Cities welcome refugees: Munich

forums
date
15-09-2015

In this series of short articles we give examples of how EUROCITIES member cities across Europe are responding to the refugee crisis.

“I don’t think about numbers, only refugees’ safety.” Dieter Reiter, mayor of Munich

Asylum seekers and migrants transiting through Vienna often have Germany in mind as their chosen destination. For many of them, Munich in southern Bavaria is their first port of call.

Munich has welcomed some 39,000 asylum seekers and migrants since the beginning of September, with more arriving everyday. The city had been preparing for this influx of refugees for months: having noticed an increasing number of asylum claims over recent months, Munich was well aware that the worsening asylum crisis would soon hit Germany.

The city administration has been taking measures to ensure that the arrival of refugees is dealt with in a smooth, humane and dignified manner. Munich installed a temporary reception and medical centres, commissioned special bus and train services, and opened a makeshift processing centre near the train station. At the processing centre, police distribute water, and officials and volunteers are registering asylum seekers and offering information and support.

Munich’s main football club, FC Bayern Munich, has pledged €1 million in support of the city’s efforts and other charitable projects.

Beyond the current crisis management, Munich has a long term strategy for integration and diversity. The city has long prided itself as being open to diversity and newcomers. The city council is implementing a ‘welcome culture’ aimed at all immigrants, not only newcomers but also for people with migration backgrounds living in Munich. The city reaffirmed its ‘welcome culture’ position on 9 September, in light of recent events.

According to Munich’s ‘integration barometer’, which measures public perception towards migration and multiculturalism, just under 90% of residents with or without a migrant background feel ‘comfortable’ to ‘very comfortable’ with Munich’s multicultural society.

Munich plans to grow by more than 300,000 inhabitatnts over the next 15 years through a mix of internal and external immigration. The city is working closely with civil society organisations and local businesses in need of a skilled workforce and young apprentices.

 

On 21 September EUROCITIES, in partnership with The Centre, Edelman Brussels' forum for debate, will host the second in the series of urban dialogues debates, on ‘migration and asylum in Europe's cities’. For more information on the debate please visit http://bit.ly/1HrQHzt

Follow the debate on Twitter via #citieswelcomerefugees