The City of Athens recently took a major step in enhancing its support for refugees and migrants, by ratifying the Strategic Action Plan for the integration of migrants and refugees, as well as the Preparedness and Response Mechanism for the management of potential refugee crises. Both plans were developed by the Athens Coordination Center for Migrants and Refugee issues (ACCMR), which brings together 92 member organizations. The ACCMR’s operation was designed and coordinated by the Athens Partnership, with a founding grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.
On Monday, November 5, the City of Athens invited representatives from 12 municipalities in Greece to Athens City Hall to set common targets for refugee integration into local communities, as well as share experiences and best practices.
The City of Athens with more than 14,000 people may currently be hosting the largest number of refugees in Greece, but more than 7,613 people in total live in municipalities in Central, Northern and Western Greece and Crete, as part of the 'ESTIA' accommodation program financed by the European Union's Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO).
A recent OECD study examined the challenges related to the integration of migrant populations in 72 cities, with a particular focus on 9 European cities, including Athens, Greece. The report highlights successful and innovative actions taken by cities that aim to address this major challenge. This is essential in order to succeed in the complex task of providing coherent and effective policies for migrant integration, since, according to the report, 80% of cities participating in the survey believe there are information gaps between local authorities and higher levels of government that hamper effective policy-making.