Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR)
European section of United Cities and Local Governments

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Governance and citizenship

Refugee crisis - 15.10.2015

"Local governments are often more open than their central states to volunteer," says CEMR President
Today about 100.000 local and regional governments, including very small villages, are volunteering to host refugees as a way to strengthen their own growth and development. “If we imagine that each municipality volunteers to host one or two families, we are a way above numbers agreed at EU level,” said CEMR president, Annemarie Jorritsma during a debate on the role of regions and cities to cope with the refugee crisis, on 14 October at the European Parliament.

Hosted by MEP Eliza Vozemberg, the conference gathered several European mayors and presidents of regions, as well as MEPs Jo Leinen, Laura Ferrara and Kashetu Kyenge.

The Mayor of Maroussi (Greece) and President of our Greek association (KEDE), Giorgios Patoulis explained the situation on the ground: “In the current crisis context, local governments have to face this situation although in many cases they are not prepared. In Greece, municipalities had to cope with the influx of refugees without money, staff and the necessary resources. EU financial support is already there but not sufficient if the arrivals continue.” 

MEP Kashetu Kyenge pointed out the need to strength cooperation with the local level: “We need to work with the regions and support them when exchanging on practices,” so they can learn how things are managed in other countries, she said during her intervention.  

Additional information

The conference “Migration: An active role for regions and cities” was organised in the frame of the Open Days. Its objective was twofold: on one hand to exchange ideas and good practices when hosting refugees. On the other hand, it served as a platform to discuss the access to EU funds for migration and how the regions can use them. 

This event was organised by the Region of North Aegean, Sicily and Calabria. It counts with the joint support of CEMR, the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions and Eurocities.  
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