Cities and Their Networks in EU-Africa Migration Policy. Are They Really Game Changers?
RegionEast Africa and the Horn of Africa, European Economic Area, Middle East and North Africa, South Eastern Europe, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Southern Africa, West and Central Africa
OrganizationStiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP)
|Around the world, the challenges posed by forced displacement and migration are mounting. Yet international cooperation in this policy area is stagnating […] Simultaneously the economic and political importance of cities is growing worldwide […] In this context, the international debate on migration policy increasingly views cities as potential game changers. They are seen as more orientated towards action than governments, and they tend more towards pragmatism, since those who are responsible locally have to find rapid, effective, and lasting solutions for “their” refugees and migrants. That is why cities are often called upon to play a significant role in refugee and migration policy. Therefore, international exchange between mayors should, so the argument runs, be promoted, and networks be constructed and extended giving greater weight to cities and their concerns in international politics. Larger cities increasingly engage in national debates about refugee and migration policy; they coordinate amongst themselves and become involved in transnational networks. But what potential do cities actually have in this area, considering – inter alia – their great diversity? How realistic are the hopes that they might be able to act together and contribute to a coherent and effective (and, from the perspective of many non-governmental organisations, less restrictive) refugee and migration policy? What possibilities and limitations exist in this cooperation? And what lessons can be learned from previous experiences?
The present study examines these issues in the context of the cooperation between Africa and Europe on refugee and migration policy.