Polish Cities and Their Experience in Integration Activities – The Case of Warsaw
Studia Europejskie - Studies in European Affairs Vol.26 Number 2/2022
In recent years, the issues of integration – related on the one hand to people referred to as foreigners, immigrants, newcomers, etc. – and on the other hand to host societies – have been gaining importance in the Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries, including Poland. Before the political and socio-economic transformation at the turn of the 1980s and the 1990s, it
was a country relatively closed to international migration. Only in the early 1990s did it open up to migration fl ows. That was also the time when the state’s policy in this area had been gradually emerging. The preparations for EU membership enforced the process of developing a national migration policy. Poland’s accession to the EU in 2004 and to the Schengen zone in
2007 saw its full involvement in EU migration governance in terms of internal and external policies, and thus the further Europeanisation of national law, public policy, and practices in the fi eld of migration management. Recent years have seen a change in Poland’s migration status, which has now become an emigration-immigration state, and the near future may bring
about its transition into a new immigration state, especially in connection with the infl ux of large numbers of forced migrants from Ukraine since the end of February 2022. At the time of writing, that is mid-2022, Poland does not have a formalised integration policy at the central level. National law provides integration measures only for benefi ciaries of international protection (persons with refugee status and subsidiary protection), which concerns a very small group of foreigners. However, the last two decades have seen increased involvement at the local government level (especially in cities) in integration. This is a process taking place in local communities with the support of other actors such as NGOs, informal associations, or universities. One such example is Warsaw, the capital of Poland, where the largest number of migrants, both voluntary and forced, live. This paper aims to explore the selected practices undertaken by some of Warsaw’s municipal institutions and offi ces, which can be treated as an important part of the local integration policy and which could be a role model for other cities less experienced in immigrant integration.
Migration, Integration, Mainstreaming, Migration Policy, Integration Policy, Warsaw, Poland, Ukraine, Warsaw City Hall