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Sea Rescue organizations, Mayors and civil society movements launch a network calling for a fundamental change in European migration policy

Europe, 20 June 2020 – On the 20th of June, the World Refugee day, just a few days before Germany takes over the presidency of the EU Council, major sea rescue and civil society organisations involved in promoting healthcare and human rights for migrants are launching a network to take the lead for a  change in the European migration policy.

The network is launched through a joint campaign kicking off on the 20th of June under the title From the Sea to the City.

This campaign brings together mayors, city representatives, civil society initiatives, social movements, unions, organisations and institutions from all over Europe and it is thought to be the first step in the process of creating a European network of  cities and municipalities with the aim to advocate for an active role of cities and civil society organisations in EU decisions on migration policy. 

While the EU and Europe’s national governments double down on migration deterrence at any cost, more and more cities across Europe are becoming the agents of change for a solidarity Europe, taking responsibility for protecting human lives.

With this vision we want to send a strong signal to the European institutions that we want to pursue a welcoming and human-rights based migration and refugee policy. Welcoming refugees and migrants in our municipalities is a chance to democratize Europe further from below: it is the cities that bear the brunt of managing migration, thus it is the cities that should also have a say in the European migration policy.

The initiative has been launched as a joint effort by European Alternatives, EMERGENCY, Humboldt-Viadrina Governance Platform, INURA, Mediterranea Saving Humans, Open Arms, Seebruecke, Welcome to Europe, Watch the Med Alarm Phone.


From the Sea to the City kicks off on the 20th of June presenting the five key demands:

 Demand 1: Take a coordinated action to promote new initiatives and strengthen existing ones between cities, EU representatives and civil society organizations on European Migration policy

Demand 2: Ensure protection of migrants’ and refugees’ lives and needs in the COVID-19 crisis

Demand 3: Ensure an active role of cities and civil society organisations in the management of EU-funds

Demand 4: Create safe arrivals and legal corridors to Europe

Demand 5: Ensure the access to fundamental rights and dignity for migrants and refugees arriving to European cities, from the right to seek asylum, an access to the social and health care system, to adequate housing and decent working conditions


For more information check out the webpage and social media.




 Alessandra Sciurba, Mediterranea Saving Humans

“Lives, all lives, count. From the sea to the land, we must reverse the course and put the dignity of human beings, our dignity, back in the center. Civil society, from cities to the center of the Mediterranean, is indicating a possible, reasonable, fair and respectful path for the principles that Europe proclaims to be defending. Governments must stop using the issue of migration as a propaganda tool in order not to deal with the real problems of their populations, putting people against each other. We can only save ourselves together.”

Veronica Alfonsi, Open Arms

“It is urgent to have a structured system of search and rescue that involves government and humanitarian assets and which has as its priority respect for life and human rights and for all international Conventions.”

 Alina Lyapina, Seebrucke

“Time and again we’ve seen how the EU governments violated the human rights of migrants to bow down to racist and nationalist sentiments. It’s now time for the cities and civil society across Europe to join forces to become the agents of change. The only way to overhaul the EU’s failed migration system is by doing it together”

Rossella Miccio, Emergency

“A strong and functional network is crucial to ensure the access to fundamental rights and dignity for every individual. Even more in times like those we are facing.  EMERGENCY is committed to contribute to this relevant initiative and share its expertise to develop more humane and inclusive policies for migrants and refugees arriving in Europe.”

Davide Carnemolla, Welcome to Europe

“Grassroots associations and networks, local communities and welcoming cities are more and more – in times of broken lives, walls, discrimination and violations of migrants’ rights and dignity – voices and places of antiracism and solidarity. For this reason we, as Welcome to Europe network, think it’s extremely important to launch this campaign that aims to bring together all those who believe in another idea of Europe and who strongly want to make it possible.”