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    Solidarity Cities
    an initiative on the management of the refugee crisis

    launched by the city of Athens under the framework of the EUROCITIES network

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    EU Urban Agenda

    The building blocks of an EUurban agenda - infographic

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    Solidarity Cities: cities acting for refugee integration

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    Cities are ready to take in refugee children

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    Cities need more support for Ukrainian refugees

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Vice-President of Lyon Metropole Renaud Payre on Solidarity Cities

The Metropolis of Lyon works to welcome with dignity the refugees. It ensures their access to their rights, alongside local stakeholders, to support them in all aspects of life (housing, employment, health, etc.). It contributes to the link between locals and newcomers. Finally, our territory is committed to changing the law and ensuring to these men and women a place where they are welcome, not when they obtain protection, but as soon as they arrive here to request asylum.

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Elke Voitl, Frankfurt's City Council - Head of Departments of Health and Social Affairs, on Solidarity Cities

It is time to live up to our humanitarian responsibility and face up to the effects of exploitation, climate change and European prosperity. Flight and migration are a result of these unequal conditions. They are not a security issue, but a social matter. We need to talk about the redistribution of resources and ask ourselves who can move freely and safely in our world and who cannot. Frankfurt is a city for all and has declared itself a safe haven for people seeking protection.

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Deputy Mayor of Leipzig Thomas Fabian on Solidarity Cities

In response to the Russian invasion in Ukraine, the European Union acted quickly, in a coordinated manner and consistent with democratic and humanitarian values. I am hoping to see this as a window of opportunity for the European Union to ensure that all refugees, regardless of their origin and religion, color of skin, gender, or sexual orientation are receiving the same chances and have the same rights in all European countries.

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Mayor of Ørland Tom Myrvold on Solidarity Cities

The municipality of Ørland in Norway has decided to join the network of Solidarity Cities. We have great concern for the welfare of migrants all over the world. We are committed to a refugee policy based on humanitarian principles and to offer arriving refugees a quick path to integration. We believe that every child and adult has a right to a peaceful life with equal opportunities and with participation and protection against discrimination. Ørland is joining the Solidarity Cities Initiative because we believe in responsibility and solidarity, and in the power of standing together with like-minded cities.

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Executive Council of Bern Franziska Teuscher on Solidarity Cities

In the refugee crisis, cities bear a special responsibility: two thirds of all refugees live in cities – here in Europe, but also in cities in crisis regions. As a city of solidarity and openness, the City of Bern intends to live up to this responsibility. Since 2015, Bern has been advocating together with other Swiss cities for the direct reception of refugees. In autumn 2020, it demanded the evacuation of Camp Moria in Lesbos and agreed to receive refugees from Moria. That is why the City of Bern supports the Solidarity Cities Initiative. The situation of the refugees has deteriorated further with the Corona pandemic, and it is high time to act.

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Mayor of Hannover Belit Onay on Solidarity Cities

Hannover is a cosmopolitan and diverse city, and we regard migration as an integral part of our social reality. The diversity of cultures and the diversity of lifestyles are an intrinsic and fundamental aspect of our urban community. 

The City of Hannover is committed to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and seeks equality of participation and opportunity in the economic, political, cultural and social life of the city for all its inhabitants, irrespective of where they or earlier generations of their families were born.

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Mayor of St. Gallen Thomas Scheitlin on Solidarity Cities

"St.Gallen is a multifaceted city, where people from over 120 countries of origin live. For a peaceful living together and for successful social and occupational integration, joint efforts are needed. Fair equality of opportunity, participation and protection against discrimination are the core values for a sustainable integration."

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Mayor of Lillehammer Ingunn Trosholmen on Solidarity Cities

"Lillehammer is a small city with a big heart. People with origins from more than 80 countries around the world call Lillehammer home. We are committed to a refugee policy based on humanitarian principles and to offer arriving refugees a quick path to integration. School for children, work-training or jobs for adults, language training and suitable housing are the key factors for successful integration. Lillehammer is also committed to offering a future to young unsupported refugees that arrives without their families and need a community to stand up for them.

Lillehammer is joining the solidarity cities network because we believe in responsibility and solidarity, and in the power of standing together with likeminded cities."

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Cities ready to take in refugee children

Cities across Europe are ready to welcome children from overcrowded refugee camps on the Greek islands. In a letter addressed to the presidents of the European Commission, European Council and European Parliament, they offer to take in unaccompanied children and provide better conditions for them.

"We need to help, and we are here to offer that help,” reads the letter. “Europe needs to step up to provide shelter, comfort and safety.”

The letter is signed by Amersfoort, Amsterdam, Arnhem, Barcelona, Ghent, Groningen, Leipzig, Nuremberg, Tilburg, and Utrecht and offers to relocate about 5,500 unaccompanied children to their cities.

“We are ready to receive them! Each of our cities pledges to accommodate a fair share and abide by the principles of solidarity and responsibility as expressed through the EUROCITIES Solidarity Cities Initiative”, state the cities. “We are ready to work with the national and European authorities, to find the necessary relocation arrangements and realise accommodation solutions.”

EUROCITIES Solidarity Initiative

Within the framework of the Solidarity Cities Initiative launched in 2016, EUROCITIES has supported cities committed to solidarity in the field of refugee reception and integration. Abiding by the principles of humanity and responsibility, the members of this initiative are calling for cooperation among European cities to create more cohesive and inclusive societies.

Read the full letter here.

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Mayor of Munich Dieter Reiter on Solidarity Cities

"As a growing city, Munich is and has always been a city of immigrants. Economically and culturally, the state capital has always benefited from migration. Already in the 1990s, Munich started do develop its own municipal refugee policy, emphasizing the integration of refugees. Their integration from the first day, regardless of their respective residence permit, forms the core of this policy. Building on these priniciples, the city voluntarily funds numerous integration measures, projects and initiatives. In accordance with this attitude and in light of the great engagement of Munich‘s civil society in 2015, the Master Plan for the Integration of Refugees was initiated in 2016. Taken together, Munich acts as a solidary city.

Joining the Solidarity Cities network, the city wants to associate with likeminded communities which take a stand for the principles of responsibility and solidarity. Morevoer, Munich aims to further develop the network in cooperation with civil society and the partner communities."

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Mayor of Gaziantep Fatma Şahin on Solidarity Cities

“Gaziantep has implemented various policies focusing on vocational skills training and language education, in order to foster social cohesion, integration and equal opportunities for refugees living in our city. In this way, we also strengthen cohabitation and solidarity in Gaziantep. We support the Solidarity Cities Initiative, and will continue to implement refugee integration in a realistic and sustainable manner.”

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Mayor of Lucerne Beat Züsli on Solidarity Cities

"Lucerne is an open-minded city with a strong sense of solidarity – not only among the city’s inhabitants and tourists. We view our participation in Solidarity Cities as a sign of our commitment to support refugees and asylum-seekers in creating a future and opening up new prospects. The city of Lucerne already ensures social inclusion, equal opportunities, respectful coexistence and human dignity in all stages of life by implementing a variety of measures in schools and assisting children at an early age, as well as facilitating linguistic and professional integration.

In exchange with other European cities, we continue to foster social cohesion and integration."

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Mayor of Kiel Dr Ulf Kämpfer on Solidarity Cities 2

Kiel is open to the world, a city proud of its cultural, ethnic and religious diversity. Kiel’s citizens met the increased influx of refugees as from 2015 with a great amount of support and impressive commitment. At the end of 2018, Kiel declared itself a “safe haven” for refugees rescued at sea. The challenges posed by refugee policy can only be overcome with joint European responsibility and solidarity. We therefore look forward to the exchange with the other European partner communities in “Solidarity Cities”.

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Mayor of Bremen Dr. Carsten Sieling on Solidarity Cities

“Due to its long history as a city of international trade, Bremen has always been a cosmopolitan and tolerant city. We are committed to a refugee policy based on humanitarian principles. As part of the Solidarity Cities Initiative, Bremen will emphasize the significance of cooperation among European cities.”

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Berlin joins Solidarity Cities

The Governing Mayor of Berlin, Mr Michael Müller, said: “We worked with Berlin’s civil society to draft and adopt an overall plan for integration and participation. This strategy paper lays out refugee policy priorities for the work to be done in the coming years and adheres to the principle of ‘Integration from day one.’  With many different measures and projects, we support decent accommodation for refugees, children getting settled into school quickly, training options or university enrollment for young people, finding jobs, and German language classes for all of the newcomers. It’s also important to us that refugees are able to get involved in neighborhood projects or play sports and experience German culture with Berliners.”

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Video of the Solidarity Cities study visit in Milan 8-9 November 2018

The video shows the study visit organised in the city of Milan under the EUROCITIES Solidarity Cities initiative. 

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Solidarity Cities visits in Milan: city-run reception centres and system for economic integration of migrants and refugees

EUROCITIES’ members of the Working Group Migration and Integration and representatives from the European Commission and the OECD visited two key pillars of the reception and integration system of the city of Milan. The field visits were organised on 8 November 2018, back to back with the Integrating Cities Conference VIII – Cities4People: Migrating ideas, inspiring integration and in the framework of the Solidarity Cities Initiative which Milan has joined. The visits aimed to show international participants the characteristics of the models of reception and early and long-term integration exist in Milan. Participants discussed with the city officers in charge of the different services and also talked directly with the migrants and refugees beneficiaries of the services. They provided their inputs and feedbacks during the day as well as on the day after, during a policy learning activity where other cities reflected on the potential transferability of some elements to their local context.

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Mayor of Zurich Corine Mauch on Solidarity Cities

«Cities play a key role in integrating refugees into both society and the economy. Integration can only be accomplished by joint efforts, and its success or failure will shape the future of our cities. Solidarity is becoming ever more important – both as a value and in the form of actions. Zurich is an open city and a city of solidarity. I welcome Solidarity Cities as an important contribution to the successful integration of refugees in Europe.»

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EUROCITIES organises on 18 September 2017 from 11:00 to 16:30 an expert meeting focused on city-foundation collaboration in the field of education for refugees and asylum seekers. This event will be hosted by the European Foundation Centre in the Philanthropy House in Brussels.

The event, organised in the framework of the Solidarity Cities Initiative and with the support of the Open Society Education Support Program, will be attended by experts from Think Tanks, European Commission services, European Parliament, NGOS, Foundations and Philanthropies and Representatives of cities members of EUROCITIES.

 It will aim at taking stock of existing initiatives and at exploring possible steps forward to maximise the impact of common work between foundations and cities, through knowledge exchange and transfer of expertise. It will also create vital links between foundations and cities with the hope of seeing examples of city-foundation collaborations in the field of education flourish across Europe.

 We would be extremely happy to count on your participation and your contribution to the debate. Please register at this link before September 14th.

Mayor of Milan Giuseppe Sala on Solidarity Cities



EUROCITIES report “Cities and migrants”

2nd implementation report 2015

EUROCITIES report on integration of refugees

Refugee reception and integration in cities