Refugee reception within a common European asylum system

Looking at convergences and divergences through a local-to-local comparison

Research on the governance of refugees has until recently remained conceptualized with the national perspective as a starting point. This article compares asylum governance at the local level between Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, focusing on the often sensitive and highly debated issue of reception and accommodation. The central idea is to determine convergences and divergences of local reception structures and efforts, and how they are linked to the governance levels situated above them.

Despite municipalities having been greatly affected by, and having shaped in practice, reception
and integration processes of asylum seekers and refugees, so far there has been little in terms of comparative research across countries in Europe. Our findings emerging from the comparison suggest that top-down implementations of asylum reception have created numerous problems and protest on the ground, especially when the local population and local stakeholders were not involved in the decision-making process. On the one hand, the case studies show that within each national setting, the local regimes and agencies can shape divergent reception outcomes in terms of integrative or disintegrative policies. On the other hand, converging developments in the local cases across national contexts, such as the impact of the local political climate, suggest the crucial impact of local reception regimes and agencies, notwithstanding varying regulatory frameworks and procedures. We thus underline the importance of local-to-local comparison, and not only national-to-national, when it comes to analysing refugee reception.

Glorius, B., Oesch, L., Nienaber, B., & Doomernik, J. (2019). Refugee Reception within a common European asylum system: looking at convergences and divergences through a local-to-local comparison. Erdkunde73(1), 19-29.

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