Dynamics of Migration and Integration Processes in Southern Europe

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2023-67-9-109-118
G. Sidorova, gal_sid@mail.ru
Institute for African Studies (IAS RAS), Russian Academy of Sciences, 30/1, Spiridonovka Str., Moscow, 123001, Russian Federation.
N. Zherlitsyna, ns_inafr@mail.ru
Institute for African Studies (IAS RAS), Russian Academy of Sciences, 30/1, Spiridonovka Str., Moscow, 123001, Russian Federation.

Received 19.04.2023. Revised 10.05.2023. Accepted 29.06.2023.

Acknowledgements. The article has been supported by a grant of the Russian Science Foundation. Project no. 22-18-00123 (https://rscf.ru/project/22-18-00123/).

Abstract. The article analyzes the latest migration trends in Southern Europe. Given the proximity to Africa and the Middle East, which are the main sources of migrant flows, the discussed topic is especially acute for the region and the countries chosen for the analysis, namely Portugal, Spain, Italy, San Marino and Malta. Using a comparative approach, the article focuses on the European general strategy for the reception of migrants versus its actual results. Despite the fact that the EU guidance and standards provide the foundation for immigrant integration policies across the region, the actual legal practice, its implementation and results in specific countries differ widely. To some extent, Portugal is ahead of other nations in the region, and its advantage is the result of a nationwide immigrant integration policy and a single state body empowered to lead its implementation. In Spain, on the other hand, the development of integration policies is performed regionally, meaning the absence of a nationwide integration program and, hence, a certain level of fragmentation and a lesser degree of policy efficiency. Italy adopted its first immigrant integration plan as recently as in 2017, and it has not brought significant results yet. Still, with the recent upscale in immigration flows, Italy’s former soft immigration policies are becoming tougher. The country remains committed to multiculturalism and the quota mechanism for receiving migrants. Although tiny in size, Malta experiences high immigrant flow pressure, and tries to tackle it by providing de facto paid citizenship and residence permits for privileged immigrant strata.

Keywords: Southern Europe, immigrants, Spain, Portugal, Italy, San Marino, Malta, integration, assimilationism, polycultural integration strategies


1. Volodin A. G. South Asian Migration to Western Europe: Origins, Trends, Perspectives. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2022, vol. 66, no. 4, pp. 101-110. (In Russ.) Available at: https://doi.org/10.20542/0131-2227-2022-66-4-101-110 

2. Arbatova N.K. Migration Threat to EU Security: Prejudices and Realities. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2022, vol. 66, no. 2, pp. 61-70. (In Russ.) Available at: https://doi.org/10.20542/0131-2227-2022-66-2-61-70 

3. Khakhalkina E.V., Pogorelskaya A.M. Development Policy or Migration Management? (The EU Approach). World Eonomy and International Relations, 2022, vol. 66, no. 2, pp. 80-89. (In Russ.) Available at: https://doi.org/10.20542/0131-2227-2022-66-2-80-89 

4. Domingo A., Pinyol-Jiménez G., Zapata-Barrero R. Spain: Multiple-Governance and Integration Policies in Diverse Socio-Demographic Contexts. Relations between Immigration and Integration Policies in Europe: Challenges, Opportunities and Perspectives in Selected EU Member States. Duszczyk M., Pachocka M., Pszczółkowska D., eds. London, Routledge, 2020, . 125-145.

5. Goldberg A. La acogida y la integración de refugiados en Portugal: recuperando las voces de los actors. Migraciones internacionales, 2021, no. 12 (1), . 1-22. DOI: 10.33679/rmi.v1i1.2220

6. Parreño-Castellano J.M., Moreno-Medina ., Domínguez-Mujica J., Santana Rivero C. Mapping Foreign Immigration in Spain. Trends and Spatial Patterns. Journal of Maps, 2021, 17 (1), . 79-84. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/17445647.2020.1866700 

7. Marano L. Sub-State Identities and Immigrant Integration Policies: The Cases of Andalusia and Catalonia. Universitat Pompeu Fabra Barcelona, GRITIM, Working Paper Series, 2020, no. 44 (Summer).

8. Domingo A. Selective Migration Policies in Spain: The Case of Latin-Americans. Similar but Different. Inclusion and Exclusion of Immigrant Communities Sharing Similar Cultural Backgrounds with Their Host Societies. Bouju A., Edel A., eds. Population Europe Discussion Paper, 2018, no. 8 (September), pp. 19-24. Available at: https://population-europe.eu/files/documents/dp8_similar_but_different_web.pdf (accessed 03.06.2023).

9. Cebolla-Boado H., Pinyol-Jiménez G. Inmigración en España (2017–18). Informe de la Democracia en España 2018. Madrid, 2019, Fundación Alternativas, . 125-146. Available at: https://fundacionalternativas.org/publicaciones/informe-sobre-la-democracia-en-espana-2018/ (accessed 09.03.2023).

10. Zapata-Barrero R. Intercultural Policy and Multi-Level Governance in Barcelona: Mainstreaming Comprehensive Approach. International Review of Administrative Sciences, 2015, no. 83 (2), . 247-264. DOI: 10.1177/0020852315592962

11. Pascale F. La relocalisation des migrants “ne fonctionne pas”, selon un haut fonctionnaire du ministère italien de l’Intérieur. Euractiv, 29.11.2022. Available at: https://www.euractiv.fr/section/migrations/news/la-relocalisation-des-migrants-ne-fonctionne-pas-selon-un-haut-fonctionnaire-du-ministere-italien-de-linterieur/ (accessed 02.04.2023).

12. Tosseri O. Migrants: l’Italie veut imposer un “code de bonne conduit” aux navires des ONG. Les Echos, 27.12.2022. Available at: https://www.lesechos.fr/monde/europe/migrants-litalie-veut-imposer-un-code-de-bonne-conduite-aux-navires-des-ong-1892197 (accessed 09.03.2023).

13. Logunov A. Italian Interior Minister: Muslim Communities Must Accept Our Values. RIA Novosti, 22.09.2017. (In Russ.) Available at: https://ria.ru/20170922/1505357890.html (accessed 10.03.2023).

14. Bastien D. Immigration: les “prisonniers” de l’île de Malte. Les Echos, 05.01.2010. Available at: https://www.france-terre-asile.org/articles-ftda/leurope-de-lasile/immigration-les-l-prisonniers-r-de-lile-de-malte (accessed 12.03.2023).

15. Puygrenier L. Du “fardeau migratoire” au fardeau des migrants. L’exil à Malte ou la condition d’entre-emplois. Travail et migrations, 2021, vol. 37, no. 1 et 2, . 43-66. Available at: https://journals.openedition.org/remi/18055 (accessed 26.03.2023).

16. Marques J.C., Vieira ., Vieira R. Migration and Integration Processes in Portugal: The Role of Intercultural Mediation. Journal of Siberian Federal University. Humanities & Social Sciences, 2019, no. 2, . 187-205. DOI: 10.17516/1997-1370-0388

17. Sacramento O., Silva P.G. Entre direitos consagrados e constrangimentos operacionais: dissonâncias estruturais no sistema português de acolhimento de refugiados. Desenvolvimento e Sociedade. Revista Interdisciplinar em Ciências Sociais, 2018, no. 4, . 7-20. Available at: http://www.revistas.uevora.pt/index.php/desenvolvimento_sociedade/article/view/288 (accessed 03.06.2023).

18. Grillo R. Interculturalism and the Politics of Dialogue. University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton, 2017. 277 .


1. A Common Agenda for Integration – Framework for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals in the European Union. COM (2005), 389 Final. Brussels, 01.09.2005. Available at: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/en/TXT/?uri=CELEX:52005DC0389 (accessed 03.06.2023).

2. Treaty of Lisbon Amending the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty Establishing the European Community, Signed at Lisbon, 13.12.2007. Official Journal of the European Union, C306, vol. 50, 17.12.2007. Available at: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=OJ:C:2007:306:TOC (accessed 11.03.2023).

3. The Stockholm Program – an Open and Secure Europe Serving and Protecting Citizens. Official Journal of the European Union, C115/1, 04.05.2010. Available at: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:C:2010:115:0001:0038:en:PDF (accessed 03.06.2023).

4. Europe 2020. A European Strategy for Smart, Sustainable and Inclusive Growth. European Commission. Available at: https://faolex.fao.org/docs/pdf/eur202078.pdf (accessed 03.06.2023).

5. Declaration of the European Ministerial Conference on Integration (Zaragoza, 15 & 16 April 2010). European Website on Integration. European Commission. Available at: https://ec.europa.eu/migrant-integration/library-document/declaration-european-ministerial-conference-integration-zaragoza-15-16-april-2010_en (accessed 03.06.2023).

6. Strategic Plan on Citizenship and Integration (PECI) 2011–2014. European Website on Integration. European Commission. Available at: https://ec.europa.eu/migrant-integration/library-document/strategic-plan-citizenship-and-integration-2011-2014_en (accessed 05.03.2023).

7. Migrazioni, i nuovi italiani sono aumentati di 5 volte in 10 anni: siamo i primi in Europa. La Repubblica, 23.11.2017. Available at: https://archive.wikiwix.com/cache/index2.php?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.repubblica.it%2Fsolidarieta%2Fimmigrazione%2F2017%2F10%2F23%2Fnews%2Fmigrazioni-179131918%2F#federation=archive.wikiwix.com&tab=url (accessed 07.03.2023).

8. Loi no. 40 du 6 mars 1998 portant Règlement sur l’immigration et le statut des étrangers. Supplemento Ordinario alla Gazette Ufficiale della Republica italiana, 05.08.1998. Available at: https://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/natlex4.detail?p_lang=fr&p_isn=53848 (accessed 04.03.2023).

9. LEGGE30 luglio 2002, n. 189. Modifica alla normativa in materia di immigrazione e di asilo. Normattiva. Available at: http://www.normattiva.it/uri-res/N2Ls?urn:nir:stato:legge:2002-07-30;189!vig (accessed 07.03.2023).

10. LEGGE15 luglio 2009, n. 94. Disposizioni in materia di sicurezza pubblica. Gazzetta Ufficiale, no. 170, 24.07.2009. Available at: https://www.gazzettaufficiale.it/gunewsletter/dettaglio.jsp?service=1&datagu=2009-07-24&task=dettaglio&numgu=170&redaz=009G0096&tmstp=1248853260030 (accessed 04.03.2023).

11. Migrantes et réfugiées en Italie. Euromed Rights. Available at: https://euromedrights.org/fr/migrant-e-s-et-refugie-e-s-en-italie/ (accessed 08.03.2023).

12. Italy: Quotas for 2023 Announced. Newland Chase. 03.02.2023. Available at: https://newlandchase.com/italy-quotas-for-2023-announced/ (accessed 13.03.2023).

13. Il Piano nazionale di integrazione. Parlamento italiano. Available at: https://temi.camera.it/leg19DIL/post/19_il-piano-nazionale-di-integrazione.html (accessed 19.03.2023).

14. San Marino – International Immigration. 2020. Available at: https://countryeconomy.com/demography/migration/immigration/san-marino (accessed 23.06.2023).

15. Malta Immigration 2023. Available at: https://www.globalcitizensolutions.com/malta-immigration/ (accessed 09.03.2023).

16. Malte, un eldorado pour les migrants africains? France 24, 21.07.2019. Available at: https://www.france24.com/fr/20190721-malte-eldorado-migrants-africains-italie-union-europenne (accessed 26.03.2023).

17. Estatísticas Demográficas – 2020. Instituto Nacional de Estatistica. Statistics Portugal. Available at: https://www.ine.pt/xportal/xmain?xpid=INE&xpgid=ine_publicacoes&PUBLICACOESpub_boui=530368248&PUBLICACOESmodo=2&xlang=pt (accessed 06.03.2023).

18. Relatório de avaliação da política portuguesa de acolhimento de pessoas refugiadas, Programa de recolocação. Alto Comissariado para as Migrações. Lisbon, ACM, 2018. 46 .

19. Measuring Policies to Integrate Migrants across Six Continents. Migrant Integration Policy Index 2020. Available at: https://www.mipex.eu/ (accessed 02.03.2023).

For citation:
Sidorova G., Zherlitsina N. Dynamics of Migration and Integration Processes in Southern Europe. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2023, vol. 67, no. 9, pp. 109-118. https://doi.org/10.20542/0131-2227-2023-67-9-109-118 EDN: VSMCCD

Comments (0)

No comments

Add comment






Dear authors! Please note that in the VAK List of peer-reviewed scientific journals, in which the main scientific results of dissertations for the degree of candidate and doctor of sciences should be published for the “MEMO Journal” the following specialties are recorded:
economic sciences:
5.2.5. World Economy.
5.2.1. Economic Theory
5.2.3. Regional and Branch Economics
political sciences:
5.5.4. International Relations
5.5.1. History and Theory of Politics
5.5.2. Political Institutions, Processes, Technologies


Current Issue
2024, vol. 68, No. 4
Topical Themes of the Issue:
  • Financial Contagion Propagation in Europe under the Impact of Global Shocks
  • Regional Powers on the African Continent: Trends and Prospects
  • Investment Activity of the PRC in the Kyrgyz Republic
  • “Land Grabbing” Concept: Global and National Aspects
Submit an Article
The Editorial Board invites authors to write analytical articles on the following topics:
  • changes in the processes of globalization in modern conditions
  • formation of the new world order
  • shifts in civilization at the stage of transition to a digital society

The editors are also interested in publishing synthesis articles / scientific reviews revealing the main trends in the development of certain regions of the world - Latin America, Africa, South Asia, etc.