Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS



Project ID: 28802
Funded under: FP6-CITIZENS
Country: Spain

A new perspective on immigrant integration

Understanding immigrants' role in the political and public sphere on a local level rather than exclusively on a national one and designing more effective policies can benefit integration considerably.
A new perspective on immigrant integration
The EU-funded project 'Multicultural democracy and immigrants' social capital in Europe: Participation, organisational networks, and public policies at the local level' (Localmultidem) studied the political integration of immigrants in European cities. The project looked at political integration as sociopolitical participation and acceptance of political values, institutions and the leaders who run them.

Localmultidem collected a valuable dataset regarding the integration of immigrants and planned on its release to the public three years after the end of the project. This will provide in-depth information on immigrant integration and enable valuable analyses that could shape policymaking in Europe. The project has already published and edited a volume of its findings with data related to cities in Norway and Sweden, as well as Barcelona, Spain and Geneva, Switzerland. Much of the research was supported by national research funding and, thanks to the project's pan-European component, many countries and societies are set to benefit from these results.

What differentiates this project from others was its focused not only on the national level but on the local level too, looking more closely at political integration of immigrants. This local perspective gives stakeholders important insight into effectiveness of policies and policymaking related to integrating immigrants into the public sphere. It also showed that the various types or forms of political integration have given way to different outcomes across contexts.

Moreover, Localmultidem revealed that policies intending to bridge gaps between local populations and immigrants were inadequate in evening out the behaviour of both segments. It suggested that different inequalities in political integration should be tackled through different policy strategies.

Lastly, the project called for more effective debate about Muslim communities as research revealed that, contrary to popular belief, Muslim migrants are not any more difficult to integrate than others. It recommended policymaking to reduce extreme prejudices against Muslims by policymakers, community leaders and political figures. All this research is likely to improve immigrant integration in the EU over the long term.

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