Minister for Integration Kurz and Member of Regional Government Darabos: Burgenland to be pilot-province for courses on values for refugees

VIENNA, 11 DECEMBER 2015

Close cooperation between Austrian Integration Fund (AIF) and the Federal Province of Burgenland reinforces integration structures in Burgenland

On the sidelines of today’s conference of the experts on Integration  of Austria’s regional governments in Eisenstadt, Minister for Integration, Sebastian Kurz and Member of Regional Government for Integration, Norbert Darabos announced an increased cooperation between the Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs (FMEIA), the Austrian Integration Fund (AIF) and the Federal Province of Burgenland: the AIF will provide demand-driven consultation on integration for refugees and immigrants also in Burgenland . Moreover the Burgenland will be the pilot-region for the workshops on values and orientation, which are to start early in 2016 and will inform refugees and immigrants about Austrian society’s core values and provide them with the essential knowledge for integration in Austria.

 Minister for Integration, Sebastian Kurz stated: “It is our aim - through these workshops - to provide refugees, who will stay in Austria for an extended period of time with a clear picture of the chances and rules of everyday life in our country. This involves core values like democracy, gender equality, freedom of opinion and expression as well as religion and belief as central pillars of our life, which all those who wish to live here with us have to understand and accept.”

Member of Regional Government for Integration, Norbert Darabos: “I welcome the initiative of Federal Minister Kurz to start the often cited courses on values in Burgenland as first federal province. From my point of view, it is necessary that these persons, who wish to stay in Austria and have been granted asylum, accept our values with respect to democracy, the rule of law and questions of equality. Integration will not be successful without the acceptance of these fundamental values.” 

Courses on values and orientation provide norms of communal life

Currently a working group of the independent Council of Experts for Integration, led by Professor Christian Stadler, is producing the basis for the workshops on values and orientation, which will be offered from the beginning of next year in Austria. These workshops will be based on the already existing “Red-White-Red-Reader”, addressing central constitutional values like the rule of law, democracy and the separation of powers. The workshops on values and orientation will provide an overview of life in Austria, general social norms as well as important everyday knowledge on the educational system, the job market or volunteering, Kurz underlines: “Thereby the workshops clarify the non-negotiable values of our peaceful communal life.”

 AIF: Guidance and promotion of language acquisition for refugees

The Austrian Integration Fund provides guidance for refugees and immigrants at its seven integration centres in Vienna, Graz, Linz, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Klagenfurt and St. Pölten as well as with 18 mobile ‘Welcome Desks’ in different regions of Austria and supports them in their successful integration into language, education and society. At the ‘Welcome Desks’ refugees also receive support for German courses out of a special fund provided by the Ministry for Integration endowed with Euro 6m. This financial support is provided for courses to learn Western Script (Alphabetisation), for beginners courses on levels A1 and A2 up to courses for advanced learners on levels B1 and B2 and can be applied for in a counselling interview at any of the AIF’s ‘Welcome Desks’ all over Austria.