Another Story from the “Refugee Crisis”. Resettlement in Small Towns and Rural Areas in France

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Publication Date July 2019
ISBN 979-10-373-0038-6
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Since 2015, refugee resettlement programmes have grown significantly in Europe becoming a key component of European asylum strategy. In 2017, Emmanuel Macron committed to resettle in France 10,000 refugees until the end of 2019. Refugees from Syria and Africa are increasingly welcome in small towns and rural areas.

Following interviews and field visits with some 40 practitioners, the study offers an alternative picture to the stereotypes usually associated with areas. Indeed, small towns and rural areas prove to be places of hospitality. Refugees in small towns are not perceived as anonymous newcomers. Instead, they quickly become new members of the local community and receive strong support from many local residents. Likewise, in order to address specific needs of the refugees, local actors are drivers of innovation who often manage to design new solutions in an informal fashion. This study highlights that many obstacles to refugee integration are not specific to refugees. Lack of transportation, of doctors and of public services affect local populations all the same. But local actors proved to be innovative to address these issues for refugees and provide lessons to learn for big cities and for the future of migration policies in France.

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