The Regional Governor of Attica, Ms Rena Dourou met with the President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, Mr Jean-Claude Frécon at the offices of the Region of Attica today. President Frécon is leading a Congress delegation upon the invitation of the Regional Governor of Attica, Ms Dourou, to follow up on the migration/refugee crisis as well as the role of local and regional authorities.
The key points by the Regional Governor of Attica can be summarized as follows:
- We are pleased to welcome today the President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, Mr Jean-Claude Frécon, who is leading a Delegation with a specific twofold objective.
- The subject of the meeting is to address the migrant/refugee phenomenon. As Anne Brasseur observed already, it is about a systemic, long-standing phenomenon which brings to light a deeper crisis in the European Union, i.e. a crisis affecting the credibility of the European institutions.
- This crisis of policy highlights the need for Europe to adopt a truly coherent refugee and migration policy based on the principles of fair sharing of responsibility and reciprocity, as well as a single asylum system. The system of the Dublin Regulation deserves only to be consigned to history, thereby giving way to an effective neighbourhood EU policy on migration/refugee crisis with third countries, whether countries of origin and/or transit.
- The situation calls for a collective EU policy away from unilateral actions, such as closure of borders, building of walls, threats to close passes such as Brenner Pass between Italy and Austria.
- An effective refugee/migration policy seeking to improve the lives of refugees/migrants, while ensuring the economic interests and the security of host countries.
- In the light of recent developments, the EU-Turkey Agreement is becoming all the more fragile. Agreements with third countries are required in further support to the matter.
- The twofold objective is, firstly, to inform the Congress President and the Congress Delegation about the initiatives and the actions taken by the Region of Attica. As I have said repeatedly, this particular region of reception is dealing on the refugee/migration crisis within and even over its territory, and, indeed, without the necessary tools, i.e. without resources and without a specific legal framework. Nevertheless, our initiative to establish the Logistics Centre in cooperation with the General Secretariat for Trade shows that there is still a lot to be done.
- The second aspect of our common goal is about joint search for all those instruments that will contribute to strengthening the role of local and regional authorities in addressing a phenomenon which is going to mark the whole of the 21th century. A key role, as local and regional authorities are precisely bridges between immigrants/refugees and local communities — whether in relation to the reception of immigrants/refugees, or in relation to the process of their integration to society.
- Indeed, the work and analyses of the Congress of the Council of Europe move in this direction.
- This is the direction that the three levels of governance — European, national, local should take as well. For, it is only through effective synergies, co-operations, consensus that the Old Continent can make a genuine warhorse of the migrant/refugee phenomenon.
- To this end, the Region of Attica claims direct access to European funds, including the AMIF and the European financial instruments for Regional Authorities, in order to ensure their efficient and effective management in the context of a single European migration/refugee and asylum policy.
- It is equally important for us to claim a clear legal framework.
- Cooperation between local communities, local and regional authorities, governments, European institutions, NGOs, the scientific community, is the basis for addressing a phenomenon which is going to determine Europe’s future to a large extent.
- The Region of Attica is fighting on two fronts: on the one hand, we require clear institutional framework and appropriate resources and, on the other hand, we seek immediate response. To this end, we have set up the Logistics Centre in Faliron Delta for the rational management of relief items offered as a sign of civic solidarity. At the same time, we contribute to the running of accommodation centres, as the ones that we will visit in Skaramanga, in Elaionas, a standard, open unit hosting refugees and migrants.
- We are fully aware of the need to build broad alliances with other regions which are hosting refugees who wish to continue their journey; therefore, we intend to respond to these needs.