Léa Lemaire, Lucas Oesch, Lorenzo Vianelli and Birte Nienaber organised a panel on “The multiple levels of refugee reception” at the Imiscoe conference, which was held at the University of Malmö in Sweden, on 26-28 June 2019. The panel was a joint venture between the REFUGOV project, and research conducted within the framework of the CEASEVAL project, and more specifically research on Multilevel governance of reception coordinated by FIERI. The panel was divided into 2 sessions. The first one focused on contested dynamics between the local and the national. The second one dealt with diverging implementation practices at the sub-national level. Overall, the panel investigated the crucial role of local contexts, actors and authorities in the everyday reception of forced migrants and covered various case studies in Europe (Bulgaria, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Spain and Sweden). Through such an emphasis on the local dimension of reception, the different contributions provided a critical vantage point from which to reflect more generally on the idea and understanding of the ‘state’, as its supposed unity is called into question by the heterogeneity of local contexts of reception.
In the first panel session, Léa Lemaire and Lucas Oesch presented a paper on the role of local actors in the reception of refugees in Luxembourg, based on fieldwork they are currently conducting in the framework of REFUGOV. Luxembourg being a small, non-federal state and highly centralised, the official role of local and municipal actors is limited. Indeed, their presentation showed that local and municipal actors are not involved in the design of the policy. However, their paper also showed that local actors are gaining importance in the implementation of the policy. One of their main findings was that local actors are increasingly involved on the ground in the management of reception facilities. Other findings were presented which included the heterogeneity of reception facilities (type, size, location and management of facilities) and the blurring borders between reception and integration, which impact on the role of local actors.