Concept: Integration of Refugees in Europe as a joint municipal development

We propose a new EU refugee policy that offers the municipalities, who already take on the main task of integration, new room for play through additional funding. Municipalities that voluntarily take in and integrate refugees should not just be refunded the costs of receiving the refugees but also be given resources that they can use to improve the municipal infrastructure (schools, administration, promotion of trades and crafts). That kind of asylum and refugee policy could also inject greater human and economic vitality into the EU, which is in its interest:

  1. Municipalities whose inhabitants are moving away could acquire new citizens who give them new life, work there and boost tax revenue;
  2. Existing infrastructure at risk of closure (nurseries, schools, medical care, housing supply, mobility, trade) can be used again and where appropriate developed;
  3. New cultural, sports and other projects in which the (new) citizens cooperate with one another could bring closer social cohesion and inject new (meaningful) life into the municipalities again, improve the atmosphere and counter the widespread, diffuse fear of the future;
  4. This could create a new coherence between proclaimed European values and individual action, which would boost the self-esteem, reputation and authority of EU citizens.

The one-day conference “Relaunching Europe Bottom-Up” (June 7, 2017) aimed at introducing this innovative approach to the European public. In addition, the conference offered the opportunity for exchange and network opportunities between European actors from politics and public administration, business and civil society.

Read the conference report here.

Based on the conference, a manifesto was defined with the participants. It calls for the European Union to create a publicly financed fund starting with the next European Union Financial Framework in 2021. Municipalities should be able to apply to this fund and receive direct and holistic financing for the refugee integration and – additionally to be more inclusive – funds for the communities’ general social integration and economic development. To generate as much support as possible from the broad community, the application should be prepared by a multi-stakeholder-group of representatives of the community, organized civil society (including refugee representatives, social partners and religious groups), and business.

The manifesto is already supported by a large number of persons and institutions from politics, business and organised civil society dedicated to European affairs.  We look forward to more supporters – get in touch with us (

Read the entire Manifesto here.

First signatories of the manifesto

Steffen Angenendt, Research Division Global Issues Head of Research Division at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs

Henryka Bochniarz, President of the Polish Confederation Lewiatan

Andreas Botsch, Head of the department Europe and International and German Trade Union Confederation (DGB )Federal Board

Franziska Brantner, Member of the German Bundestag Group Alliance 90 / The Greens

Daphne Büllesbach, Executive Director at European Alternatives and a member of the Transnational Board

Klaus Busch, Retired professor for European Studies at the University of Osnabrück

Georges Dassis, acting as a private individual

Inga Dohmes, Volunteer with the Municipality of Merzenich

Sebastian Dullien, Professor at HTW – University of Applied Sciences and Senior Policy Fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations

Peter Eigen, Founder and Chair of the Advisory Council at Transparency International

Detlev Ganten, President of the World Health Summit

Sven Giegold, Member of the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance in European Parliament

Yannick Haan, Speaker of the Forum Network Policy of the SPD in Berlin and Member of the Commission on Net and media politics in the SPD party board

Jörg Hafkemeyer, Professor at the Berlin University of Arts and publicist

Dierk Hirschel, ver.di National Administration

Johannes Hiry, Young Social Democrats Saar

Reiner Hoffmann, Federal Chairman of the German Trade Union and Federation (DGB)

Gustav Horn, Professor of Economics at the University Duisburg-Essen

Horstpeter Kreppel, Former Judge and President of chamber of the Civil Service Tribunal of the European Union

Inge Kaul, Professor at the Hertie School of Governance

Katja Kipping, Member of the German Bundestag DIE LINKE

Cansel Kiziltepe, Member of the German Bundestag SPD

Matthias Kollatz-Ahnen, Financial Affairs Senator Berlin

Lukas Krüdener, Young Social Democrats Berlin

Christophe Leclercq, EURACTIV founder and publisher

Klaus Lederer, Berlin mayor and Senator for Culture and Europe

Jo Leinen, Member of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in European Parliament

Irena Lipowicz, Member of the Foundation Council of the European University Viadrina

Andreas Listing, acting as a private individual

Anja Mihr, Program Director of the Center on Governance through Human Rights at the HUMBOLDT-VIADRINA Governance Platform

Hans Misselwitz, Member of the SPD-Grundwertekommission

Patricia Okello, Manager, co-founder and chief executive of the  Der Zeitgeist ShareITY e.V.

Lazaros Panagiotidis, City of Thessaloniki

Maria João Rodrigues, Member of European Parliament  and Vice-Chair of Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament

Wolfgang Roth, acting as a private individual

Peter Ruhenstroth-Bauer, Attorney-at-law and former state secretary

Gerhard Schick, Member of the German Bundestag Group Alliance 90 / The Greens

Günther Schmid,Director emeritus “Labour market policies and Employment” at the WZB Berlin Social Science Center

Nicolas Schmit, Minister for Labor, Employment and Social and Solidarity Economy with the Government Of The Grand Duchy Of Luxembourg

Harald Schumann, Journalist and Film maker

Angelica Schwall-Düren, Former state secretary.

Gesine Schwan, President of the HUMBOLDT-VIADRINA Governance Platform

Norbert Spinrath, Member of the German Bundestag SPD

Dieter Spöri, Former Minister and Honorary president of the European Movement Germany

Jutta Steinruck, Member of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in European Parliament

Johano Strasser, Member of the SPD-Grundwertekommission

Rita Süssmuth, Former German president

Holger Thiel, acting as a private individual

Franz Thun, Warsaw, acting as a private individual

Carolina Tobo

Axel Troost, Deputy Party Chairman DIE LINKE

Johanna Uekermann, Chairman of the Jusos in the SPD

Mauricio Valiente, Deputy Mayor of Madrid

Florian von Brunn, Chairman of the working group environment and consumer protection of the BayernSPD parliamentary group

Heidemarie Wieczorek Zeul, former Federal minister

Magda Wiśniewska, acting as a private individual

Harald Wolf,Member of the Berlin House of Representatives and former Senator and member of the party board DIE LINKE

Catherine Woollard, Secretary General European Council on Refugees and Exiles

Agata Wróblewska, acting as a private individual

Gabriele Zimmer, Member of the Group of the Confederal Group of the European United Left – Nordic Green Left  in European Parliament