How Immigrant Integration Policies in Central-Eastern Europe Metropolises Highlight a European Frame of Integration Policy

Prof. Patrycja Matusz-Protasiewicz
Dr. Mikołaj Pawlak

This paper analyses how the institutionalization of European policy refracts through immigrant integration programs in Central and Eastern European cities (CEE). A key project goal was to identify a European frame for immigrant integration in three cases study cities – Budapest, Prague, Warsaw. The rationale for choosing each city was predicated on verifying the project hypothesis: that immigrant integration policies are carried out according to similar patterns within a Central and Eastern European context. Verification of this hypothesis would enable us to model for immigrant integration policies that reflect this social and spatial geography.
To undertake this investigation, a comparative analysis of public policies (cf. Penninx, 2014) focused on the specific content of the integration policies and modes of governance. First, existing data was analysed including: local level and grey literature and documents, and, documents by private actors involved in the process of creating and implementing policies for integrating immigrants. Second, individual in-depth interviews were conducted with the major actors involved in the process of institutionalization of integration policy, including NGOs, immigrant organization etc. In executing this analysis, we were able to underscore incidences of dependency on, as well as sources and directions of knowledge transfer through policy learning, as well as how these featured in processes of the institutionalization of immigrant integration policies in the cities of CEE.
A further research goal was to analyse the relations of different actors in a multi-level governance context and the direct impact of the transnational EU policy to local level actors (that also bypassed the national level). In this paper, we show how the interconnection of policy levels and the presence of actors in many roles in the process of institutionalising immigrant integration policies resulted in the top-down transfer of policy goals. Moreover, we also highlight the converse perspective and demonstrate how bottom-up policy initiatives strengthen the position of cities as important players in the multilevel governance, both individually and collectively.