Cities strengthen their response to the refugee situation with the launch of Solidarity Cities in Athens.
An initiative of Georgios Kaminis, mayor of Athens, Solidarity Cities will consolidate ongoing efforts at local level to receive and integrate refugees and will reinforce these by providing a platform for cities to exchange knowledge and expertise on this highly topical issue.
The initiative was launched today in Athens during the EUROCITIES Social Affairs Forum, following a political discussion between city leaders on how cities can better work together on refugee integration and reception.
Solidarity Cities embodies a humanitarian response to the refugee situation, advocating a fair sharing of responsibilities among EU member states. EUROCITIES published an open letter on World Refugee Day on 20 June this year calling to refocus the debate on the refugee situation in Europe to reflect common European values of solidarity, humanity and dignity. Already, many cities are taking steps to ensure the safe reception and passage of refugees through their territories, as described in our April 2016 report, ‘Refugee reception and integration in cities’.
Solidarity Cities is open to all European cities wishing to work with others around Europe and who are committed to solidarity in the field of refugee reception and integration.
Some of the participating politicians reflect on why they are supporting this initiative:
Georgios Kaminis, mayor of Athens:
“In the aftermath of a crisis which has created tension and undermined Europe's fundamental values, our cities have proven that they can offer solutions to the multiple implications of the refugee challenge and be the frontrunners in promoting coexistence and mutual respect. Solidarity cities, initiated by the city of Athens, is our response to this crisis and our joint call for the need to have a recognised, stronger role in migration and refugee issues.”
Ada Colau, mayor of Barcelona:
“Where are our European values of solidarity, humanity and dignity when it comes to the refugee crisis? The response at national and EU level is clearly not enough, but cities have stepped up. We, the cities, are acting and we’re joining Solidarity Cities to work for an urgent and humane response to the situation.”
Thomas Fabian, deputy mayor of Leipzig, chair of EUROCITIES Social Affairs Forum:
"Many European cities are taking responsibility for the reception and integration of refugees. This initiative shows ways of working together across borders in the spirit of European unity."
Discover more on the brand new Solidarity Cities website: http://solidaritycities.eu/