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[IWS] MPIE: SUPPORTING IMMIGRANT INTEGRATION IN EUROPE: WHAT ROLE FOR ORIGIN COUTNRIES' SUBNATIONAL AUTHORITIES? [24 February 2015]
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Migration Policy Institute Europe (MPIE)
SUPPORTING IMMIGRANT INTEGRATION IN EUROPE: WHAT ROLE FOR ORIGIN COUTNRIES' SUBNATIONAL AUTHORITIES? [24 February 2015]
By Özge Bilgili and Ilire Agimi
[full-text, 31 pages]
The substantial role that subnational authorities in EU Member States play in the governance of migrant integration is widely recognised; far less is known about the role of corresponding authorities in migrant-sending countries.
A new Migration Policy Institute Europe report, Supporting Immigrant Integration in Europe: What Role for Origin Countries’ Subnational Authorities?, examines the efforts that a number of major migrant-sending countries—including Morocco, Turkey, and Mexico—have undertaken to promote the successful integration of their immigrants abroad. The report is part of the INTERACT research initiative co-financed by the European Commission, which is examining to what extent policies in EU Member States and origin countries complement or contradict each other with regards to immigrant integration.
Until now, the substantial diaspora engagement measures seen most often at the national level in origin countries have overshadowed activities at the regional and local level. But as a significant number of these countries undergo decentralisation reforms and make efforts to strengthen local governance, the role of subnational authorities in supporting migrants begins to take on a new meaning.
This report represents the first attempt to investigate how the activities of origin countries' regional and local institutions may improve the lives of emigrants to EU Member States. It discusses relevant opportunities as well as obstacles for sending-country cities, regional political entities, and federated states in the design and implementation of policy measures to improve the trajectories of migrants. The report also underscores the importance of international cooperation at the subnational level—specifically city-to-city partnerships—focusing on well-established migration corridors in Europe, with the assumption that historical links or geographic proximity can make cooperation easier.
Besides interventions on employment, political participation, and health care, local authorities may contribute positively to integration at destination through diplomatic visits, community celebrations and other cultural initiatives, and educational exchange programmes—all of which help to increase trust and mutual understanding between immigrants and their host societies.
The report notes, however, the wide range of challenges that hamper sending countries’ subnational authorities from doing more to promote the integration of emigrants at destination. Key challenges include inadequately devolved competences and—even where such competences are in place—financial constraints (affecting cities in particular) that make it difficult to address competing policy priorities and take opportunities to cooperate with host countries.
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