Cities meet to discuss issue of refugees and asylum at local level

19/03/2015

SAF Forum Osmangazi 11-13 March 2015

Nine politicians from the cities of Barcelona, Belfast, Besiktas, Eindhoven, Leipzig, Lisbon, Nantes and Osmangazi gathered in the Turkish city on 11 March 2015 in a closed political session to discuss the future EUROCITIES political statement on asylum and migration issues affecting cities in general.

The importance of Turkey as a front-line reception and transit country for asylum seekers and refugees, and the contrast between the overwhelmingly high number of Syrian refugees hosted in camps or settling in major cities in Turkey, and those managing to access the EU by risking their lives was discussed by politicians at the meeting.

The session took place in the 'Sümbüllü bahçe' mansion, an historical building restored by the municipality of Osmangazi and was chaired by Thomas Fabian, Vice-Mayor of Leipzig and chair of the Social Affairs Forum. Some key contributions were made to the draft statement on asylum in cities, which will be incorporated in the EUROCITIES statement on asylum and migration.

This political discussion took place at the spring EUROCITIES Social Affairs Forum on 'adaptation of city services to demographic change', held from 11 to 13 March 2015, which featured a keynote speech delivered by Nazia Hussain from the 'At Home in Europe' Open Society initiative. There were also study visits to services provided by the Osmangazi Municipality, speed networking sessions led by 8 Eurocities SAF members, as well as workshops on deprived neighbourhoods, intra-EU migration, active ageing and social cohesion through pedestrian accessibility.