Moria fire – Cities ready to take in refugees

10 September 2020

European cities are willing to take in refugees from the burned migrant camp Moria on the Greek island of Lesbos. Faced with more than 12,000 people without shelter after the fire on Tuesday night, cities renewed their offer to help.

In Germany, Eurocities’ member city Muenster offered to provide accommodation for refugees from Moria. “We stand ready,” said mayor Markus Lewe. Together with seven other German cities, Eurocities’ members Cologne, Dusseldorf and Hanover sent a letter to the German government, asking to allow for the reception of refugees.

The Mayors of Amsterdam, Barcelona, Hanover and Valencia shared a joint letter to the heads of the European institutions in which they call for better European solidarity and voice their willingness to welcome refugees. The city of Arnhem in The Netherlands also supports this initiative.

In April, cities across Europe had expressed their readiness to welcome children from 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 catastrophe in Moria has been answered with European declarations of solidarity. “We stand ready to support, with Member States,” EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen wrote on Twitter. And Ylva Johannson, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, stated she had “agreed to finance the immediate transfer and accomodation on the mainland of the remaining 400 unaccompanied children and teenagers.” Fires had destroyed Greece’s largest migrant camp on Tuesday night.

This article has been updated on 16 November, to reflect information about the letters sent by cities and mayors .