EPIC-UP paves the way for local integration of migrants

EPIC-UP paves the way for local integration of migrants

May 23, 2024

Migration Linked project:
EPIC-UP – the European Platform of Integrating Communities

Barcelona, 15 May 2024, the EU-funded EPIC-UP project kicked off with the aim of developing and testing integration strategies for the inclusion of migrants at local level. From the 13th to the 15th of May 2024, the partner organisations gathered in Barcelona, Spain, for the launch meeting, hosted by the European Association for Local Democracy (ALDA), in the framework of The ALDA Festival and General Assembly 2024 – “Local Democracy for Global Impact”. The EPIC-UP partners participated at this event to explore synergies with other migration initiatives.

The general objective of EPIC-UP is to validate a multi-stakeholder methodology for local integration of migrants and refugees, capable of improving collaboration between stakeholders, such as migrants and migrants-led organizations, public authorities, and civil society organisations so that the integration strategies are user-centred, and thus more effective.  

The project’s approach includes involving stakeholders throughout the design and implementation cycle, tapping into the potential of existing best practices that other peers can share and test it in small-scale environments. The integration strategies will be socially innovative in their ends, because they track an unmet societal challenge, but also in their means, as the migrants and refugees will be put at the centre of the design. 

EPIC-UP will establish Community of Practices (CoPs) in six EU countries (Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland and Spain) where good practices and strategies will be leveraged. The CoPs will test and consolidate six new integration services through a social experimentation process that involves co-creation steps carried out jointly by the diverse stakeholders engaged.

The 12 partner organizations gathered in Barcelona for the project’s kick-off meeting, hosted by ALDA in the framework of Local Democracy for Global Impact festival

Benefits for both urban and rural areas

The integration of migrants benefits both urban and rural areas in the EU in various ways. Urban areas, where most migrants reside, stand to gain from the diverse cultural perspectives and economic contributions migrants bring. While many national strategies still are designed without proper consultation of the local level stakeholders, cities have a wealth of experience in implementing evidence-based integration policies. By tapping into this experience through peer learning and better coordination among stakeholders, urban centres can enhance their integration efforts and promote social cohesion. Moreover, involving migrants directly in the democratic process and public life can strengthen political participation, addressing one of the weakest areas of integration policy and fostering a more inclusive society.

Meanwhile, in rural areas, the integration of migrants offers opportunities for economic revitalization and demographic rejuvenation. Their settlement can counteract population decline and aging demographics, providing a workforce and injecting energy into local industries. Additionally, by dispersing the population, the integration of migrants helps alleviate the strain on urban areas facing issues of overpopulation, resource depletion, and social exclusion.

Thus, fostering integration initiatives in both urban and rural settings not only enriches communities culturally but also promotes economic sustainability and social cohesion across the EU.

Project’s expected impact

The EPIC-UP project aims to enhance the social inclusion of migrants across six EU countries by developing and testing an inclusive participatory methodology. It will disseminate best practices in local migrant integration strategies and empower migrants and refugees to engage more actively in public spheres, ensuring their voices are better heard. The project will also implement a capacity-building programme to promote migrant participation in integration policy design and execution, produce policy recommendations for more resilient migration policies, and test six new local integration services.


EPIC-UP is an initiative funded by the AMIF programme of the European Union (EU) and coordinated by ALDA. It brings together 12 partner organizations and 13 associated partners from 8 different EU countries. The project will capitalise on the existing knowledge and know-how of the consortium working on migrant integration and inclusion to design an enhanced model of multi-actor collaboration to develop, test and implement local integration strategies.