This report looks at multilevel governance dynamics and at the integration policies targeting post-2014 migrants developed by six small and medium-sized towns and rural areas in Italy. Primarily based on interviews conducted in each of the selected municipalities, it provides an overview of
1) national, regional, and local integration policies targeting migrants in Italy;
2) policymaking relations among the key actors involved in these policy processes in the six localities and key features of policy networks within which these actors interact;
3) how these actors perceive and define integration.
The report finds that Italian localities swing between complete political autonomy from and total economic dependence on the higher levels of government. Specifically, local authorities have neither institutional obligations nor specific economic resources in the field of migrant integration. As a result, local integration policies involving post-2014 migrants generally depend on the local actors’ will and ability to successfully participate in the calls for projects issued by the higher levels of government. This dependence on specific competitive procedures enhances the impact of local governments’ political orientation on integration policies by increasing the relevance of local authorities’ availability to take initiative with regard to post-2014 migrant integration. Indeed, in the progressive localities (Cuneo, Avigliana and Siracusa), the municipality shows a proactive approach towards attracting funds for integration through projects whereas this is not the case in localities with conservative local administrations (Novara, Caltagirone and Acate). The dependence on calls also shapes governance networks that are largely project-based with professional and voluntary-based NGOs managing the large majority of services addressing post-2014 migrants, either on their own or on behalf of public entities, whereas mainstream welfare services play a minor role with few exceptions. Although the size and density of governance networks vary across localities, the marginality of the business community and of migrant organisations emerges in all the target localities.
Authors: Irene Ponzo, Eleonora Milazzo and Orlando De Gregorio