City letter on refugee children relocation gains traction

7 July 2020

The EU institutions are taking note of the Solidarity Cities letter in which cities across Europe declared their readiness to welcome children from overcrowded refugee camps on the Greek islands.

The letter, addressed to the presidents of the European Commission, European Council and European Parliament, states “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. We are ready to work with the national and European authorities, to find the necessary relocation arrangements and realise accommodation solutions.”

Now, both the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, and the President of the European Parliament David Sassoli have sent a direct answer to cities’ initiative.

President von der Leyen states that “I can only commend the readiness and generosity of cities around Europe to receive minors from Greece and I strongly encourage you to continue conveying this message to your national authorities. Addressing this challenge requires common efforts at the national, regional and local levels and European cities play a key role in the reception and integration of migrants and persons seeking protection.”

President Sassoli underlined that “In all these [relocation] efforts, the role of cities and more generally local authorities, is primordial. The Parliament has several times stressed their key role in translating EU asylum and migration policies into concrete measures on the ground, including on reception measures and integration, and their positive role as drivers for change. Their input to the definition of EU policies is also essential.” The letter also highlighted the President’s commitment “to make every effort so that the role of cities is further recognised and supported in future EU legislation, including in the future EU asylum system and financial framework reform.”

In the meantime, the city of Bruges is the most recent signatory to the letter. We keep the letter open to continue bringing together cities that support relocating refugee children from the Greek islands.

Read the letter: City_Letter_on_refugee_children_relocation_April_2020