European Network "Cities for Local Integration Policy"
In spring 2006, the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities in Europe, the City of Stuttgart and the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions created a European network "Cities for Local Integration Policy of Migrants" (CLIP).
European cities and in particular the major cities with strong economies attract immigrants from all over the world. These cities already possess a rich experience how to integrate a highly heterogeneous and culturally diverse population into the local community. They are also centers of competence in developing and implementing strategies for integration and improved participation of immigrants and ethnic minorities. However, simultaneously, cities and municipalities are also the units that have to pay the price for failing integration processes - even though they are not in the position to regulate immigration flows by themselves and even though they depend on national and federal legislation in all immigration related issues. For this reason, cities and municipalities have a genuine interest in successful local integration practices more or less independent from the national government level.
European conferences on issues of integration usually have a very limited scope in terms of transferring best practice between cities or even of transferring information from local to national or European authorities (or the other way) as they are usually covering general or isolated topics and have no institutionalized follow up. This leads to the paradox situation that even though there are numerous conferences, seminars, and exchanges on the improvement of integration policy - the information presented there rarely reaches the practical level in the cities and municipalities.
Aims of CLIP
The unique character of this network is the combination of an exchange between public administrations on the one hand and accompanying political action research on the other. The problems described above can therefore be tackled by the new established network in a very innovative way.
The network seeks to create an inventory of European practices in local integration policy which enables cities to benchmark their own approaches against the practice and strategies of other cities in Europe. The respective documentation and emerging recommendations help to evaluate and improve own approaches and to initiate new local projects that have already succeeded in similar contexts. Case studies on the integration situation in the participating cities are prepared by the research network which also supports the practitioners in preparing regular reports to be discussed with peers and researchers in regular conferences and also between such conferences. In this context, researchers visit each participating cities for a couple of days. The cities benefit from free high quality case studies and the regular exchange with the city network and the research network. The cities also benefit directly from the exchange of experience in organized mutual learning processes over a longer period of time. The database with the inventory will be made available for all participating partners in the CLIP network.
Cities participating in the network can also expect to exert some influence on national and European policy making. As diagnosed successful practice and other results of the cooperation in CLIP will lead to political recommendations communicated to the national and European decision makers, such as the European Commission and the European Parliament through the participation of the Council of Europe and the European Foundation.
Organization and Membership
A steering committee consists of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities (Council of Europe), the European Foundation, the City of Stuttgart and the City of Vienna in consultation with CEMR.
For the first two years, CLIP will be coordinated by the European Foundation based in Dublin. Around 30 cities of different sizes actively participate in all network activities.
Even though, large immigration cities of "old" EU countries with documented successful integration policies are the core of the network, new EU member states and cities outside the EU, such as Izmir (Turkey) and Zagreb are included.
The cities are represented by their mayors and the commissioners for integration (or other high ranking public administrators responsible for migration, ethnic minorities and integration issues). There are two working conferences per year held in different cities of the network (Stuttgart, Dublin, Brussels, Budapest, Barcelona, Malmö Amsterdam, Zagreb) and accompanied by active networks, such as EUROCITIES and European institutions to promote and strengthen a regular exchange.
The member cities finance the participation of their representatives in regular conferences and other meetings and arrange the visits of the researchers. The European Foundation provides financing for the research activities and the regular meetings until 2010. Since 2011the
network is coordinated by the City of Stuttgart. Working language of the network is English.
Cities participating in the CLIP programme
Amsterdam (The Netherlands); Arnsberg (Germany); Antwerp (Belgium); Athens (Greece); Diputacio de Barcelona (Spain); Breda (The Netherlands); Brescia (Italy); Budapest (Hungary); Copenhagen (Denmark); Dublin (Ireland); Frankfurt (Germany); Helsinki (Finland); Hospitalet (Spain); Istanbul (Turkey); Izmir (Turkey); Kirkless (UK); Ljubljana (Slovenia); Liège (Belgium); Lisbon (Portugal); City of Luxembourg (Luxembourg); Matero (Spain); Newport (UK); Prague (Czech Republic); Sefton (United Kingdom); Strasbourg (France); Stuttgart (Germany); Sundsvall (Sweden); Tallinn (Estland); Terrassa (Spain); Torino (Italy); Turku (Finland), Valencia (Spain), Vienna (Austria); Wolverhampton (United Kingdom), Wroclaw (Poland); Zagreb (Croatia); Zürich (Switzerland).
The network operates in a modular way. In each module one specific issue relevant to the integration of migrants on the local level will be discussed. The first two modules already taken up by the network are:
- Segregation, access to, quality and affordability of housing for migrants
- Diversity policy in cities as regards provision of social services, internal personnel policy of cities including access to employment for migrants; and anti-discrimination policies
- Inter-cultural and inter-religious dialogue (Particular focus on relations to Muslims)
- Supporting entrepreneurship of migrants
- Support for education for migrants from crèche and pre-school to third level education
- Access and quality of health care for migrants
- Cultural integration policies (language, religion, culture of country of origin, sports)
- Promotion of civic and political participation of migrants
- Situation of undocumented migrants
- Private security and violence in the community
- Local labour market policies including and re-training for migrants
Each module will produce a comparative report based on the case studies together with a set of policy recommendations. Guidelines for good practice will also be drawn up. Following the completion of each module 15-20 case studies will be added to a database of initiatives. All products will be available on the Foundation's website www.eurofound.europa.eu and will assist users to locate information and evaluate results of different measures for integration.