Migration and Development

“Migration Impact Assessment for Improving Integration and Local Development in European Mountain and Rural Regions (MATILDE)”: Caritas Bulgaria participates in the three-year international initiative MATILDE, implemented in cooperation with 10 universities, 6 NGOs, 3 city councils, 3 research centers, 2 government agencies, 1 local government from 10 European countries.

What is MATILDE about?

MATILDE is a 3-year project funded by EU Horizon 2020 facility, focusing on the impact of migration on the local development of rural and mountain regions. The project develops and tests a transdisciplinary conceptual and methodological framework for a multidimensional assessment of the economic and social impacts of Third Country Nationals (TNCs).

What is the background?

Against the background of global trends such as urbanization and agglomeration, economic and forced migration flows are also moving outside urban areas. So far, this has largely been perceived as yet another burden for already marginalized territories.

The specific needs of rural and mountain regions have been scarcely considered at the time of formulating the governance of migration. If unaddressed, the sentiments of people in ‘places that don’t matter’ risk fuelling an authoritarian dynamic, rejecting diversity altogether.

Notwithstanding the prominence of urbanization as a global trend, migrations to rural and mountain areas can play an important role for European rural regions, among the other things, by contributing to revitalise social and economic local milieu, reducing territorial inequalities and reconfiguring urban-rural interconnections. Migration has a potential to trigger development in the medium and long run especially in remote areas, where it can operate as a counter-process to depopulation and economic decline. Migration can be a crucial element to attain balanced territorial development, as defined in the UN Sustainable Development Goals. To avoid the existing risk that migration flows exert a negative impact on socio-economically and geographically fragile areas, place-based policies and adequate governance measure are needed.


MATILDE aims to examine how migration impacts on local development and territorial cohesion in European rural and mountain regions, to improve integration and local development in marginalized territories.


MATILDE develops and tests concepts and methods to assess the economic and social impacts of Third Country Nationals (TNCs) in rural and mountain regions. The project moves from the hypothesis that foreign immigration can act as a driver of social and economic development in the medium and long run especially in remote areas, where immigration counterbalances processes such as depopulation and economic decline. It can trigger the revitalization of abandoned spaces and generate new demand and stimuli for services of general interest (SGI), with effect on urban-rural/mountain relationships.

What are the main objectives?
  • Develop Concepts and Methods to Assess the impact of migration in rural and mountain region
  • Assess the Social and Economic Impact of Migration
  • Local level Assessment of Migration Impact Through Action-Research in Rural and Mountain Regions
  • Improve Migration Governance and Territorial Cohesion
  • Develop New Narratives On Migration Impact

Click here to learn more about MATILDE objectives and expected results.

What is MATILDE’s methodology?

MATILDE uses a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods and adopts an action-research approach, which that emphasises the agency of migrants and the site-specific features of the regions involved.

Accordingly, MATILDE will conduct 13 case studies throughout Europe. Case studies are selected based on the presence of urban poles, differently interconnected with rural and mountain areas via flows of people, economic resources and cultural exchange.

The action-research approach is built on a multi-stakeholder perspective: the two-level consortium gathers research partners and diverse local partners working in the field of TCNs’ integration.  MATILDE partners work together with a multitude of stakeholders to co-construct the migration impact assessment in rural and mountain areas, engaging local stakeholders and beneficiaries, and elaborate and share policy recommendations and governance solutions.

MATILDE activities will contribute to improve knowledge on the social and economic development potential of TCNs in rural and mountain areas. They will help understanding the mechanisms behind the socio-economic integration of TCNs and provide policy makers, practitioners and local stakeholders with analytical tools and place-based solutions/policy recommendations to counteract misperceptions and untap the migration potential in rural and mountain regions.