Developing Effective Strategies for the Mainstreaming of Integration Governance (UPSTREAM)

Project objectives

This project analyses how, why and to what effect governments at the EU, national and local level mainstream their migrant integration policies. It aims to promote a learning process in terms of policy coordination, practices and outcomes in the governance of migrant integration. It asks the central question ‘What are the obstacles and opportunities that mainstreaming generates in terms of migrant integration policies and outcomes?’. It aims to:

  • UNDERSTAND WHY AND WHEN POLICIES ARE MAINSTREAMED: What is the policy rationale behind mainstreaming, and under what conditions does mainstreaming occur?
  • ENHANCE UNDERSTANDING OF AND EXCHANGE LESSONS ON HOW TO MAINSTREAM POLICIES: What does it mean in terms of policy coordination? What does it mean in terms of policy practices?
  • UNDERSTAND AND IMPROVE THE CONSEQUENCES OF MAINSTREAMING:  What integration outcomes can be associated with mainstreaming? What are the consequences for specific (vulnerable) groups and for policy coordination?

Mainstreaming is one of the key trends in the governance of integration that is taking place throughout Europe. The rationale is that adapting mainstream services to address the needs of the entire diverse population — including, but not limited to, immigrants – has the potential to build a more inclusive society and improve integration outcomes. Mainstream programmes may also garner more political and public support than programs targeted at specific groups, and respond to the challenges faced by government agencies with constrained financial resources. In this study we will look at various sorts of obstacles and opportunities that may occur in mainstreaming, in terms of the rationale of mainstreaming, how it is put into practice as well as its consequences in terms of integration outcomes. As migrant integration is a strongly multi-dimensional issue, we will focus on two specific areas of migrant integration policies: education and social cohesion The focus on these two areas enables an an in-depth analysis of how mainstreaming efforts have resorted to specific effects in terms of policy coordination, practices and outcomes.

Furthermore, the project promotes the exchange of knowledge and experiences by bringing together policymakers from different countries and government levels. We conceive of exchange of knowledge and experiences as a continuous process throughout the project. This on-going exchange will promote mutual learning between stakeholders as well as mutual learning between the researchers and the stakeholders.


This project explores how the governance and effectiveness of integration measures is affected by mainstreaming at the EU, national and local level. Mainstreaming means embedding integration into generic policies for the entire population. Besides an EU case, five country cases are selected: the UK, Spain, the Netherlands, France and Poland. These are countries with different governance structures in the domain of integration, ranging from the highly centralized in France, to moderately decentralized in the Netherlands and strongly devolved in the UK. In addition, Spain and Poland as new immigration countries are developing migrant integration policies against a very different background, with many local (and regional) initiatives. The country cases involve an analysis of national policies and policies in two cities (one major and one medium-sized city).

– EU level

– The Netherlands (Rotterdam and Amsterdam)

– The UK (London-Southwark and Bristol)

– France (Lyon and Saint Denis)

– Spain (Madrid and Barcelona)

– Poland (Warsaw and Poznan)


PO Box 1738, NL-3000 DR 
Rotterdam, The Netherlands


Co-funded by the European Union European Integration Fund