Please note that this event will now take place from 13.00-14.00 at Bâtiment Arts 56 (Avenue des Arts 56, 1000 Brussels).
This event is part of Friends of Europe’s Migration Action initiative, through which we examine the imperative of migration in the context of economic sustainability and demographics, as well as its impact on public services, communities and security. Our approach is based on seeing migration and integration as assets rather than as threats. Changing the current narrative surrounding migration, by emphasising the positive over the negative and presenting citizens with a realistic picture of migration, is one of our key aims. Involving cities and municipalities, private foundations, national governments, international institutions and more, is in our view key to ensuring a more horizontal and holistic approach.
- Global flows: migration and security, a Friends of Europe Discussion Paper
- Partnerships and funding are the keys to migrant integration, by Anna Lisa Boni, Secretary General of EUROCITIES
Migration and integration are not new to Europe, but the current refugee and migrant crisis is on a scale unseen for decades. Europe’s institutions and national governments have yet to forge proper responses – but rising tensions point to the need for a realistic and comprehensive policy that addresses both challenges and opportunities.
Welcome and registration of participants
Refugee flows, while not new, have sent many systems into shock over the last several years, creating tensions between states and their international obligations, as well as between national and local governments. Indeed, while cities and regions are often able to demonstrate resilience on the surface, issues of finance, governance, integration and urban planning are all linked to local systems which are being tested in ways for which they were not designed. The Turkish city of Gaziantep, lying less than 100 km north of Aleppo, and the Swedish city of Gothenburg are two such places. Despite the challenges of hosting large newcomer populations – of the 600,000 Syrians in Gaziantep, only 40,000 live in refugee camps – local authorities have employed innovative solutions in response. What lessons can be learned from the experiences of two cities like Gaziantep and Gothenburg?
- What are the conditions that lead certain cities to effectively respond to an influx of refugees, while others fall into seeming chaos?
- How have municipalities like Gaziantep and Gothenburg improved their ability to host and support large numbers of refugees, and what challenges have they faced along the way?
- What should the national governments and European Union do to ease pressures at the local level?
Welcoming remarks by:
Hande Bozatlı / Honorary President of the Assembly of European Regions (AER)
Magnus Berntsson / President of the Region of Västra Götaland, Sweden
Rainer Münz / Adviser on Migration and Demography at the European Commission Political Strategy Centre
Kati Piri / Member of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET)
Fatma Şahin / Mayor of Gaziantep, Turkey
Dharmendra Kanani, Director of Strategy at Friends of Europe
End of debate
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