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Barcelona reaches an agreement with Athens to initially host 100 refugees

The Catalan capital reached an agreement with Athens to host 100 refugees from those living in camps in the Greek capital. This compromise is the first stage of a collaboration programme between both cities, which may be enhanced by the respective mayors in the near future. Since the competences regarding the refugees’ hosting depend on the Spanish State, Barcelona’s mayor, Ada Colau, will send a letter to the current Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, so that the necessary procedures can be started as soon as possible. In the same vein, Colau criticised Spain’s inactivity on this matter, pointing out that the Spanish government “took the compromise to relocate 16,000 people and have only relocated 18”, she stated.

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16 March 2016 06:33 PM

by

ACN

Barcelona (CNA).- Barcelona is ready to host 100 refugees, as the first stage of a collaboration programme with Athens. The agreement, which may be enhanced in the near future, will facilitate that some of the refugees living in camps in Athens  are relocated to the Catalan capital. Barcelona’s mayor, Ada Colau, will send a letter to the current Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, so that the necessary procedures can be started as soon as possible, since the competences regarding the refugees’ hosting depend on the Spanish State. Colau also criticised Spain’s inactivity on this matter, pointing out that the Spanish government “took the compromise to relocate 16,000 people and have only relocated 18”. In the same vein, Catalan Minister for Social Affairs Dolors Bassa assured that Catalonia is ready to host nearly 600 refugees immediately and warned that the Spanish system regarding the refugees’ hosting is “opaque” and “very harsh”.


“Both cities have already agreed on putting in place as many facilities as possible” to help relocate the refugees from Athens, stated Colau. “We want the State, which has the competences and the European funds, to make the most of us”, she added. Barcelona’s mayor criticised the Spanish government’s passivity regarding the refugees’ hosting and noted that “hundreds of people” have arrived in Germany whereas “only 18” have done so in Spain. 

Athens’ mayor, Giorgios Kaminis, celebrated the bilateral agreement with Barcelona and called for the rest of Europe’s “solidarity” to tackle the “humanitarian crisis” which thousands of refugees are facing when trying to escape from war and misery. Kaminis stressed that there are more than 50,000 refugees in Greece alone and that 900,000 have crossed the country during the last year, trying to reach Central Europe. “There is no space for populism nor demagogy regarding this issue”, he warned.

Besides this Wednesday’s agreement, Colau has also established collaboration with the Greek island of Lesbos and the Italian island Lampedusa, two of the islands which receive the highest number of refugees by sea. 

Catalonia, to host nearly 600 immediately

The Catalan Minister for Employment, Social Affair and Families, Dolors Bassa, assured that Catalonia is ready to host nearly 600 refugees immediately. Moreover, the Catalan government is now working on adding some hostels from the public network to offer lodging to 1,800 more in order to tackle this social emergency. However, the Spanish government hasn’t announced any arrivals yet.

In this vein, Bassa criticised the Spanish system regarding the refugees’ hosting and accused it of being “opaque” and “very harsh”. “The Spanish state hasn’t communicated, not for a moment, to any village or institution, any sort of data on the refugees”, she stated, “neither their names, when they will arrive, their age profiles nor the sanitary requirements”. Bass also accused the Spanish government of “institutional disloyalty” towards the Catalan government and the Autonomous Communities and criticised its “lacking” response when it has been asked for greater involvement.

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  • Barcelona's Mayor, Ada Colau and Athen's Mayor, Giorgos Kaminis (by ACN)

  • Barcelona's Mayor, Ada Colau and Athen's Mayor, Giorgos Kaminis (by ACN)