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Conclusion

The analysis presented in this chapter shows that immigration and integration policies have not shifted unidirectionally upward. Rather, we observe a growing complexity of policies in both areas being formulated at various levels of government, including the EU and national levels as well as the local and in some cases also the regional level. We observe substantial fragmentation as well, imposing the risk of “layering”; that is, policies are being developed at different government layers without structural connections. We provided various examples of such “layering” leading to a decoupling of policies, resulting in potential policy contradictions and even conflicts between different levels. Regarding migration, we mentioned as one example the lack of acceptance of Roma as fully integrated EU citizens. As for integration, we mentioned the potential effect of national symbolic discourses on integration processes at the local level. Local governments may move to rectify such effects in order to prevent interethnic tensions within city boundaries. We also saw the tension that has arisen from the EU definition of integration being applicable only to thirdcountry nationals, as local and national governments have expressed a desire to integrate EU migrants into their host societies in a similar way.

At the same time, various and increasingly effective efforts are being made to institutionalize vertical relations between different levels of government. Following our definition of multilevel governance—that it should involve real vertical structures for policy coordination—we believe that we can speak to some extent of a multilevel governance structure for migration that has come in existence in a rather long struggle between national and EU forces, though still in the absence of regional and local governmental agents. Even in the strongly Europeanized field of migration and asylum policies—where one would expect centralist policy relations—we observe that most policies have been developed in a strongly intergovernmental way. Rather than states losing control to Brussels, they are working together and institutionalizing their cooperation, particularly that aimed at better control over immigration flows. However, the coordinated multilevel governance structure described here pertains mainly to restrictiveness and control of migration. Efforts to establish a more comprehensive, proactive immigration policies, as envisaged and proposed by the European Commission, have failed.

With regard to integration policies, partners' competencies at different levels are clearly different from those in the migration policy field, and there seems to be no dominant level. Local governmental agents have claimed and are acquiring a more prominent position in relation to their national governments, and the EU level seems to be playing a mediating role. Relations across levels have intensified over the past decade, and they are both horizontal and vertical, top-down and bottom up. Some countries are developing vertical structures between the national and local levels, such as localized policy measures and joint integration conferences. At the same time, some countries are transferring their strict integration policies to the European level. Cities are applying pressure on their national governments to support local integration policies, and they are “venue shopping” at the EU level. An intriguing direct relationship has developed between the European Commission and city networks on a cross-European scale. All of this is recent and difficult to evaluate, but in view of the absence of clearly centralist and localist dominance in this process, the result could be a multilevel governance structure that, more than in the field of migration, includes nongovernmental partners in the process.

A final observation on the state-of-the-art of the study of multilevel governance as surveyed in this chapter is that so far multilevel governance has been framed, by definition, as an EU-internal phenomenon—that is, it includes only levels and actors within the EU as relevant components. What has been called the “external dimension” of immigration and integration policymaking—that is, relations, negotiations, and agreements with countries of origin of migrants and with international organizations and institutions in the field of international migration and development— does not have a place in this frame (yet). Consequently, the EU's (re-)definition of integration as a three-way process does not resonate in studies of the multilevel governance of migration and integration. The concluding chapter of this book comes back to this external dimension of EU policymaking and its relevance for both immigration and integration policies.

 
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