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Despite of some progress made in defining a common European framework on integration, as formulated in the common basic principles for immigrant integration, integration policies are still a nation-state matter related to sovereignty and collective identity. This makes it difficult to constitute a European sphere both politically and socially. The NGOs working with immigration and integration tend to take a stance on national policies. This paper focuses on Spain and Denmark and the way integration is conceived in these two countries since they represent different models. In Spain, the intercultural model is based on an inclusive notion of citizenship aimed to foster coexistence, tolerance and mutual understanding. The integration model in Denmark develops the idea of a ‘strict and fair’ approach in order to activate immigrants. The claims of the social organizations are contextualized according to the national frames. Thus, the Spanish NGOs criticise the social exclusion of irregular immigrants, while most of the Danish ones combat the restrictions on the asylum seeker and refugee status. In both cases the national policies are challenged by appealing to the European context and universal rights.