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Commentary: Connecting the dots: understanding community sponsorship as a network, 21 June 2021

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by Caitlin Katsiaficas and Martin Wagner

The momentum behind the community sponsorship of refugees has been building steadily in Europe, in parallel with growing global interest in this approach. The conflict in Syria has spurred several states to take action, with Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom all implementing some type of community sponsorship initiative since 2013. Additional European states pledged to look into launching community sponsorship programmes during the 2019 Global Refugee Forum. The New Pact on Migration and Asylum, released by the European Commission in autumn 2020, goes one step farther, proposing to build a European Union community sponsorship model. Meanwhile, the COVID-19 pandemic may lead to yet more policymaker interest in this model, as it offers a way of expanding refugee protection without drawing (heavily) on public coffers in an already challenging budgetary environment.