#CityToCity Cooperation

5 April 2016

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Refuge City

I was in a working group in Brussels today, alongside representatives from Athens, Berlin, Amsterdam, Paris and Leipzig.

As cities, we are the territory that ultimately receives people, and it is crucial we keep that in mind when designing our reception policies and managing the funds needed for them. It is encouraging that the idea of  ‪#‎CityToCity‬‬‬ cooperation has aroused such interest here in Brussels. Amsterdam and other cities have expressed their wish to reach similar agreements to the arrangements Barcelona has made with Athens, Lesbos and Lampedusa, both for relocating asylum seekers and for sharing resources and good practices. That is why I find it hard to understand the Spanish government's persistent opposition to our offer of help. There is talk in Brussels too of Spain's lack of political will and transparency when it comes to managing aid funds for immigration and reception.

If Europe is to have a future, it must be as a community that we all cooperate in: states, regional and local authorities, citizens and associations. This is the big challenge we have ahead of us. We can rise to it with determination and find an opportunity in this crisis for strengthening Europe from below or we can clutch at false solutions that endanger the values of community life and human rights that the European Union was founded on after the Second World War, to say "never again" to dehumanisation.

 

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This blog features ideas, thoughts and reflections on my daily life as the Mayor of Barcelona.

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