EUROCITIES joins asylum discussions with MEPs

We shared our cities' experiences of dealing with asylum and migration at a LIBE committee meeting in the European Parliament.

We were represented by Marco Granelli, Milan’s vice mayor for social cohesion and security at an exchange of views with the rapporteurs and shadow rapporteurs of the Parliament’s own initiative report on a ‘Holistic approach to migration in the EU’.

The invitation to join the European Parliament’s LIBE (civil liberties, justice and home affairs) committee to present major European cities’ recommendations on asylum and migration follows the publication of our political statement on asylum on 13 May 2015.

Marco Granelli is very involved in managing the asylum crisis in his own city, and was joined by Caterina Sarfatti from Milan, vice chair of our migration and integration working group.

This meeting is the first occasion that the Parliament has involved cities in its debates on migration and asylum.

Marco Granelli began by describing to co-rapporteurs Cécile Kyenge (S&D, Italy) and Roberta Metsola (EPP, Malta) how Milan is fulfilling its role as a frontline manager of migration flows. Since October 2013, 65,000 asylum seekers have transited through the city on their way to Germany, Sweden or the UK. The city, left to its own devices, has created its own reception, with the opening of 19 hubs to provide shelter, care and information, overseen by city staff, NGOs and volunteers. Milan has worked with the media to publicise its policies towards what they consider to be a humanitarian crisis. In the last few days alone, 1,300 asylum seekers have used the reception centres.

Marco Granelli then spoke on behalf of EUROCITIES, detailing the recommendations made in our statement on asylum. He insisted that cities must be involved at political level in the discussions surrounding the EU migration agenda, and should be given specific resources to play their role.