Multi-Level Governance from Below: How Dutch cities respond to intra-EU mobility

Scholten, P., Van Ostaijen, M., Engbersen, G. and E. Snel (2018)

In: Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. 


‘Intra-EU mobility’ from new member states provides a governance challenge to European countries like the Netherlands. Freedom of movement within the EU enables mobility but also has important social consequences at the urban level in particular. This article discusses to what extent local, national and European governments have interacted in the governance of ‘intra-EU movement’ and how this has affected their policies regarding migrants from Central and Eastern Europe in particular. Focusing on the Dutch case, including the cities of The Hague and Rotterdam, the article shows a development from a decoupled relationship, to localist governance and only recently evidence of emerging ‘multi-level governance.’ Speaking to the broader literature on multi-level governance, this article firstly shows that in spite of its broad theoretical application, multi-level governance should be seen as one of the varied types of governance in a multi-level setting. And secondly, it shows how and why local governments can play a key role in the bottom-up development of governance in a multi-level setting. 

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