Across Europe, competences on immigration and integration policies at state, regional and local governments vary significantly. This complex institutional landscape reflects the transversal and interdisciplinary nature of integration and, at the same time, it makes it particularly challenging to conceive and implement coherent and coordinated policies between the different policy areas and governance levels. To address this challenge the Intercultural Cities programme launches a platform called Inclusive Integration Policy Lab, for a robust and permanent dialogue between local and national policy-makers on migrant and refugee integration in order to ensure policy consistency and complementarity and enable transfer of innovation and good practice from local to regional and national levels.
The first meeting of the Inclusive Integration Policy Lab took place on 16 February at DBB Forum in Berlin. The meeting gathered a restricted number of national leaders, Mayors and representatives of the civil society.
Participants made a strong case in favour of orienting both national and local policies towards a more inclusive approach to help States complying with their obligations under various legal instruments (eg. ECHR and the European Social Charter); ensuring more peaceful societies, reducing negative attitudes towards immigrants, and becoming more resilient to populistic and/or xenophobic discourse.
Moreover, it appeared important to bring coherence to prioritisation of areas of intervention at both local and national levels, and improve coordination and effective communication among the different levels of governance.
Overall, participants agreed that a strategic dialogue between local and national governments is both relevant and desirable, and identified the thematic areas that could be opened for discussion at the second Policy Lab to take place during the ICC Milestone event in Lisbon in November 2017.