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European Cities on the Front Line: New and Emerging Governance Models for Migrant Inclusion

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By Liam Patuzzi

Migration is transforming cities across Europe. But while discussions of immigrant integration have largely focused on superdiverse metropolises such as Berlin, Vienna, Paris, and Stockholm, these are hardly the only places grappling with these issues. A huge amount of innovation is happening in cities and towns outside the limelight—those that are smaller, relatively new to receiving immigrants, or have immigrant populations that are becoming more diverse. Localities that sit near external EU borders or along common transit routes through Europe also face some inclusion challenges that differ from those seen in traditional immigrant destinations, such as planning services without a clear picture of how many newcomers will stay and how many will move on.

This MPI Europe-International Organization for Migration (IOM) report explores how European cities and towns are supporting migrants’ access to housing, local labor markets, health care, and education and child care. It focuses on localities in Southern as well as Central and Eastern Europe that are facing particularly challenging situations, such as large-scale spontaneous arrivals, restrictive national policies, strained economies, and limited integration experience or service infrastructure.

The study’s findings include a variety of promising approaches for promoting migrant inclusion at the local level, drawing in part on interviews conducted with representatives of municipalities in Austria, Greece, Italy, Malta, Poland, Romania, and Spain. Among these are strategies for finding the right balance between mainstream services and those targeted specifically to immigrants, for strengthening intragovernmental coordination and multistakeholder partnerships, and for improving immigrant representation in local decision-making processes.

This research is part of the ADMin4ALL project on supporting social inclusion of vulnerable migrants in Europe, implemented by IOM and funded by the European Commission. For more information about the project, see: https://admin4all.eu/.