From the Sea to the City (Europe)

Category: Migration

Community Members: HVGP

Type of grant: Rethink [ 5.000 € ]

Year: 2022

1. Who they are

From the Sea to the City (FSTC) is a European civil society consortium of several NGOs, grassroots initiatives and individual activists across Europe established in late 2019 with the aim to join forces and promote a fundamental shift of the EU migration policy that would put human rights and welcoming municipalities at its centre. FSTC current members are representatives of Emergency (Italy), Sea-Watch (Italy), Inter Alia (Greece), Europe Must Act (Europe-wide), Seebrücke (Germany), Berlin Governance Platform (Germany), Zagreb Sanctuary City (Croatia), Mediterranea (Italy), tesserae (Germany and Europe-wide) and Alarm Phone (Europe-wide). All these organisations and initiatives are active in the field of migration and anti-racism and believe that European local governments should play a key role in the EU migration system.

2. What they did

They organize a two-day convention in October 2022 in Barcelona, to allow the consortium a deep dive to discuss future strategies and goals, after two years of the Pandemic posed challenges in carrying out meetings and discussions, carrying out activities together and coordinating complex political contents in different political and cultural contexts. The city of Barcelona was chosen due to the previous collaboration with the municipal authority and the progressive policies applied in the field of migrant reception and integration.

The convention was dedicated to discussing and redefining the consortium goals and strategies and to start working on a first roadmap for a European campaign in 2023-24, in close collaboration with the International Alliance of Safe Harbours (IASH). IASH is a European municipal alliance founded at the “From the Sea to the City: A conference of Welcoming Cities” in Palermo in June 2021. In September 2022, FSTC organized a second digital meeting with over 30 cities across Europe to continue their engagement with IASH. The following partners took part in the meeting: Berlin Governance Platform, Europe Must Act, Inter Alia, Europe Must Act Europe/Italy, Alarm Phone, Seebrücke Switzerland, and Mediterranea.

The meeting aimed: a) to take stock of the cooperation with the International Alliance of Safe Harbours (IASH) and to do a deep-dive on the future strategy vis-a-vis the Alliance; b) to cement the strategy of FSTC in engaging with welcoming municipalities in Europe. The creation of a steering group for IASH was one of the important agreements they reached as a consortium. In the first half of 2023, the proposed structure will be operationalised and consolidated and in the second part, the partnership will reach out to other city networks.
Furthermore, the in-person meeting in Barcelona, was the perfect chance to meet Spanish organisations (such as Stop Mare Mortum (SMM), Coordiadora Obrim Fronteres (COF), Solidarity Wheels and Emergencia Frontera Sur), exchange and learn about the respective realities, but also to build capacities by having an exchange on political approaches and learnings on how to engage with local politics and build alternative policy proposals from below.

As a concrete outcome of this initiative, three organizations of the consortium are now articulating joint advocacy efforts with the Spanish organizations present in the meeting and are writing a common statement to the Spanish government prior to its presidency of the EU Council in the second half of 2023.

3. Why is this relevant?

The meeting was very important for the continuation and the upgrade of the initiative in line with the existing resources and aspirations. The group made strategic decisions and commitments on specific roles which will help the further development of their endeavours.