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Survey 9 - Cities as service providers

Cities are where integration measures and public services are provided to a vast majority of migrants and refugees in the EU. Whether services are adequate, respond to needs and are available across all relevant issue areas (like housing, social services, education,…), is a key determinant for long-term integration. However, the ability of local authorities to deliver services depends on their national contexts, such as cities’ legal competencies in different policy fields, the strength of the welfare state, the efficiency of coordination with the national or regional levels of government, and cities’ financial capacities. In this context, EU policies and programmes offer multiple opportunities to improve, or widen the scope, of services provided by cities. Next to targeted means (e.g. under the EU migration and integration policy), migrants may gain from programmes linked to EU cohesion, social inclusion and other policies, as they are implemented in Member States. The 2015/16 arrivals brought to the fore issues like direct access to funds for cities receiving high number of migrants and refugees, priorities for integration, eligibility criteria and timely reaction to newly arising needs. Moreover, EU law directly impacts on the de-facto access immigrants have to key services, such as EU directives on the reception and status of beneficiaries of international protection, or the anti-discrimination framework. Currently, the Urban Agenda for the EU is a major joint initiative of the Commission, Member States and cities to render EU policies responsive to the needs of the local level, and for strengthened participation of cities in EU policy-making. In addition, decisions on the 2021 to 2027 financial and programme framework will determine the availability of EU means to support the provision of services and integration measures on city level.