Chapter 6: European intercultural mindset – what can the attitudes and perceptions of Europeans on intercultural dialogue, integration and discrimination tell the local policy makers?
Migration of individuals driven by political and ethnic conflicts, by economic, lifestyle and family circumstances is a key part of our history. New and developing relationships between natives and newcomers have always been a challenge for both groups. Due to its relative political stability, its economic wealth and its developed welfare state Europe is and most likely will be an attractive destination for migrants from all over the world. Moreover the diversity among the European countries triggers mobility within the continent and between European countries resulting in similar integration challenges for EU mobile citizens. European societies will face, and have to cope with, a serious influx of legal and undocumented migrants from all over the world as well as cope with the internal mobility and related challenges. Governments at all levels (local, national and European) are confronted with a continued challenge of integration and the establishment of policies and frameworks in which all newcomers and natives can live in peace. However it is the cities’ urban spaces in particular that keep attracting immigrants, and with that they become even more diverse. This diversity provides ample opportunities for the cities and their inhabitants, for example in terms of cultural innovativeness or competiveness. On the other hand diversity requires the structures that ensure peaceful relationships at the local level. Understanding the views, attitudes towards immigrants and interculturalism is vital for policy makers at any level, but particularly for those at the local level.
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