Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

A closer look at how European cities integrate immigrants

An in-depth study of how four European cities absorb immigrants has shed new light on devising better integration policies.
A closer look at how European cities integrate immigrants
The integration of immigrants has been a contentious issue in the EU, and efforts to improve this pivotal process in creating harmonious societies are needed now more than ever. Policymakers and experts generally agree that the issue of integration must be addressed through a bottom-up approach, with cities espousing a more active role and ensuring integration at local level.

In this context, the EU-funded LOCAL TURN (A local turn in migrant integration policies? Local citizenship and integration policy approaches in the context of multi-level governance in Europe) project examined how European cities design integration policies and evaluate their effectiveness.

To achieve its aims, the project mapped governance relations across the different levels of government concerned with immigration. It also analysed and cross-compared local integration policies in different cities within the same country – i.e. Barcelona and Madrid in Spain, and Frankfurt and Munich in Germany. This enabled more in-depth knowledge on how each city dealt with integration from both local and national perspectives.

In addition, the project team published several articles on related topics such as multilevel coordination in immigrant integration policies, civic integration programmes for immigrants and urban citizenship policies. LOCAL TURN noted that Europe's larger cities tended to resort to more universal policy frameworks involving interculturalism, diversity, participation, cohesion and non-discrimination to further the concept of citizenship. It also found that some cities go quite a long way to modify the state's formal regulation of citizenship from a local perspective.

The project also examined key topics such as exclusion of immigrants, tension with city residents, potential for change, social inclusion, government commitment and different areas of intervention. It found that beyond integration policies in a narrow sense, adapting key services such as housing, education and employment to immigrants' needs constituted the primary challenge for all four cities under study. The publications and results that have emerged from this project will contribute to creating better policies on immigration and integration in the long run.

Related information


European cities, immigrants, integration, integration policies, citizenship, governance
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