Integration book to explain norms and values
2 May 2006, BRUSSELS — A Flemish government commission has finalised proposals for an integration guidebook aimed at introducing new arrivals to Flemish culture.
2 May 2006
BRUSSELS — A Flemish government commission has finalised proposals for an integration guidebook aimed at introducing new arrivals to Flemish culture.
The course is designed to explain Flemish norms and values, introducing foreigners to the family services unit Kind&Gezin or informing them how to obtain social housing.
The book will also explain elements such as Belgium's complex system of government.
"The course must be a compass to navigate a path in Flemish society," Flemish Integration Minister Marino Keulen said.
A commission was established in January 2005 to identify what Flemish norms and values are and what social foundations make co-existence in diversity possible.
The document was to become the basis for a new guidebook to be distributed at immigrant reception centres.
The commission consisted of seven members (native Belgians and immigrant Belgians) under the leadership of Marc Bossuyt, an Arbitration Court judge and expert in international law.
After 12 meetings the commission has now finalised its report and will present its findings to the Flemish Parliament on Thursday.
Bossuyt said there was quick consensus over what the norms and values were, such as liberty, equality, solidarity, respect and citizenship. It was the social behavioral rules that proved more difficult.
But issues such as homophobia, freedom of religion, abortion, euthanasia, equality of men and women were discussed.
Bossuyt said immigrants don't have to "applaud" these freedoms, stressing that diversity is not a problem if citizens agree on the social basis. But he said resistance against such freedoms should not be urged either.
"Social norms cannot be imposed. We plead for tolerance and dialogue," Bossuyt said.
The Flemish Minorities Centre will now draw up a handbook, to be completed by the end of October. It will be presented to the commission for consideration.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Belgian news