The so-called migration and refugee crisis is one of the most contentious topics on the EU agenda in the current context. The recent events related to the Syrian civil war, political turmoil in Libya and the subsequent influx of refugees and other migrants towards Europe as well as perceptions caused by internal migration that led to ‘Brexit’ have had a polarsing effect on Europe. Therefore, territorial evidence on the flows of asylum seekers and refugees, their distribution between and within EU countries, regions and cities, impact on socio-economic development as well as information on crisis management and integration is in high demand. The ESPON applied research activity “Impacts of refugee flows to territorial development in Europe” addresses these issues and aims to provide relevant territorial evidence and policy recommendations.
The research aims to answer the following questions:
How does the distribution of asylum seekers and refugees look like at regional and urban level and how has this been changing over time as a result of European and national policy decisions in recent decades?
What skills and qualifications do the refugees possess and how does the influx of refugees impact the recipient countries´ regional and local labour markets and demographic imbalances (especially concerning regions which are facing the challenges of losing population and ageing)? Do the skills and qualifications meet the needs of local labour markets and how do they compete with local population and regular migrants?
How are different European regions and cities located in arrival, transit and destination countries responding to the refugee crisis in terms of providing humanitarian aid, services (accommodation, material support, healthcare provision, education, language courses, labour market programmes), community building, internal distribution of refugees and medium and long term integration? How does the diversity within Europe in terms of integration policies at regional and local levels look like?
What are the main challenges and what are the good policy responses and the best practices for successful integration of refugees into the local communities, societies and labour markets at regional and local levels? What kind of support do they need? How successful have the integration measures been in the past? How to improve the use of existing funding opportunities? Is there a need to improve the legislation?
What kind of impacts would the implementation of the proposal of European relocation scheme generate to European countries regions and cities? How are countries redistributing refugees internally? What are the main concerns for the host countries and communities?
VVA Europe, IT (lead contractor),
Istituto per la Ricerca Sociale, IT,
InTER - Insitute for Territorial Economic Development, SRB
Central European University, HU
International Centre for Migration Policy and Development (ICMPD), AT
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, BE
Bernd Parusel, SE
Bastian A. Vollmer, DE
Richard Williams, UK
Gianni Antonio Carbonaro, UK