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Decentralising integration policies

Decentralising integration policies

Rinus Penninx

26 November 2009

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Managing migration in cities, regions and localities

Decentralising integrationAs cities and regions across Europe struggle to manage the integration challenges posed by immigration, a growing number of people are looking to decentralisation for answers. This paper argues that increasing the financial and decision-making power of local authorities is a necessary precondition for formulating and implementing successful integration policies, but it is not a panacea.

The paper draws on the findings of two large-scale European projects on local integration policies to identify the strategic and tactical advantages which local authorities enjoy over national governments in the field of integration. It warns, however, that if decentralisation is to work for the benefit of integration and avoid a “race to the bottom” in the delivery of public services, the transfer of competences from central to local authorities must take place in a carefully calibrated system of multi-level governance.

Rinus Penninx is professor of ethnic studies at the University of Amsterdam. He founded the Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies (IMES) at the University of Amsterdam in March 1993 and served as the Institute’s director until October 2005. From 1999 till 2009, he has also acted as European co-chair of International Metropolis. In April 2004 he became coordinator of the IMISCOE-Network of Excellence (International Migration, Integration and Social Cohesion in Europe) and in April 2009 coordinator of the IMISCOE Research Network.

The paper will be launched on Tuesday 1 December at the "Managing the welfare impacts of migration in times of economic turbulence" event, at which John Denham, UK secretary of state for communities and local government, will give the keynote speech.

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