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Prof. Dr. Sabine Kuhlmann

Funded by: Mercator-Foundation

Granted project volume: 159.022,00 €

Run-time: 01.06.2020 - 15.10.2022


The so-called "refugee crisis" and its aftermath revealed structural deficits in integration administration in various European countries as if under a burning glass. It became apparent that this area of administration is characterized on the one hand by highly fragmented and non-transparent responsibilities and on the other hand by a strong vertical and horizontal interconnectedness of administrations. Local integration management plays an outstanding role in overcoming these problems. However, for the countries studied here, Germany, Sweden and France, there are no in-depth systematic findings on the implementation of integration management at the municipal level.

Main research question:

What structures, actors and processes exist in local integration management in Germany and in the European countries Sweden and France? What role do municipalities in particular play as integration actors?

What is the significance of approaches to addressee-related counselling at the local level? How is case management implemented and coordinated on the ground?

What general hurdles and obstacles exist in the field of local integration management and how can these be overcome?

Which institutionalization variants of local integration management prove to be particularly effective (good practice) under which contextual conditions?

Research objective:

The project examined structures, processes and actors as well as coordination and performance of local integration management in Germany, Sweden and France. In addition to an empirical inventory of local integration management activities, the focus was on identifying challenges and good practices in the three countries.

For Germany, the sample consists of a total of 14 municipalities in five federal states (Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia and Thuringia). In Sweden and France, two case municipalities each were studied in more detail, whereby for Sweden the focus was on the municipal level due to the primary responsibility of the lower municipal level (kommuner) for integration tasks. In France, too, the focus was on the lower municipal level (communes), but in view of the fragmented responsibility structures, supplemented by intergovernmental insights into the interplay between cities, state actors and associations involved in implementation.