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

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Diversity and integration

CEMR Executive Bureau - 08.08.2003

Asylum policy : CEMR backs calls for a stronger role for cities and local government
CEMR's Executive Bureau, meeting on 7 July in Rhodos, Greece, has endorsed the recent joint statement of 14 large city mayors calling for the role of local governments to be more fully recognised in the EU's Common Asylum Policy.
"We strongly support this initiative of the large European cities, said CEMR secretary general Jeremy Smith. However, towns of all sizes face new challenges in helping to meet the basic needs of immigrants and asylum seekers, and in promoting their integration."
The statement by the 14 mayors, issued on 20 June, includes :
  • the need for better consultation on asylum policy
  • recognition of the positive role that immigrants and those fleeing persecution can play
  • asylum seekers must have legal means of securing shelter and basic material support
  • A Common Asylum Policy requires adequate EU funding.
Support for the Convention and for the Leipzig Declaration
CEMR's Bureau also sent a message to the President and members of the Convention on the Future of Europe, supporting the new draft constitution, and recognizing their enormous contribution (Valéry Giscard d'Estaing is also CEMR's President).
It also gave its backing the Committee of the Regions' Declaration on the future of European cohesion policy (Leipzig Declaration), and expressed its utmost opposition to any "renationalisation" of cohesion funding.
Finally, CEMR recalled the vital role of services of general interest (public services) provided via local and regional governments, but opposed the Commission's proposal, in its recent Green Paper, for regulation of these services at EU level.
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