VUB research shows integration policy has permeated all policy levels – local, national and international – and needs to be better coordinated

VUB research shows integration policy has permeated all policy levels – local, national and international – and needs to be better coordinated

Regions that strive for more autonomy, such as Flanders, Catalonia, South Tyrol and Quebec, are more often in conflict with the central state on integration

Tomorrow is International Migrants Day. Research by Ilke Adam of the Institute for European Studies at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Eve Hepburn of Edinburgh University has shown that in states with multiple policy levels, coordination of migrant integration has increasingly been shifted to both the international level (EU and international organisations) and the local level (regional and local authorities), as well as to external actors (countries of origin or transit, NGOs, private actors).

While the integration of migrants has traditionally been seen as a national matter, this fragmentation of policymaking powers increases the need for coordination. Ilke Adam: “Integration, equal opportunities and anti-discrimination is not a matter of one policy level or one policy sector. Like gender equality and sustainable development, it requires intense cooperation and decisiveness.”

 

The authors compared four countries characterised by a complex state structure – Belgium, Canada, Italy and Spain – and showed that discussions on the integration of migrants have slowly but surely penetrated the interaction between states and between levels of government. For example, specific intergovernmental agreements, councils or committees have been established. Moreover, the integration of migrants has been mainstreamed in intergovernmental discussions in sectoral committees and councils on employment, housing, health and education.

The researchers also tested the drivers of cooperation between policy levels. Regions that strive for more autonomy, such as Flanders, Catalonia, South Tyrol and Quebec, are more often in conflict with the central state on integration. The Europeanisation of integration and anti-discrimination policies has led to increased internal cooperation between the federal state and the federated states in Belgium, more so than in other states.

Adam and Hepburn’s research appeared in a special issue of the science magazine Regional and Federal Studies. ADAM, Ilke and HEPBURN, Eve (2018), Intergovernmental Relations on Immigrant Integration in Multilevel States. A Comparative Assessment, Regional and Federal Studies, https://doi.org/10.1080/13597566.2018.1524376  

 

On International Migrants Day, 18 December, Ilke Adam will give a lecture on integration policy in Belgium at Bozar. She will talk about her (radical) solution for Brussels: www.bozar.be/nl/activities/146741-van-integratie--naar-gelijkheidsbeleid-pleidooi-voor-een-radicaal-brusselse-aanpak

 

Ilke Adam

0475 38 87 27

Ilke.adam@vub.be

@IlkeAdam

About Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Vrije Universiteit Brussel is an internationally oriented university in Brussels, the heart of Europe. By providing excellent research and education on a human scale, VUB wants to make an active and committed contribution to a better society. 

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