The work of local actors is crucial in the successful hosting of refugees in Europe, though their needs are often overlooked by national governments, panellists discussed at a Friends of Europe Policy Insight entitled “Urban responses to refugees” on 25 January.
The event invited local front-line officials and other experts to share best policies and practices for responding to refugee arrivals. Innovative responses at this level are vital in order to address the large influxes of refugees which 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.
The challenge is particularly great in Turkey, which hosts more than three million Syrian refugees – more than half of those who have fled Syria. “Yes, Turkish people like guests, but sometimes when it starts to have social, economic and political impacts, then people may start to worry about the future,” said Hande Bozatlı, Honorary President of the Assembly of European Regions (AER). “These are the same worries that European citizens are having. So, when we talk to each other we understand more about each other and that helps us to find more constructive solutions.”