February 2nd, 2017
Witness to the biggest global migration movement of our time, the new Solidarity Cities initiative welcomes all European cities to work together in a committed effort to support refugee reception and integration. Led by the Mayor of Athens, Georgios Kaminis, and based on the framework of the EUROCITIES network, Solidary Cities plan to stand as a united front in response to the multiple challenges posed by the migration and refugee crisis. Afterall, they’re saying, integration and social cohesion manifest at the local level and city leaders are prepared to strengthen their role to confront issues of migration through cooperative and collaborative measures, guidelines for social cohesion and a robust support system for developing and implementing good integration practices.
Solidarity, Humanity and Dignity:
“Solidarity Cities is the cities’ response to the refugee crisis that erupted last year. In a joint statement issued with other large cities of Europe, we declared that our role in dealing with the multiple implications of this major challenge is crucial.
I am proud to say that this is a political initiative that I proposed to the EU capital cities’ mayors at our annual meeting last April and it was unanimously endorsed. “Solidarity Cities” overall platform is structured around four main pillars:
In a nutshell, it is an initiative that captures the ongoing efforts of cities at the local level to receive and integrate refugees. It also highlights and further promotes the need for cities to have a recognized, and stronger role in these areas, being frontrunners in the promotion of coexistence and mutual respect.
The City of Athens has already significantly benefited from this initiative. It has established close cooperation with cities such as Amsterdam, Berlin and Barcelona as well as the Eurocities Network. This has not only enabled it to acquire more expertise on how to deal with this challenge. It has also established a forum where the Athens’ municipality can work jointly (with other cities) to advocate for a fair sharing of responsibilities at local, national and EU level, based on the European values of solidarity, humanity and dignity.”
*Question from Gisela S., Brussels, Belgium, posted on The World Mayors website. Reprinted with permission from the World Mayor Project 2016 by the London-based City Mayors Foundation, February 14, 2017.
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