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Barcelona’s Mayor reports to the EC Spain’s “immoral” management of the refugee crisis

Barcelona’s Mayor, Ada Colau, travelled to Brussels this Tuesday to report Spain’s “immoral”management regarding the refugee crisis, which she described as “deeply shaming”. According to Colau, citizens in Barcelona “are asking to be a host city”and “die of shame and outrage when they see images of Lesbos and Idomeni”. “We are part of the solution, we have expertise and are willing to help”she stated, but regretted that sometimes local governments “are not taken into account”. Together with other European mayors, Colau met the EU's migration Commissioner, Dimitris Avramopoulos, and the EU Commissioner for Regional Policy, Corina Cretu, and asked them to “listen to the local governments”. Avramopoulos assured that he “took note”of Colau’s demands but emphasised that EU support to local authorities is always “through the Member States”.

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05 April 2016 06:22 PM

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ACN

Brussels (CNA).- Barcelona aims to be “a host city”for refugees escaping from war but Spain doesn’t take its offer into account. This is what Barcelona’s mayor, Ada Colau, reported this Tuesday to the European Commission. “We are part of the solution, we have expertise and are willing to help”she stated, but regretted that sometimes local governments “are not taken into account”. Colau also criticised Spain’s “immoral”management of the refugee crisis and assured that citizens in the Catalan capital “die of shame and outrage when they see images of Lesbos and Idomeni”. Together with other European mayors, Colau met the EU's migration Commissioner, Dimitris Avramopoulos, and the EU Commissioner for Regional Policy, Corina Cretu, and asked them to “listen to the local governments”. Avramopoulos assured that he “took note”of Colau’s demands but emphasised that EU support to local authorities is always “through the Member States”.


“It is incomprehensible that when offering help for the state to comply with its commitments the answer should always be no”lamented Colau, “and moreover, without giving any information nor reason”, she added. These statements were made after she met, together with other European mayors, with the EU's migration commissioner, Dimitris Avramopoulos, and the EU Commissioner for Regional Policy, Corina Cretu, in Brussels. “Citizens in Barcelona are asking to be a host city and they die of shame when they see images of Lesbos and Idomeni and urge us to do something”, she said. 

However, as she reported to Avramopoulos and Cretu, Spain “is blocking”Barcelona’s will to host asylum seekers and doesn’t explain “how the European funds for immigration and asylum are being managed, nor how the process of relocation is going”. A process which, she lamented “has been almost inexistent so far”. Thus, she criticised Spain’s “immoral”management of the refugee crisis and its “deeply shaming”role in this matter. “The Spanish State is not at the height; a few months ago it committed to relocate 17,000 people and only 19 have arrived”she lamented “this shames us”. 

“We are part of the solution, we have expertise and are willing to help” she said “but so far we haven’t been taken into account”. Colau also pointed out that the local authorities are not being listened to “neither in terms of investment, nor when designing the policies which, in the end, will have to be implemented in our territories”. 

In this vein, she assured that “the European Commission understands how important it is to take the local governments into account when thinking, planning and deciding public policies”; a trend which has to “go with proper funding”. She also asked the EU commissioners to boost the city-to-city programme, which promotes the direct exchange of refugees between cities. “The collaboration between cities is an asset with much potential to guarantee integration”, she stated.

Colau warned that “the idea of Europe as a territory of human rights, peace and democracy is at stake”and it is best to “turn this crisis into an opportunity”or for the EU “to be reborn”.

In response, Avramopoulos asked the Member States to “listen to the local governments”as “internal cooperation and coordinated efforts could give impressive results”. However, the EU commissioner stressed that the EC’s “interlocutors are the governments of the Member States”and assured that the body’s relationship with Spain “is excellent”. Although he assured that he “took note”of Colau’s demands, he emphasised that EU support to local authorities is always “through the Member States”.

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  • Barcelona's Mayor, Ada Colau, together with 5 other european Mayors, EU Commissioner for Migration, Dimitris Avramopoulos and EU Commissioner for Regional Policy, Corina Cretu (by EBS)

  • Barcelona's Mayor, Ada Colau, together with 5 other european Mayors, EU Commissioner for Migration, Dimitris Avramopoulos and EU Commissioner for Regional Policy, Corina Cretu (by EBS)
Colau in Brussels