A delegation of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe carried out a visit to Poland on 4 and 5 July 2022 to collect experiences of Polish cities in taking care of Ukrainian refugees. The delegation met with a wide range of stakeholders and visited temporary accommodation centres in Warsaw and Lublin to prepare a report for the Congress. Poland has received more Ukrainian refugees than any other member State, more than 90% of whom are women and children.
“Cities and regions are on the frontline; they can react quickly and adapt to the real needs of women and children on the ground. Over these two days, we saw that strong local government in cooperation with active civil society really does make the difference,” said Bernd Vöhringer and Annika Vaikla, Rapporteurs on the issue.
“We were very impressed with how well local NGOs and local administrations worked together to protect vulnerable people. Building trust between civil society and local authorities takes time and effort, but it is crucial in situations like these.” added Thomas Andersson, Chair of the Current Affairs Committee, who led the delegation.
“Polish Cities have shown determination and commitment to face this challenge. We witnessed their efforts to provide not only a temporary home, but also support and psychological help to Ukrainian women and children,” concluded the delegation.
Local and regional authorities across Europe need support and guidance to ensure that every woman and child on the run - regardless of their background or country of origin - can be safely received in Europe’s towns, cities and regions. This is the aim of the report on “the reception of women and children refugees in Europe’s cities and regions” that will be presented for adoption at the 43rd session of Congress in October 2022.
Head of the delegation:
- Mr Thomas Andersson Chair of the Current Affairs Committee (R, ILDG), President of the Regional Council of Jämtland and Härjedalen, Sweden
- Mr Bernd Vöhringer Rapporteur on the reception of women and children refugees in Europe’s cities and regions (L, EPP/CCE), President of the Chamber of Local Authorities of the Congress, Lord Mayor of the City of Sindelfingen, Germany
- Ms Annika Vaikla Rapporteur on the reception of women and children refugees in Europe’s cities and regions (L, ILDG), Member of the Current Affairs Committee, Member of the Municipal Council of Viimsi, Estonia
- Prof. Dr. Birgit Glorius, Technische Universität Chemnitz, Germany