Welcoming refugees with dignity

The Strasbourg Club adopts a vade-mecum on the reception and integration of refugees in European cities

Nov 29, 2016

Today Europe is faced with an unprecedented human challenge, no doubt the largest in its history since the
end of the Second World War. A challenge that if is to be dealt with effectively, implies the mobilisation of society as a whole: politicians at local, national and European level, but also the members of civil society.
The future of millions of men, women and children depends on providing concrete, effective solutions.
While it takes many years to implement an international agreement at intergovernmental level, territorial authorities have the advantage of being
able to adapt very quickly to the new challenges confronting them.


In Strasbourg, European capital of Democracy and of Human Rights, particular attention has always been
paid to receiving and integrating newcomers to its territory. It was entirely natural in September 2015
for Roland RIES, Mayor of Strasbourg, to answer the French authorities’ call to create a national Solidarity City Network.

Led by Nawel RAFIK-ELMRINI, Deputy to the Mayor of Strasbourg in charge of European and International Relations, and at the initiative of the
City of Strasbourg and the Italian cities of Catania and Rovereto, this network was extended to European
level a month later with the launch of the "European Solidarity City Network". Soon afterwards, the Club
de Strasbourg, whose members include over 60 European cities, then the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, made up of 648 elected officials representing over 200,000 local authorities in 47 Member States, but also the National Association of Italian Communes (ANCI), which is made up of some 8,000 Italian communes, also committed to developing this Network.


The fruit of a year’s painstaking work, the "Vademecum" is the first concrete outcome of the "European Solidarity City Network" initiative.
Its purpose is to list the good practices relating to public policies on the reception and integration of refugees that are being implemented at local
level. The "Vademecum" aims to be an account of the involvement and diversity of action of European cities at a time when many of them are faced with the opposition of their own governments. This is why this guide is designed as a practical tool, a decision support instrument and a veritable source of inspiration for cities that may feel helpless or isolated faced with the arrival of large numbers of refugees on their territory. Through this guide, the only one of its kind, European cities will be able learn from each other and strengthen their cooperation in
a domain where improvisation is unfortunately often the modus operandi.

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