The integration of migrants and refugees is often proclaimed to be a ‘two-way process’, leading not just to a transformation of the newcomers but the whole society. This requires efforts from both the state as well as civil society, ideally in co-operation. That’s how many policy documents in Germany phrase it. And indeed, since 2015 and now with the current arrival of Ukrainian refugees, we see unprecedented levels of civic engagement. So, where do we stand with regard to these new forms of interaction between state and society that are called “co-production”? Continue reading →
Europe currently faces the biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War. Many European states are confronted with large numbers of migrants in need of immediate care, food and shelter. Responsible public agencies, such as the UK’s Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA) in the Netherlands, face exceptionally complex challenges. A challenge that is aggravated by the fact that they are constantly criticized in the media and by politicians when things go wrong.
In the Netherlands, for instance, COA was blamed for concocting unpleasant surprises for local governments when the organization decided to immediately direct large numbers of asylum seekers to their municipalities. A Dutch mayor called the situation ‘chaotic’: “The COA lost control of the temporary housing of refugees”, he said. COA was held accountable and had to explain its behaviour to politicians and Continue reading →