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POLICY BRIEF

‘When Mayors Make Migration Policy’: The future of city diplomacy






Migration / POLICY BRIEF
Petra Bendel , Janina Stürner , Christiane Heimann , Hannes Schammann

Date: 10/06/2021
In the times of COVID-19, what are the risks and opportunities for city diplomacy in European migration and integration governance? The consequences of the pandemic on the fragile structure of transnational city-to-city and city-to-EU cooperation are largely overlooked. As priorities shift to short-term crisis management, city representatives find it more difficult than ever to set aside time and resources for city diplomacy at the European level.

There is a real risk of re-localising urban issues that can only be successfully addressed by multilevel governance. The backslide of considering cities as mere policy implementers would hinder the concerted development and promotion of policies that reflect and address migration realities on the ground.

Innovative working methods must be included into city diplomacy, and migration-related policy issues addressed comprehensively. Realising these opportunities is not only necessary to maintain existing networks, but also address short-term management issues and long-term recovery strategies in the context of the pandemic.

In order to seize the windows for inclusive and innovative work methods and policy design in city diplomacy, the following measures should be adopted:

  • expand inclusive virtual city networking;
  • strengthen city diplomacy’s everyday dimension;
  • foster EU institutions’ virtual accessibility;
  • promote cross-regional city diplomacy;
  • break up ‘siloing’ of interdependent policy fields;
  • normalise non-discriminatory access to basic services;
  • promote inclusive narratives, incubate community solidarity networks; and
  • link ad hoc COVID-19 practices to general integration strategies.

This Policy Brief is the result of a cooperation between the project “When Mayors make Migration Policy” and the European Policy Centre (EPC), within the framework of the EPC–Stiftung Mercator’s Connecting Europe initiative. 

You can find the first 'When Mayors Make Migration Policy' Policy Brief here.



Read the full paper here.
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