What role for cities in terms of reception and integration of asylum seekers and refugees?
At a time when European solidarity is lacking and public policies on asylum and immigration are becoming more restrictive in some EU Member States, many cities come forward as support forces, demonstrating the importance of the local level. Alone or in networks, how much room to maneuver do municipalities have to act alongside migrant and refugee population? To what extent can they oppose, or attempt to influence, national governments to welcome and integrate newcomers with dignity?
What skills and responsibilities should cities have to welcome and integrate migrant and refugee populations?
Although migration policy is predominantly a state competence in the EU, European cities are emerging as key players in the reception and integration of migrants, particularly since 2015. Restrictive national measures, unclear distribution of competences, difficult access to funding ... they nevertheless face a number of obstacles.Read more
Networks of solidarity cities in order to foster a better reception for refugees in Europe
Faced directly with migration issues and with the need to find immediate and effective solutions, European cities have gradually chosen to join national and European solidarity networks. Those networks help them design local public policies as well as influence national and European political agendas.
« Mayors have become 'models of resistance' because we had to, and we are actually proud of it »
Magid Magid was elected Lord Mayor of Sheffield in 2018 and has been Green MEP since last European elections in May 2019. He regularly voices his support for the welcoming of refugees and migrants in Europe and is now member of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs in the European Parliament, which is leading the debate on migration issues.
“Integration takes place in the concrete, not in the abstract of national political discussions”By Jeroen Doomernik, Professor at the University of Amsterdam and Researcher in the European IMISCOE network
For twenty years, and even more since 2015, EU Member States have struggled to reach a real agreement on a Common European Asylum System, with the lack of solidarity between national governments mainly hindering the revision of the Dublin Regulation. Looking at this challenge, cities are taking on an increasingly important role, particularly for the integration of refugees, in cooperation with civil society and private actors.
"Border towns": the challenge of reception at Europe's internal and external borders
Lesvos, Calais, Melilla and Lampedusa are all municipalities which, as the European Union is being built and its asylum and immigration policy is being transformed, have become symbols of the Union's borders. Vues d'Europe looks back at the role that these "border cities" have played and the challenges they face with the increase in arrivals of migrant population, and with the organization of their reception and integration.
What has a decade of migration projects taught us about integration in cities?Anthony Colclough, Copywriter and editor, EUROCITIES
With rising challenges in terms of reception and integration at the local level, an increasing number of city networks are developing dedicated projects and new ones are being created to show solidarity towards migrants and refugees. EUROCITIES, a network of over 140 European major cities created in 1986, has made migration one of its main areas of work.
What role can cities be recognised as having?Here is a welcome bumper crop of articles and information about the part that cities, in both France and the rest of Europe, are playing in receiving and integrating refugees. By obligation, sometimes, for those cities at the external or internal borders of the Schengen area, but often by choice, now by cities who organise themselves into networks in order to do so.
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Bosnia: concerns about the plight of migrants and asylum seekers
With more than 7,300 people currently living in the canton of Una-Sana, in north-western Bosnia and Herzegovina, the authorities are under pressure to find a lasting solution as winter approaches.
Greece: a new asylum policy to deal with arrivals by sea
The high number of migrants (67,240) who arrived in Greece via the Mediterranean between 1 January and 6 December 2019 made it extremely difficult to manage and ensure the safety of asylum seekers in the country, particularly in the “hotspots” of the Aegean islands.
Libya: rise in interceptions and deterioration of migrants’ living conditions
In response to the escalation of the Libyan conflict in April 2019, NGOs and international organisations voiced concern over the increase in the number of people attempting to cross the Mediterranean being intercepted by the Libyan coast guards and the deterioration of living conditions in detention centres.
Negotiations stall on a systematic mechanism to redistribute migrants rescued from the Mediterranean
Despite the departure of the former Italian Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini, and the resumption of discussions between European governments, a systematic and sustainable solution has yet to be found for migrants rescued from the Mediterranean.
The discovery of hundreds of people hiding in lorries has re-ignited the debate on legal pathways to Europe
Since the discovery of 39 bodies in a lorry near London on 23 October, similar events have followed, revealing new routes through Europe and the increasingly risky practices of some human smugglers and traffickers.