Migration is increasingly becoming a challenge to European integration. The so-called “crisis” is primarily a crisis of deficient migration management. It creates political conflicts on the transnational, national, and local levels. Tailoring integration strategies to local contexts while maintaining a coherent European approach is particularly challenging. Local communities are the first to deal systematically with incoming migrants. Migrants’ experiences at local levels determine their long-term integration. Local communities fulfil immense tasks during the integration process. However, they play a limited role in related policy debates and decision-making.

The “European Cities Network on Migration” aims at strengthening migration management along with liberal principles through a transnational network of local communities. As the main aim of the project, local community stakeholders cooperate to share experiences and practices regarding the integration of migrants, and they develop inclusive, sustainable common policies based on European principles.

As part of the project, experts from Turkey, Greece, Germany and Spain conducted a study to analyze the general situation and migration policies. It is clear that these four countries have been affected by the wave of irregular migration and asylum that began after May 2011. Therefore, the main topics centre on refugees, asylum-seekers, and irregular migrants’ numbers and demographics, status, education, and economic integration, as well as legal regulations and the role played by local administrations, social acceptance and social cohesion processes, cooperation with the EU, and the EU’s refugee policies. Below you can find the publication “From Emergency to Joint Future”.

Another product of the project was the documentary directed by the famous documentary producer Coşkun Aral. In this documentary, four immigrants from four countries (Turkey, Greece, Spain and Germany) are telling us their journeys starting from the first day when they left their homes,  the difficulties they have experienced, the opportunities they have seen, their transformations and their aspirations. The documentary was launched at the Museum Gazhane in Istanbul on 1 December with an accompany of a panel discussion and magnificent photography exhibition on migration consisting of award-winning photographs of Turkey’s leading photojournalists.  The documentary, the discussion and the exhibition remind us once again that despite injustice and disasters, life blooms every time. Below you can see the documentary “Life, flourishes again…Hope has the power to transcend all disasters”.

The project was organised by the European Liberal Forum with the support of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF) in Turkey.

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