Krasteva A. (ed) Immigration and integration: european experiences. S., 2009.

Krasteva A. (ed.) Immigration and integration: european experiences. Sofia, 2009.

Andrew Geddes (2005) makes a distinction between immigration policies and immigrant policies. The first focuses on migration flows, the second on the integration of immigrants in receiving societies.

International migration is a “fact of life” for liberal states (Geddes 2005), yet several scholars speak of the “liberal paradox” of open markets and relatively closed states (Hollifield 2000). The enhancement of the second element, leading to increasingly restrictive policies at both national and European levels, marks the evolution of migration management over the last decades. Eytan Meyers enumerates its main challenges: how governments decide on the number of immigrants they will accept; whether to differentiate between various immigrant groups; whether to accept refugees, and on what basis; whether to favor permanent immigration over temporary migrant workers (Meyers 2004, p. 3).

The present book analyzes the other type of migration policy, oriented towards the inclusion of migrants into the social, economic and cultural body of the receiving countries.

How to re-imagine and re-organize the conceptual and organizational boundaries of a given community in response to immigration (Geddes 2005) is the fundamental question guiding integration policies. It is articulated through two major issues that currently mark the intellectual and political debates. The first regards rethinking the concept of citizenship, and the second, the renewed dilemma between assimilation and multiculturalism.

T.K. Marshall’s classic definition of modern citizenship sees it as a vehicle for the building of a national community through the extension of legal, political and social rights. Large-scale immigration challenges this classical understanding, because immigrants have access to legal and social rights but often do not get political rights. New concepts such as denizenship aspire to more subtle conceptualizations of the different categories and “entries” into citizenship.

Citizenship trajectories, language lessons, courses on institutions and practices of receiving societies – these examples, increasingly required by receiving countries, illustrate that host societies are becoming more demanding in terms of integration. The Netherlands, praised in the 1980s and 1990s for its multicultural model, is a case in point. Today the Dutch integration programme, requiring a considerable amount of acculturation, is the strictest in all of Europe (Jacobs and Rea 1007). Some authors interpret these changes as a more general shift towards assimilation in integration policy paradigms of European states (Jopke 2007), others argue that divergences in integration policies still exist and different national models can be distinguished (Jacobs and Rea 1007).

The EU is very active in migration policy and on strengthening control over migration flows, as the European Pact on Migration proposed by Nicolas Sarkozy during the French presidency[1] and voted on in 2008 clearly shows. The EU is much less active on integration policy besides setting general standards for antidiscrimination. This leaves room for national governments to decide their own strategies. This freedom is also a burden for governments of states without liberal and democratic experience in immigration and integration. Bulgaria, similar to several other post communist states, is a case in point.

Two deficits delineate the post communist situation: there are no vivid intellectual and political debates on the paradigm of immigrant inclusion: multiculturalism, integration, assimilation. It is easier for weak post communist states to follow EU guidelines than to invent and implement their own public policy. These states happily embraced restrictive policies and the strict control. Decades of experience as closed states under omnipresent surveillance by the communist authorities have well prepared social and political actors for accepting and implementing this approach. It is much harder to reinvent citizenship and integrate cultural diversity. Several post communist states have problems with traditional minorities and are not so keen to start considering new ones.

This book cannot cover all the deficits. It is not a handbook of integration written by the old EU members for the new. Its ambition is more modest and more concrete – to examine some good practices of integration, as well as some difficulties and continuing issues. The emphasis is on labor migrants, but refugees are not excluded.

The book is conceived as a bridge and a forum: a bridge for connecting different practices, and a forum for exchanging ideas and debating diversity management and integration practices.

GEDDES A. (2005) The politics of migration and immigration in Europe. London:

SAGE.

HOLLIFIELD J. (2000) The politics of international migration: How can we bring the

state back in.- Bretel A. and J. Hollifield (eds) Migration theory: talking across disciplines. London: Routledge.

JACOBS D. and A. REA (2007) The end of national models? Integration courses and

citizenship trajectories in Europe.- International Journal on Multicultural Societies, vol. 9, N 2, 264 – 283.

JOPKE C. (2007) Beyond national models: civic integration policies for immigrants

in Western Europe. Western European politics, vol. 30, N 1, 1 – 22.

MEYERS E. (2004) International immigration policy. A theoretical and

comparative analysis. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.


[1] the second half of 2008.

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