RESPOND: Multilevel Governance of Mass Migration in Europe and Beyond

December 2017 - N/A

Live project


In 2015 unprecedented numbers of refugees and migrants crossing into the European Union (EU) sparked a crisis which continues to grip the region to this day. But, what exactly caused this crisis? Can we simply blame the sheer number of people seeking refuge within the EU’s borders, or are there more fundamental factors at play, such as the control of the EU’s internal borders, political polarisation and a lack of crisis management? RESPOND is a recently granted Horizon 2020 project that will study these questions through research conducted by 14 partners in 11 countries, including in Iraq, Lebanon and Turkey. The project will investigate policies for the reception of migrants within EU-countries and coherence between these policies, the handling of borders, refugee protection, reception and integration, and debates about European identity.\nMigration governance is complex in its economic, political, social and legal aspects, meaning that it is important to approach this topic in a multi-faceted way, by studying such actors as government bodies, international organisations, NGOs and the migrants themselves and by focusing on both the origin and receiving societies.

Project Objectives

With the goal of enhancing the governance capacity and policy coherence of the EU, its member states and neighbours, RESPOND is a comprehensive study of responses to the 2015 Refugee Crisis. Representing one of the biggest challenges that the EU has faced since its establishment, this crisis foregrounded the vulnerability of European borders, the tenuous jurisdiction of the Schengen system and broad problems with the governance of migration and integration.

One of the most visible impacts of the refugee crisis is the polarization of politics in EU Member States and intra-Member State policy (in)coherence in responding to the crisis. Incoherence stems from diverse constitutional structures, legal provisions, economic conditions, public policies and cultural norms, and more research is needed to determine how to mitigate conflicting needs and goals. In this context, RESPOND brings together 14 partners in 11 different countries to:

  • provide an in-depth understanding of the governance of recent mass migration at macro, meso and micro levels through cross-country comparative research;
  • critically analyse governance practices with the aim of enhancing the migration governance capacity and policy coherence of the EU, its member states and third. 

RESPOND includes eight research packages and studies migration governance along five thematic fields:

(1)    Border management and security

(2)    Refugee protection regimes

(3)    Reception policies

(4)    Integration policies

(5)    Conflicting Europeanization

These fields literally represent refugees’ journeys across borders, from their confrontations with protection policies, to their travels through reception centres, and in some cases, ending in their integration into new homes. These fields also represent the governance context, including security and legal regimes, national and local policies and finally overarching conflictual discourses about Europeanization in the context of migration. To explore all of these dimensions, RESPOND employs a truly interdisciplinary approach, using legal and policy analysis, comparative historical analysis, political claims analysis, socio-economic and cultural analysis, longitudinal survey analysis, interview based analysis, and photovoice techniques.



In addition to academic articles, books and conferences, RESPOND will result in policy briefs, standardised datasets, country and comparative reports. With its strong focus on policy, RESPOND addresses the challenges that individuals, organisations and authorities are facing with regards to migration governance and contributes new knowledge on attitudes to migration and integration. RESPOND highlights positive experiences as well as challenges for governance and societal acceptance. Several novel sub-projects will be implemented as part of the project, including photovoice, a documentary film, art exhibitions, advice hubs and migration governance networks.


Impact Activities

Migration Governance Networks

RESPOND will engage with policy-makers, practitioners, relevant public authorities and NGOs both at national and EU levels via the establishment of “Migration Governance Networks” (MGNs) in each country covered by the project (11 in total). GCU will be responsible for the UK and Hungary MGNs.

The MGNs will host 2 roundtable discussions with the following aims: to contribute to wider public debates regarding the refugee crisis and its consequences with fact-based information; to establish communication links between different actors involved in migration governance and foster coproduction of effective policy solutions; and to involve stakeholders in the field of migration governance in project activities. After these roundtables, the main findings and discussions will be synthesized into policy briefs, which will be further disseminated at national levels to related authorities and organisations.

This report will include prescriptive findings, a comparative assessment of existing policies and practices and will highlight best practices for different fields of migration governance.

Hope: Refugee Advice Hubs

In collaboration with local NGO partners, GCU will develop Refugee Advice Hubs in two transit countries (Turkey and Iraq). The Advice Hub project aims to provide a ‘one stop shop’ advice service for refugees in facing challenging conditions in transit countries, and offer information on a range of practical and legal issues, including; legal status and asylum; social security entitlement; welfare rights; and routes into local education and employment (via skills matching).

The Advice Hubs will rely on local volunteers for everyday functioning, acting as a site of socialisation between local and refuge communities via provision of advice and support, with the aim of educating local populations in the plight of refugees, and more effectively encouraging the integration of refugees into local communities.

Staff Involved

To explore the impact of the refugee crisis on politics, we are going to see what politicians talk about in terms of European integration, how they appeal to their domestic audience and what kind of ideas they introduce to the public

Dr Umut Korkut, 

For the advice hubs, the plan is to establish legal aid, educational aid, employment aid and public health clinics, in Istanbul and Baghdad, and we will also look to host a series of lectures to dispel the false news about immigration into the European Union

Dr Umut Korkut,