Project has been dealing with issues of discrimination, segregation, and marginalization of ethnic minorities that are in stark conflict with the cornerstone values of the EU as embedded in acquis communautaire. Yet, social and economic disintegration remains an everyday challenge to millions of members of ethnic minorities living in the EU today. Ethnic integration challenges appear in a variety of forms, from unequal access to health care and social services to unemployment, underemployment, and substandard remuneration of individuals belonging to different ethnic minorities.

Labor market segmentation is a particularly worrisome issue, since equal labor market opportunities are a cornerstone for achieving the key objectives of the European Employment Strategy, as defined by full employment, increased productivity and enhanced quality of work, and strengthened social cohesion and inclusion. Therefore, it is imperative for the European society to strengthen labor market integration of ethnic minorities. To this end, a large number of legislative acts, policies, and local actions have been implemented to date.

The overriding objective of the study on the social and labor market integration of ethnic minorities in Europe was to provide the High Level Group on the social and labor market integration of minorities (HLG) and the European Commission (EC) with
1. an expert analysis of the labor market situation for relevant ethnic minorities;
2. identification and description of the barriers relevant ethnic minorities face in the labor market and actual and potential policies aiming at overcoming these barriers;
3. policy evaluation including identification of best policy and business conduct practices;
4. policy recommendations concerning overcoming the barriers ethnic minorities face in European labor markets to support the High Level Group in formulating its recommendations to the EU Commission.

In the first part of the study the team provided the contextual framework describing the labor market situation of ethnic minorities in the EU member states. Experts documented to what extent, different ethnic minorities, such as Roma in Slovakia, Muslims in Western Europe, or the Russian speaking population in Latvia, experience discrimination and segregation in the labor market. An inclusive understanding of ethnic minority such that the relevant minorities in Europe are covered was adopted. At the same time, to facilitate cross-country comparability, more refined definitions of ethnic minorities has been investigated.

The second part of the report identified the external and, whenever possible, internal barriers that members of ethnic minorities face in the labor market. Experts utilized different datasets available through IZA’s own Data Service Centre and micro-econometric techniques. The key focus in this section was to identify labor market discrimination of ethnic minorities.

In the third part of the report different public policies and private initiatives on labor market integration of ethnic minorities were evaluated, distinguishing three levels of policy implementation: (i) the EU level, (ii) the country level, (iii) and the local level. In the comparative analytical framework, the key evaluation dimensions that are proposed to be employed include relevancy, efficacy, timing, fairness, and feasibility.
The last part concluded with policy implications and recommendations on how to improve labor market integration of ethnic minorities in the EU member states. This part was predominantly draw on the insights of the renowned international economic and policy experts in the IZA team.

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