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Coordination needed to integrate foreigners

Discussion between all interested parties is essential if foreigners are to be successfully integrated, Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf said on Tuesday.

Widmer-Schlumpf told a news conference that integration means peaceful coexistence between the Swiss and foreign population, based on the values enshrined in the constitution, as well as mutual respect, tolerance and equal opportunities.

She said this goal could only be achieved if all political levels - government, cantons and communes – were involved in discussion, alongside representatives of civil society and migrants' organisations.

"Little can be achieved in the matter of integration by the state alone, or by one level of administration on its own," she said.

The conference was called by the so-called Tripartite Agglomeration Conference (TAK), a body which facilitates cooperation between Switzerland's three levels of administration.

The TAK is to draw up recommendations on the issue and submit them to the Federal Migration Office by the end of June. The government will include the results of this discussion process when drawing up a framework law on integration to be presented to parliament before the end of the year.

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