Efus calls for the European Union to support local authorities in welcoming and integrating migrants

Update Summer 2015: Faced with the refugee crisis, Efus reiterates its call to the European Commission for the European Union to support local authorities confronted with serious humanitarian crises caused by important inflows of migrants and to implement a shared responsibility scheme with Member states in order to face these daily tragedies. 

Resolution of the Executive Committee

Reggio Emilia, 18 October 2013

Faced with the daily tragedies caused by migration influxes on the coasts of southern Europe, the Executive Committee of the European Forum for Urban Security calls once again for the European Union to support local authorities in managing this problem, which is likely to increase in the next few years.

As Efus has already pointed out in its previous resolutions1, it is the cities that find themselves on the front line, taking responsibility for the migrants, and they are not equipped to deal with these constant influxes. That is why the local authorities that are members of Efus are calling for the joint responsibility of the member countries and for solidarity between cities in welcoming and integrating these migrants. Every country that is a member of the EU should accept that they must take responsibility for some of the migrants in order to help the countries with the highest influxes due to their geographical location.

While migration influxes are often perceived as a security threat, the Executive Committee of Efus wishes to emphasise that this is above all a humanitarian issue. Policies aimed at migrants must respect the constitutional values of the European Union. Throughout their migration, they must be treated in accordance with human rights.

The European Forum for Urban Security expresses the need to reconsider European regulations on asylum. They support the modification of the regulation Dublin II with a view to creating a Common European Asylum System (CEAS). Currently, even though borders are perceived as European and no longer national, the system expects those seeking asylum to stay in the country they first arrive in. The new initiative proposes that they should be shared out and welcomed over the entire EU territory. Efus stresses the need to clarify the status of migrants and refugees, as each status leads to a different type of intervention, as well as their homogenisation across Europe.

Efus underlines the importance of balancing the sharing out of funding that is allocated to this topic by the European Union. The European policy must not be limited to border controls. It must also invest in combating criminal networks and providing support to the cities that receive migrants.

Awareness should be increased at national, regional and local government levels. Particular emphasis should be placed on informing local city authorities of migratory trends and flows as well as educating civil society in order to reduce discrimination and xenophobia.

The European Forum emphasises the need to set up integration schemes. Whether they stay in their country of arrival, are relocated to another European country, or return to their country of origin, migrants should be helped to develop their skills in integrating into a new environment. Placement in detention centres should be kept at a strict minimum since it is neither in the migrants’ interests nor in the interests of their host cities.

To reduce humanitarian crisis related to migration, all European countries should make an effort to reduce the causes of said crises. This is achieved by a reinforcement of development aid policies, which will create the necessary conditions to enable potential migrants to stay in their country of origin and not risk their lives fleeing to Europe.

European cities can help each other by raising awareness of this phenomenon amongst their populations and by training key stakeholders. They can also support each other in the way they deal with emergencies, but also in the way they develop sustainable solutions. Through their collaboration, they will also aim to improve migrants’ conditions, to prevent the sense of insecurity that they might feel or provoke and to reduce the risk they are exploited by organised crime structures.

Members of the European Forum are prepared to provide assistance and engage in a process of mutual aid with regard to the integration of migrants. The Forum’s expert knowledge in urban security will help the implementation of policies that target peaceful cohabitation and integration of migrants into local communities.

 Press contact:
Elsa Fontanille
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