The multilevel dynamics of migrant integration policies have been very different from those of immigration policies. Rather than the turn towards Europe described above, a “local turn” seems primarily at play. This involves a shift away from historically rooted models of integration strongly related to nationally specific models of identity and belonging (see also Ireland 1994). Such models would imply, in our typology, strongly state-centric (centralist) modes of governance. Brubaker (1992), for instance, shows that French and German policies have their respective roots in deep historic notions of the French “Staatsvolk” (ius soli) and German “Volksstaat” (ius sanguinis). This idea of national models of integration has been strong not just in policy but also in academic discourse (for a critical discussion see Bertossi 2011; Bertossi et al. 2015; Joppke 2007). Yet, as argued earlier, this has led to an overemphasis on differences between national integration models, such as the British race-relations model, the German differentialist model, the French Republicanist model, and the Dutch multiculturalist model.
The politicization of migrant integration that took place in many European countries in the 1990s and 2000s revealed the resiliency of such national models. In this period, there was a revival of ideas of cultural integration, especially in national political and policy discourses. Throughout Europe this led to policy initiatives that strengthened the importance of national history, culture, values, and norms in relation to immigrant integration. For example, during this period the Netherlands, France, Germany, and the UK introduced civic integration programmes including tests of basic knowledge about society. Joppke and Morawska (2003) speak in this respect of an assimilationist turn in migrant integration policies.
The Local Turn in Migrant Integration Policies
Local governments, especially those in Europe’s larger cities, have become increasingly active in developing their own integration philosophies. From a sociological perspective, this development makes sense as it is at the local level that migrants meet others, find a job, have children, et cetera. It is also at this level that negative as well as positive aspects of diversity are experienced most concretely. Also, we know from research that migrants identify much more with the city they live in than with the nation. Hyperdiverse cities like Berlin, Amsterdam, and London embrace diversity as part of the city’s identity and as a positive anchoring point for local policies, sometimes in spite of their respective national models. Industrial cities like Manchester and Rotterdam have linked their traditional emphasis on work and housing to the new challenge of diversity. This supports sociologist Benjamin Barber’s suggestion that it is precisely the inability of national democracies to develop effective responses to migration and diversity that prompts cities to develop their own strategies with a much greater emphasis on pragmatism, trust, and participation.
Various scholars, including Alexander (2007) and Penninx et al. (2004), illustrate how cities in particular started developing their own integration philosophies, often in response to the specific local situation. For instance, various successive mayors of the Greater London Authority were particularly proactive on migrant integration. Similarly, the City of Berlin had an integration strategy in place long before Germany developed a national strategy. Penninx (2009) demonstrates that in many countries policies evolved in large and diverse cities before national integration policies were developed, as attested to by Birmingham and Bradford in the UK, Berlin and Frankfurt in Germany, Vienna in Austria, and the Swiss cities of Zurich, Bern, and Basel. In our typology, this fits best with the localist or decoupled models, depending on whether these local philosophies are in line with national policy contours (as in Germany) or contrast and possibly even conflict with national policies (as in various cases in the Netherlands). As we will read below, only in some cases has it led to what we describe as multilevel governance.
The local turn in migrant integration policies has several implications in terms of vertical relations between national and local governments. Under the centralist model, local governments would play a role but this would be confined primarily to policy implementation. Indeed, in many countries we find top-down structures for policy coordination. In France policy coordination is strongly state-centric, and countries including Sweden, Denmark, and the Netherlands have long had strong national policy coordination frameworks. Often, the way funds are distributed and allocated is indicative of the division of labour between the national and the local level. Even in the UK, a country with relatively active local actors, significant funds are allocated from the national level (including funding for courses in English for speakers of other languages). However, many studies suggest that the top-down or centralist model has become much less applicable to the practice of migrant integration policymaking in many European countries (see also Entzinger and Scholten 2014). Local integration policies tend to differ from national policies in various respects. Caponio and Borkert (2010: 9) even speak of a distinctly “local dimension of migrant integration polices”. Some scholars argue that local policies are more likely than national policies to be accommodative of ethnic diversity and work together with migrant organizations, due in part to the practical need to manage ethnic differences in a city (Borkert and Bosswick 2007; Vermeulen and Stotijn 2010). Thus, in contrast to the often symbolic tendencies of national policies, local policies are driven by pragmatic problem-solving (Poppelaars and Scholten 2008). For instance, cities might work more closely with migration representatives and organizations than a national government would (see also Bousetta 2000). Cities may also be more inclined to accommodate and support cultural and religious activities of minorities in response to migrants’ needs and demands.
Others contend that, rather than being characteristically more accommodative, local policies are driven by specifically local factors in very different directions. Significant variation in local policies can therefore be expected. Mahnig (2004) concludes that local integration policies in Paris, Berlin, and Zurich have very much responded to local political circumstances, often in ad hoc ways and leading to accommodation in some instances and exclusion in others. According to Alexander (2003, 2007), differences in local social situations have triggered different policy responses, with some cities adopting a more culturalist and others a more socioeconomic approach. A recent study of integration policies in Amsterdam and Rotterdam found that these two cities within the same country and with similar migrant populations produced very different policy outcomes in terms of migrant integration. Rotterdam stressed work and housing, whereas Amsterdam was much more oriented towards promoting intercultural relations (Scholten 2013). In other studies (e.g., Garbaye 2005; Bousetta 2000), a key factor identified as a trigger of specifically local responses is the political mobilization of migrants at the local level. Garbaye (ibid.), for example, found more significant political mobilization and ethnic elite formation in Birmingham than in Lille. This could not be explained only by differences between the groups involved (mainly South Asians in Britain and North Africans in Lille). Another factor was the difference between the liberal British citizenship regime and openness of the local labour party towards ethnic elite formation compared to the French citizenship regime, which had barred access to many Maghrébins, and the local socialist party, which had remained very restrictive in admitting migrants to local political elites.
The local turn of integration policy has a number of implications for governance. In some cities, it has led to what can be described as a decoupling of national and local policies. Thus, policies at these levels were not mutually coordinated and sometimes sent very different policy messages to the same policy target groups. Poppelaars and Scholten (2008) speak, in this respect, of national and local policies being “two worlds apart” in the Netherlands, because of their divergent logics of policy formulation (politicization at the national level and pragmatic problem-solving at the local level). Similarly, Jørgensen (2012) observes a growing disconnect between national and local integration policies. Collett and Gidley (2013) find that in several countries local governments feel they have to repair some of the centripetal forces unleashed by national political and policy discourses. As such, politicized debates at the national level can have a performative effect at the local level as well.
In other situations, more localist types of relations have emerged. Local governments have become increasingly active in what has been described as “vertical venue shopping” (Guiraudon 1997). This refers to efforts by local governments to lobby for policy measures at the national (and increasingly also European) level. Scholten (2013) cites the example of the City of Rotterdam, which managed to get a special law passed at the national level allowing it to adopt stricter policies aimed at spatial dispersal of migrants in the city. The city has also been active at the European level, lobbying for integration measures for intra-EU labour migrants. Establishment of networks among European cities has become a particularly powerful strategy for vertical venue shopping in the field of migrant integration. We will look at this in more detail later.
In contrast to the examples above, which fit the localist or decoupled types of relations, institutionalized relations between national and local governments have evolved in several countries over the past decade towards our definition of multilevel governance. Germany, in particular, has established multilevel venues for coordination of integration policies, with a key role for national integration conferences. These conferences bring together actors from various government levels as well as nongovernmental actors to align efforts to promote integration. The UK’s tradition of coordinated vertical relations includes its delegation of policy coordination at the national level to the Department of Communities and Local Government. Even France, a country known for its state-centric approach, has developed dedicated structures for organizing relations with local governments. Although often not framed explicitly in terms of coordinating migrant integration policies (still reflecting the French colour-blind Republicanist approach), integration clearly plays a role in France’s so-called Urban Social Cohesion Contracts and Educational Priority Zones. These allow the Parisian government to adopt tailored, localized approaches within the context of national policy. The Netherlands’ government has established a “common integration agenda” for national and local governments, though it appears to have been rendered hollow by a lack of central funding.
European Involvement and Nascent Multilevel Governance
Besides the local turn in migrant integration policies, the past decade has also witnessed a gradually increasing involvement of the European level. Nonetheless, compared to the strong trend towards Europeanization that we found in the field of migration and asylum, the Europeanization of migrant integration has come much later and been more modest and hesitant (Goeman 2013). There is as yet no common European policy aimed at migrant integration. This reflects the persistence of the connection between migrant integration and the nation state. The way that countries integrate “their” migrants appears strongly related to conceptions of national identity, history, culture, and values and norms—especially since the “assimilationist turn” described above. Several steps have been taken towards greater EU involvement in this area. Some of these involve EU directives, primarily as a spin-off of the communitarization of immigration policies. Because of the binding effect of EU directives, one could say that they to some extent signal our top-down centralist model of migrant integration, as significant policymaking power is transferred to the EU level. Particularly important in this respect are two 2003 directives: the Directive on the Status of Non-EU Nationals Who Are Long-Term Residents, which provides a framework for policies toward third-country nationals in the EU, and the earlier-mentioned Directive on the Right to Family Reunification, which provides a framework for admittance of family migrants to the EU. Both directives have been influential as a framework for development of civic integration policies for third-country nationals (many of whom are family migrants), as they stipulate what integration measures may be demanded of migrants.
An additional key area in which Europeanization has been significant is anti-discrimination policy. Two directives issued in 2000—the Racial Equality Directive and the Employment Equality Framework Directive—establish a binding structure within which member states can develop their anti-discrimination policies. These directives are yet another example of vertical venue shopping, as they were formulated in response to lobbying by the UK and Dutch governments in particular.
Besides such “hard” and “binding” measures, which may suggest an EU-centric approach (fitting our centralist type), specific frames and definitions have been developed and various non-binding measures put in place which can be described as softer or more open methods of coordination (see also Geddes and Scholten 2014b). In 2003, the European Commission formulated its first comprehensive view on integration policies in the Communication on Immigration, Integration and Employment (EC COM (2003) 336 final). It defines integration as ‘a two-way process based on mutual rights and corresponding obligations of legally resident third country nationals and the host society which provides for full participation of the immigrant’ (ibid.: 17). Integration is conceived as a ‘balance of rights and obligations’ (ibid.: 18). The holistic approach of policies encompasses all dimensions of integration, from economic, social, and political rights to cultural and religious diversity, citizenship, and participation.
In November 2004, the EU Conference of Specialised Ministers responsible for integration agreed on a set of 11 Common Basic Principles for Immigrant Integration Policy (CBP) as a first step towards a European framework for immigrant integration and a point of reference for implementation and evaluation of current and future integration policies. These principles define integration as a two-way process of accommodation and stress the importance of language, interaction, and participation. They furthermore call for the mainstreaming of migrant integration in other policy areas. Importantly, this step towards a more comprehensive framework was accompanied by continuation of the limited definition of the integration target group following directly from migration policies: integration policies are aimed at third-country nationals only and do not target immigrants who are citizens (or long-term residents) of another EU member state. They are supposedly already integrated, by definition, though this assumption has been criticized by local authorities in regions that have received numerous immigrants from the EU’s newest member states (e.g., Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria).
Although rather broad and not binding, the CBPs provide a foundation for more EU involvement in this policy area (primarily intergovernmentalist and thus, in the EU setting, fitting our “localist” type). Following the CBPs, the European Handbook on Integration was published in 2004. In 2005, the Common Agenda for Integration by the European Commission and The Hague Programme were formulated to promote implementation of the CBPs primarily via soft governance means like persuasion, networking, and exchange of best practices. In 2013 the Common Agenda for Integration was developed further into the European Agenda for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals, which stresses the importance of socioeconomic participation and the relevance of the local level in its promotion.
This evolving EU policy framework reflects the EU’s distinctive internal organizational setting for integration policies. First, there is DG Freedom, Security and Justice (also responsible for migration policies), which targets particularly the early reception and integration of recent newcomers, of refugees and accepted asylum seekers, and also of third-country nationals until they have become long-term residents. It is in this particular part of EU policies that West European countries have increasingly “uploaded” their cultural integration requirements for new third-country immigrants into EU integration policies (Goeman 2013). The second setting from which integration is promoted is DG Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities. Its programmes aim to promote social inclusion and cohesion. Its sizeable funding is—again—used quite extensively by local and regional authorities (and their policies) and by nongovernmental civil society partners at all levels. Equality and anti-discrimination are key concepts (for this reason the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) and its successor the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) were associated with this DG). Target groups include not only immigrants but also ethnic minorities and the disabled. Priority domains are equal access to and long-term integration in employment, education, housing, and health. The new Commission in place since autumn 2014 has complicated the picture even more: DG FSJ has been split into the DG Migration and Home Affairs (Immigration, Asylum, and Borders) and Justice and Consumers (Union Citizenship, Free Movement, Equality legislation, and Anti-discrimination).
In the absence of a clear division of formal policy competencies in the area of migrant integration, the very incremental Europeanization of this area of policy has been based on two main resources: expertise and cities (see also Penninx 2015). Regarding the first, migration scholars from the Netherlands and USA played a key role in formulation of the CBPs (ibid.). Furthermore, the EU has used various funding schemes to mobilize comparative research on policy topics that it considers relevant. From 2003 to 2006, this involved, in particular, the Integration of Third-Country Nationals (INTI) Fund and from 2007 to 2013 the European Integration Fund. As Geddes and Scholten (2014b) observe, the initial objective was mainly to promote the horizontal exchange of relevant information, knowledge, and policy best practices. Gradually, with the formulation of the CBPs and the Common Agenda for Integration, these funding schemes have increasingly mobilized expertise to help substantiate the nascent EU policy framework. A clear example in this respect is the EU-sponsored Migrant Integration Policy Index (MIPEX). Though first established to promote comparison and exchange of best practices, the MIPEX has evolved into a tool for monitoring member states’ compliance with EU integration principles, enabling “naming and shaming” of those that do not comply. In the context of our discussion of multilevel governance, this bears out the potentially strategic role that knowledge and expertise can play in multilevel governance, acting in “soft” but sometimes impactful ways (open method of coordination), especially in the absence of more structural “vertical” relations between levels.
Regarding the second EU resource deployed in this area, European programmes have sought to establish a strong relation between the EU and the city level. It is in these efforts that, according to our typology, we can distinguish the contours of an emerging multilevel governance framework. With various means, including some of the funding schemes mentioned above, the European Commission in particular has actively promoted various city networks on a European scale. These networks primarily involve cross-national horizontal forms of cooperation between cities, but with strong connections to the Commission. One example is the CLIP Network (Cities for Local Integration Policies), which since 2006 has brought together some 30 European cities in conferences to systematically exchange knowledge and experience regarding local integration policies.
Integrating Cities is another network (also established in 2006) organized under the Eurocities’ working group on migration and integration, a large network of some 140 major European cities. The Integrating Cities initiative includes a policy dialogue between Eurocities and the European Commission, a conference series, the Eurocities Charter on Integrating Cities, and other EU-funded projects.
Another example is Intercultural Cities, which is a joint activity of the Council of Europe and the European Commission. It emerged from the 2008 White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue contributed by the Council of Europe to the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue that same year. Intercultural Cities advocates pluralistic city identities that respect diversity. The Intercultural Cities Programme was developed and first applied in 11 European pilot cities and has since evolved. It has developed the Intercultural Cities Index for cities to evaluate and develop their policies, and it organizes international conferences for cities to exchange experiences.
Other more specifically horizontal cooperation initiatives have been undertaken as well, such as the European Coalition of Cities against Racism (ECCAR), established in 2004 at the initiative of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The aim of this coalition of cities is to share experiences in order to improve policies against racism, discrimination, and xenophobia. Some 104 municipalities from 22 European countries have joined the network and adopted its 10-point plan of action.
Besides making a direct connection between the nascent European policy framework on migrant integration and the local level of government, thereby constructing the most distinct multilevel governance structures in this area today, the focus on the local level also feeds into the local turn in migrant integration policy described above. Horizontal exchanges of knowledge and best practices between cities, promoted by the EU, has increased cities’ entrepreneurship in developing their own integration philosophies. In a number of cases such integration philosophies encompass relations with cities from which migrants originated, as Chap. 10 will show. One might interpret this as the “three-way process” proposed by the European Commission in its 2011 European Agenda for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals, but one should be aware that the local policy actors involved might have quite different intentions and motives.