President Ursula von der Leyen
Rue de la Loi / Wetstraat 200
Brussels, 21 June 2022
Dear President von der Leyen,
At the 9th Liberal Mayors Summit, which I hosted during the ALDE Party Congress in Dublin on 2 June, the participating mayors and deputy mayors discussed at length the support that EU cities are providing to Ukrainian refugees as well as to Ukrainian municipalities, since the Russian invasion.
As you might know already, apart from hosting refugees and providing humanitarian aid, EU cities, under the leadership of the European Committee of the Regions and the Association of Ukrainian Cities, are organising summer camps for children still in Ukraine, and preparing to provide expertise for the reconstruction of Ukrainian cities.
During our discussion in Dublin, there was a general consensus that the large-scale migration that we have seen in recent years from Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Africa, and now Ukraine, is likely to continue in the coming years and decades because of the climate emergency, natural disasters, water scarcity, and future geopolitical crises. We conclude therefore that EU cities need to factor in refugee hosting and integration as long-term municipal policies. With Europe’s population expected to decline to 7% of the world’s population by 2050, Africa’s population expected to double in the same period, and with the certainty that climate disasters will repeatedly cause sudden mass migration, the successful integration of newcomers to EU cities must become a permanent feature of municipal policy planning and action.
Therefore, it is essential that mayors are supported by the European Commission with data, best-practice, foresight projections, and direct access to a mechanism for emergency funding, and we call upon you to take the necessary actions and to make this a priority in your forthcoming State of the Union Speech in September.
We remain at your disposal for any additional information you may need.
François DECOSTER, President of Renew Europe CoR, Mayor of Saint-Omer (France)
Clotilde ARMAND, Mayor of Bucharest Sector 1 (Romania)
Daniel BERG, Deputy Mayor of Budapest 2nd District (Hungary)
Vincent CHAUVET, Mayor of Autun (France)
Gillian COUGHLAN, Mayor of the County of Cork (Ireland)
Dario HREBAK, Mayor of Bjelovar (Croatia)
Vicente MARAÑÓN, Deputy Mayor of Burgos (Spain)
Naoise Ó CEARÚIL, Mayor of Kildare (Ireland)
Fintan PHELAN, Mayor of Carlow (Ireland)
Bart SOMERS, Mayor of Mechelen (Belgium)
Francesco VANDERJEUGD, Mayor of Staden (Belgium)