great importance for the bloc’s cohesion and stability, and that integration needs a common vision. The member states have agreed to make serious efforts to prevent employers from unfairly discriminating against immigrants, and promised to open training to them in areas most in need of manpower. Turning to the challenge of fighting the drug trade, intentions were laid out for the period 2005-2012. Among the priorities is better cooperation between investigators and police services. Within the EU’s open-bordered interior, goods can travel easily, requiring heightened control at the outer borders.