PLATFORMA political council: refugee crisis, Slovak EU presidency and EU policy
Members of PLATFORMA’s political council debated the role of decentralised cooperation in managing the refugee crisis at their meeting in Brussels on 8 April 2016.
According to the head of the EU-UN Joint Migration and Development Initiative, Cécile Riallant, local governments are the key actors to manage the refugee crisis. She called for cooperation between origin and destination regions, pointing out “corridors” and specific connections between these territories. She also stressed that refugees will become contributors to local communities. [video]
Jocelyne Bougeard, Deputy Mayor of the City of Rennes (France, AFCCRE), said that exchanging best practices between host regions was key to ensure the relocation of migrants. Christiane Overmans, Councilor of the City of Bonn (Germany, RGRE), stated that “no wall is high enough to prevent human mobility”. She and the mayor of Sint-Niklaas (Belgium, VVSG) Lieven Dehandschutter, agreed that municipalities had a role to play in coordinating the actions of volunteers.
Rev Cllr Mpho Moruakgomo, Commonwealth Local Government Forum incoming chairperson, stressed that the solution is to tackle the root causes of the crisis, that is to ensure peace, stability and governance in the origin countries. Gabriel Frontera Borrueco, Councilor of Inca municipality (Spain, Fons Mallorqui), added that the EU-Turkey agreement was making the situation worse. Concluding the debate, Hans Janssen, Mayor of Oisterwijk (the Netherlands, VNG) and spokesperson of PLATFORMA stressed that the situation was global but also needed local responses.
The upcoming Slovak EU presidency (represented by Karla Wursterová, Counsellor at the Permanent Representation of the Slovak Republic to the EU) was invited to hear PLATFORMA’s concerns on the upcoming mid-term review of the 2014-2020 financial period of the EU budget, more specifically the future budget for development cooperation. PLATFORMA’s political council also adopted two policy positions on the revision of the EU-ACP Partnership Agreement in 2020 and the EU Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy.
On 7 and 8 April, the steering committee heard that PLATFORMA will launch a reflection process on its future, intends to organise the awards of decentralised cooperation, and that in future there will be two steering committee meetings a year, ahead of each change of EU presidency.