The Congress examined the challenges posed by migration for cities and regions in a debate held on 26 October with the participation of Ambassador Drahoslav Štefánek, Special Representative of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe on Migration and Refugees, and Erini Dourou (Greece, SOC/V/PD), Congress rapporteur on migration issues.
“Migration is a systemic problem, with long-term consequences, which requires long-term vision and solutions,” said Erini Dourou. The commitment to refugees and migrants, she stressed, reflects the commitment to "safeguard the core mandate of the Council of Europe: protecting human rights and democratic values".
"The Congress certainly has a legitimate voice in this area since as local and regional authorities have a major role to play in the reception and integration of migrants and refugees," said Ambassador Štefánek in presenting the Council of Europe Action Plan. He underlined the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, in particular on access to health care and housing, and the additional burden on local and regional authorities.
The debate highlighted the need for co-ordination between all levels of government, a clear and coherent legislative framework at European level, and support from national governments and the European level to enable local and regional authorities to enact policies for the reception and integration of migrants and refugees.