It’s been a year since the Solidarity Cities initiative was announced by the mayor of Athens, Giorgios Kaminis, during the meeting of the European Capitals in April 2016. Since then, EUROCITIES and its members have been working to make this idea of solidarity between cities on the refugee crisis a reality on the ground.
The initiative was launched in Athens in October 2016, and has attracted support from major European cities both inside and outside the EUROCITIES network. Find out more about what these mayors had to say about the initiative . A video explaining the principles of Solidarity Cities was released in January 2017.
EUROCITIES has secured different streams of funding to support cities in their work to improve reception and integration of asylum seekers and refugees:
- The CITIES GROW project, supported by the European Commission's DG Home was launched in February 2017. Members from 16 cities will work on the integration of asylum seekers, refugees and other migrants in economic life.
- Thanks to a grant of the Open Society Foundations, EUROCITIES is organising ad-hoc mentoring visits on education for refugee children in cities. Milan and Thessaloniki will receive mentoring visits from Leeds, Stockholm and Amsterdam in June and July 2017. This mentoring model will be replicated on other thematic areas of the reception and integration of refugees.
- On knowledge exchange, a report on the education of newly arrived refugees and asylum seekers in cities was published in January 2017. A new survey has been launched in May 2017 to cover the topic of labour market inclusion: http://bit.ly/2qFS1cP.
EUROCITIES is pursuing its lobbying efforts at technical and political level to guarantee a better EU funding of integration in cities. EUROCITIES is coordinating, within the urban partnership on the inclusion of migrants, the action on EU funding which will recommend new ways to finance migrant integration post 2020.
At EUROCITIES initiative, other actions in the framework of the urban partnership will include the launch of an 'integration academy' to build the capacity of city practitioners, and the development of urban indicators to allow for a more in-depth analysis of integration outcomes at city level.