Chapter 14: A Policy Agenda for Diversity and Minority Integration
Martin Kahanec and Klaus F. Zimmermann As well documented in this book using empirical evidence from a variety of sources, the social and labor market integration of ethnic minorities in the EU is still a major political, societal and economic challenge. The available data indicate considerable ethnic gaps in the employment and the labor market attachment of ethnic minorities compared to the majority populations. Ethnic gaps vary not only within the groups concerned but also across countries. Some ethnic groups however are more at risk of social and labor market exclusion than others, and in some cases there is no clear trend towards improvement. Roma and Africans, but perhaps also Muslims and people with darker skin, are the most vulnerable ethnic minorities in the EU. The analysis presented in this volume emphasizes that there is no single explanation for the lack of social and labor market integration of ethnic minorities in the EU. The situation is far more complex and has many intricate interrelated components. To begin with, observable characteristics of ethnic minorities, such as deficits in education and training as well as knowledge of the main language, hamper their access to the labor market and their ability to find steady employment. Furthermore, attitudes and perceptions held by both the minority and the majority population matter: the role of self-perception and labor market orientation of minorities as well as the actual discrimination by the majority population – cultural differences and prejudices notwithstanding – can negatively interact and produce insidious pressures. Finally, institutional...
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