Political participation and inclusion of migrants in European societies start at the local level. Municipal administrations and civil society organizations, including those led by migrants themselves, can play a key role in this process. But how can we make the most out of it and ensure it benefits local communities as a whole?
Since 2022, INTEGRIM has been part of MILE – or Migrant Integration through Locally designed Experiences. MILE is a two-year project co-funded through the European Union’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) and involving partners in six European countries: Belgium, Greece, Latvia, Spain, the Netherlands, and the UK. The project aims to understand the needs of municipalities and migrant/refugee communities and boost the political participation and leadership of the latter by creating long-term networks of exchange and collaboration.
At the end of June, MILE project partners have launched 5 policy briefs drawing on local experiences and latest research in order to promote inclusive policy-making in European cities. INTEGRIM researchers Amandine Desille, Davide Gnes and Beatrice Tommasi contributed with a policy brief on “Leveraging EU resources to promote migrant political inclusion.” In our brief we looked at the potential of EU funding and networks to foster migrant inclusion, moreover mapping the current EU funding landscape in this field.
In this policy brief we suggest that EU funding and networks can be an attractive resource for municipalities interested in promoting migrant inclusion. We identified several positive elements:
- EU funding may allow municipalities to fund projects that may not be funded through other means. It may be because of limited resources, but also because the topic is too politically sensitive (i.e. migration);
- EU funding can create structural dependency on external funding, but there are ways to turn a weakness into a strength (e.g. leverage EU project criteria for policy or institutional reform geared towards inclusion of migrants);
- EU funding encourages a multi-stakeholder approach, which can facilitate inclusion of migrant organizations and strengthen political dialogue across ideological and other divides;
- Participation in EU networks can bring reputational and funding advantages (e.g. access to information and to potential project consortia, ability to influence what gets decided in Brussels).
Interested in learning more about EU funding opportunities in the field of migrant political inclusion?
You can read INTEGRIM’s policy brief and our recommendations here.