Barcelona hosts an international forum on the reception and integration of refugees in the EU
DIPLOCAT – On 3 May, organised by the Barcelona City Council and the Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia
Europe currently faces its biggest humanitarian crisis since WWII. The massive number of refugees, many of whom are fleeing war in Syria, are seeking a safe place to live in Europe. The arrival of such large numbers of refugees is putting European values to the test, along with the capacity of EU member states to react and can, in the long run, affect the European construction project.
The challenge for the EU is twofold. It involves on the one hand, to coordinate the humanitarian emergency related to the arrival of refugees, and on the other to assure the integration of the newcomers within the hosting society.
Barcelona City Council and the Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia organise in this context the International Forum on reception and integration of refugees within the EU in Barcelona on the 3 May, with the objective to discuss this new situation and share the challenges and opportunities arising from the influx of refugees.
The Forum will be divided into two parts. Part I will focus on cities, regions and states, as well as organisations that are currently actively involved in receiving refugees. Part II will look at successful projects for mid- and long-term integration of newcomers, while seeking an exchange of best practices for public administration, as well as how NGO’s can best contribute.At the end of 2014, a record-breaking 38 million people were forcibly displaced within their own country. The number of refugees of concern to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in mid-2015 reached an estimated 15.1 million refugees, the highest level in 20 years.
+1M refugees arrived in 2015
According to IDMC’s Global Overview 2015, the increase of internally displaced was the result of prolonged crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Nigeria, South Sudan and Syria. These five countries represented 60% of the new displacements worldwide.
With more than one million people arriving on European soil (1,046,599), 2015 was also the year, in which the direct humanitarian consequences of these conflicts, especially of the Syrian one, started to be felt massively in Europe.
Even though the majority of Syrian refugees remain within the neighboring countries (Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey), data shows that from 1st January to 16 March 2016, 153,296 migrants and refugees arrived to Europe by sea and, 2,304 arrived by land. 464 died or went missing during the journey.
Faced with this emergency situation, the Government of Catalonia proposed to receive up to 4.500 refugees in Catalonia. Furthermore, Barcelona was one of the first towns of the state to defend the rights of these people to seek asylum, as established in the international law and declared itself Refuge City, whilst encouraging other municipalities to do likewise.
Barcelona City Council and the Public Diplomacy Council incite Catalan society and the Catalan institutions to get engaged in the construction of a just and democratic international society.
The forum will be streamed live at http://www.diplocat.cat/