In recent days Barcelona City Council has announced a number of measures designed to help cities affected by the refugee crisis.
The first such measure is an agreement between the Mayor of Barcelona and the Mayor of Athens to relocate 100 of Athens’ refugees to Barcelona. Although both cities are in agreement, Ada Colau, the Mayor of Athens has written to the Prime Minister of Spain Mariano Rajoy, requesting him to authorise it.
Speaking at a press conference Ada Colau, the Mayor of Barcelona, said: “we can help, we want to help, we have already spoken to Athens and we agree to facilitate this first relocation in a pilot project of 100 people.” Adding to this, Mayor of Athens Giorgios Kaminis said that the show of solidarity from Barcelona was an important thing and insisted that it’s time for European funds to be given directly to cities. He said: “We have flexibility and these strong ties and we can use EU aid in a way that is quicker and much more effective.”
In a further measure, Barcelona City Council has also signed cooperation agreements with Lampedusa and Lesbos, two of the most affected reception regions. The agreement will see Barcelona offer technical, logistical and social help to both areas and is supported by Barcelona Metropolitan Area, the Barcelona Provincial Council and the FC Barcelona Foundation. The practical help needed in Lampedusa and Lesbos ranges from waste management to managing, controlling and utilising the NGOs and volunteers that have inundated the island over recent months. Giuseppina Nicolini, Mayor of Lampedusa, welcomed the agreement and highlighted the many lives that are at stake.
With the number of refugees entering Europe likely to increase as the temperature rises, a coordinated European and city response will become ever more necessary to relieve the pressure in those areas most affected.
For more information on the Barcelona refuge plan, please visit the Barcelona City Council website.