ABSTRACT

In 2016 the launch of the Urban Agenda for the European Union (EU) and, in this context, of the Partnership for the Inclusion of Migrants and Refugees (PIMR), seemed to inaugurate a new multilevel governance (MLG) policy turn on migration and asylum issues. The Partnership, co-ordinated by the city of Amsterdam together with the DG Home (European Commission, EC), included representatives of EU institutions, member states, European cities and city networks and Brussels-based think tanks. Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and migrant associations were also involved through specific work conferences. This chapter reconstructs the genesis of the PIMR, as well as processes of agenda-setting and implementation of its Action Plan. The goal is to provide an assessment of whether and to what extent this complex multilevel platform actually engaged in MLG-like policy-making processes. As we shall see, whereas agenda-setting has been quite open to engaging with a multitude of policy-makers and stakeholders from non-public organisations, implementation has been marked by a more constrained EC-local authorities partnership. Furthermore, the analysis reveals the key gatekeeping role de facto played by national governments, which participated only intermittently in the PIMR's meetings, and furthermore did not subscribe to some of its policy proposals. Overall, if it is true that migration policy-making in the EU is more than just hierarchy and member states' rule, my results are nevertheless still consistent with intergovernmentalist accounts of EU (dis)integration and cast some doubt on the emergence of an effective MLG turn in asylum policy-making.