In our last newsletter we wrote about the dire situation faced by Afghans trying to escape Taliban rule. Many are still trapped inside the country unable to leave, while European cities are still offering to welcome them. How broad the landscape of welcoming and inclusive cities around Europe has already grown is shown by three new mappings and visualizations: Europe Welcomes, our own visualisation of welcoming cities networks and the Moving Cities map.
The outcome of the German elections gives hope for a different approach to migration and refugee issues not only at the national but also at the European level, as our colleagues argue in a piece for German online magazine MIGazin.
Like many of you, we are deeply shocked by the horrific developments in Afghanistan and the many people trying to flee and save their lives. Last Tuesday the EU home affairs ministers met for an extraordinary Council meeting to discuss what the recent developments mean for migration to the EU. Their joint declaration did not make any concrete reception offers, instead it emphasized the long-held mantra to prevent people from migrating and providing financial assistance to neighboring host countries. The failing commitment to increasing resettlement numbers was particularly criticized by Luxembourg’s foreign affairs minister Jean Asselborn, who said the EU should offer up to 50 000 additional resettlement places to Afghan refugees (he will join us for a public event soon, read more below). The European Council for Refugees and Exiles also demanded higher resettlement numbers and published further recommendations what the EU could do to alleviate the dire situation faced by Afghans.
Welcoming municipalities are growing in numbers and represent, together with the many civil society groups, a Europe that stands for solidarity and takes responsibility for protecting human lives. We are convinced that it is important to connect these actors transnationally, strengthen strategic partnerships and build a coherent European strategy that overcomes the deadlock that currently characterizes European migration policy. To identify and to visualise the many already existing networks of welcoming cities, municipalities, and civil society we are proud to present our freshly published digital interactive mapping tool.
The digital network map visualizes relevant networks of municipalities and civil society actors engaged in the effort of welcoming people seeking sanctuary in Europe. The networks were selected according to their thematic focus: welcoming municipalities, alternative local-transnational relocation mechanisms and related topics of migration, integration, and asylum. We mapped over 1.000 actors and over 25 networks.
On June 25 and 26, mayors and civil society actors from all over Europe will gather together in Palermo for a Conference of Cities for a Welcoming Europe to propose solutions on how to welcome refugees.
The goal of the conference is to find concrete answers and establish a European alliance of welcoming municipalities. After the conference, the cities will continue to work closely together and are already planning to meet again in 2022. In addition to the mayors, other prominent guests are expected, including Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, Gesine Schwan and MEP Erik Marquardt.
A Conference of Cities for a Welcoming Europe
25-26 June 2021
We are delighted to finally announce the dates of this upcoming conference that will take place in Palermo and online!
The conference ‘From the Sea to the City’ will bring together mayors, city representatives and civil society from all over Europe that advocate for safe passage in order to open up opportunities for practical, open-minded solutions which place human rights at the center of the future migration politics.
As part of the From the See to the City Consortium, we are happy to launch our first common publication with key recommendations and best practices in the field of European migration addressing EU representatives, civil society, mayors and city representatives.
On World Refugee Day, June 20, 2020, the initiative From the Sea to the City launched a campaign for a human rights-based EU refugee policy. Due to the ongoing corona pandemic, the conference of European cities and civil society planned for this summer in Palermo had to be postponed to April 16 & 17, 2021. To ensure that the time until then can still be used efficiently, the initiative is organizing several online panels around the five demands of the consortium for a new approach to EU refugee policy.
On International Refugee Day we launched the initiative From the Sea to the City together with other civil society organizations and cities. The initiative aiming to reshape European Migration Policy starting from the cities and municipalities and based on human rights and solidarity.