iPARTICIPATE project aims to address low level of democratic participation of the immigrants at local level and lack of their inclusion in public discussion and decision-making processes.
- promoting the political participation of immigrants at local level as well as their role as reliable partners in the decision making process on integration policies and other local issues.
- promote education programmes on active citizenship of immigrants addressed to decision makers at local level, local community councils for foreigners, immigrants and their associations.
According to the Common Basic Principles, participation of immigrants in the democratic process and in the formulation of integration policies and measures at the local level support their integration. In recent years, the issue of the political awareness and participation of immigrants has been subject of increasingly interest and a sensitive debate on the need to grant voting rights to immigrants at local elections has been taking place in several Member States (MS). The EC has tried to interest Member States in supporting migrant political participation and voting rights suggesting that citizenship and political participation policies need to be improved in order to promote democratic participation, solidarity and sense of belonging in society. In the project partners’ countries and across EU, there are different approaches suggesting different answers and models to the question of fostering immigrants’ political and participation awareness.
According to the Migrant Integration Policy Index (MIPEX), a very limited number of MS provide immigrants with voting rights in local elections. In this perspective and in order to promote exchange of best practices and knowledge in the field of political participation, the proposal intends also to create synergies between countries that grant voting rights to immigrants (PT and ES) and countries that still need to improve their integration policies (IT, GR, UK, DE).
Political participation is particularly important at local level where immigration is changing the composition of local population putting a fundamental challenge to local governments to integrate into the local communities highly heterogeneous and culturally diverse population.
Qualitative and quantitative surveys and analysis suggest that the foreign-born across Europe are slightly less active than the native-born in various forms of conventional civic participation. In this context, the project aims to enhance and support the integration process of third-country nationals through the promotion of their political participation in the democratic process at local level though as well as educational programmes on citizenship rights addressed to immigrants associations and foreigners’ consultative bodies.