© Paolo Maitre Libertini

Migration, Regions, Development: The Impact of Social and Economic Policies on Migrants in Europe

The Horizon 2020 project MATILDE publishes the impact assessments of policies on migrants’ interaction with the social and economic structure of the remote and rural areas in the MATILDE countries – Austria, Bulgaria, Finland, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and in the United Kingdom.

The MATILDE Policy Brief (Deliverable 3.1 and 4.1 The impact of social and economic policies on migrants in Europe) examines the effect of policy related factors on the migrant’s interaction with the social economic structure with a focus on rural and mountain areas. A very large range of policies is assessed like regional development policy, social inclusion, economic and labor market policy, welfare policy, territorial and demographic policy, healthcare, education and training, housing, settlement policy, diversity management, mobility policy, outreach and coexistence-oriented policy, participation policy, equality legislation, empowering communities policy. Most of these policies target migrants directly, while others were not designed for this purpose, but nonetheless have an impact on their interaction with the region’s social and economic fabric. The policy brief applies and elaborates the new concept of foundational economics for assessing more comprehensively the migrants’ impact.

A special attention is paid to the impact of COVID-19 on the migrants’ labour integration. Each country report includes two separate conclusions, describing if and how policy related factors act on the one side on the migrants’ impact into the country economy and on the other on their social inclusion/impact.

The Policy Brief asks the question which policies are working and which not. Some strategies, policies, measures are critically analyzed for being ‘a collection of good wishes for the future’. Each country policy brief includes an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the policies and services and scrutinizes both the drivers and the barriers to policies’ implementation and/or maximization of their outcome. Housing remains a problem in several countries. Employment, services infrastructure, education are other factors that encourage or discourage both the local and immigrant population to/from settling in rural and remote areas. The country policy briefs detail and specify these general trends.

GOOD PRACTICES

How do regions innovate for enhancing the regional development and the migrants’ impact? The policy brief highlights the creativity of the European regions in inventing and implementing innovative initiatives of integration. They are presented by an impressive repertoire of local policies and activities, collected in ‘Good practices’. They are also of two types – for the economic and social impact – and range from active labour market measures to anti-rumour strategy, from ‘integration guides’ to ‘association of municipalities against depopulation’ and ‘living villages’ for encouraging settlement in remote areas. In a few countries such as Sweden migrant start businesses to a higher degree than natives. If the policy brief focuses predominantly on policies, the actors take central stage in ‘Good practices’ and they are diverse and committed – empowered migrants, active citizens, local authorities, churches, associations, etc.

The people and places nexus plays a key role in ‘Europe with a regional heart’ (A. Membretti). The local level, where governance meets the ‘vital words,’ is the privileged one for creative sense-making policies and innovative practices. State-of-the-art policy tools allow bringing together citizens, migrants, local authorities and participatory research with the goal to connect, collaborate, and create. They could maximize the contribution of diverse local actors for tailor-made practices of integration and social cohesion. This is the direction for MATILDE’s research in the next two years.

Click here to access the full Policy Brief ‘The Impact of Social and Economic Policies on Migrants in Europe’, published on MATILDE Website.

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