"From the Sea to the city"
Information on the hybrid online conference "From the Sea to the City" on 25 and 26 June in Palermo (Italy)
Safe ports in Europe
The alliance "Cities of Safe Harbours" unites municipalities, communities and districts throughout Germany that show solidarity with the Sea Bridge initiative and the civilian sea rescue in the Mediterranean. They are united by their willingness to take in refugees rescued from distress at sea and/or stranded in overcrowded reception centres.
The Alliance Cities see themselves as a humanitarian community of values with a high level of competence for the reception and integration of refugees and reiterate to the Federal Government their offer of support and additional reception.
Detailed information on the destinations can be found at potsdam.de.
The Cities of Safe Harbours Alliance currently consists of 107 members. Its members include cities, municipalities and districts. The state capital Potsdam coordinates the alliance. Among the first signatories of the Potsdam Declaration are the cities of Berlin, Detmold, Flensburg, Freiburg, Greifswald, Hildesheim, Kiel, Krefeld, Marburg, Potsdam, Rostock and Rottenburg am Neckar.
The Cities of Safe Harbours Alliance was established on June 14, 2019 within the framework of the initiative Pier "Safe Harbors. Cast off for municipal reception" was officially founded. The congress, held in the Rotes Rathaus, took place under the patronage of the Governing Mayor of Berlin, Michael Müller, and in cooperation with the state capital Potsdam.
Twelve municipalities participated in the founding, with a 13th joining the alliance during the convention. In the course of the
foundation, the Lord Mayor of Rottenburg am Neckar, Stephan Neher, read out the Potsdam Declaration signed by the founding members. During the event, the cities once again demanded that the Federal Government, and in particular the Federal Minister of the Interior, give a commitment as quickly as possible to municipalities and communities that are willing to accept refugees rescued from distress at sea.
The alliance networks receptive municipalities and communities and bundles their common interests in order to lend weight to their demands vis-à-vis the federal government.
Detailed information on the background of the alliance can be found at potsdam.de.
I. The path to membership
The common basis of the alliance is the Potsdam Declaration. The representatives of the Cities of Safe Harbours Alliance call on municipalities and communities nationwide to join the alliance. If you are a municipality or community and would like to join the alliance, please fill in the form below. Potsdam Declaration to informally sign and declare your accession to the Cities of Safe Ports Alliance. The alliance is open to new members who want to contribute to ending the humanitarian catastrophe in the Mediterranean. The Department of Participation and Tolerant Potsdam of the state capital Potsdam coordinates the alliance "Cities of Safe Harbours".
If you have any further questions regarding membership, please contact the coordination office and/or the respective country coordinator in the respective federal state."
If you have any questions, please contact the Alliance's coordination office:
We answer your frequently asked questions about membership.
III Activities of the Alliance
Numerous cities in the "Cities of Safe Harbours" alliance actively support civilian sea rescue in the Mediterranean. On the fringes of the conference, the state capital Potsdam has now also officially taken on a sponsorship of the sea rescue mission. For this purpose, Potsdam's Lord Mayor Mike Schubert and Leoluca Orlando, Mayor of the city of Palermo, visited the ship Sea Eye 4 of the Sea Eye association on Thursday evening, 24.06.2021. The assumption of the sponsorship with the Sea Eye association had been decided by the Potsdam city councillors on Wednesday, 23 June 2021, in a special meeting. The sponsorship includes the commitment to sea rescue and the implementation of appropriate joint events in cooperation with the alliance "Potsdam! Bekennt Farbe". The Sea-Eye 4 mission was recently completed and was able to save 408 people from drowning. Another mission is imminent, the city of Potsdam will support this mission.
"From the Sea to the City - A Conference of Cities for a Welcoming Europe" on 25 and 26 June 2021. In the spirit of networking between municipalities and civil society at the European level, a hybrid conference entitled "From the Sea to the City - will take place in Palermo, to which the state capital Potsdam invites together with the city of Palermo and the initiative "From the Sea to the City". Municipalities from all over Europe are called upon to "participate in the hybrid conference 'From the Sea to the City' and to position themselves together with the alliance 'Cities of Safe Ports' for humanity and human dignity", says Mayor Mike Schubert.
PES Group President Christophe Rouillon issued a statement calling for cities and regions in Europe to join the Cities of Safe Havens alliance, an important initiative launched two years ago by German cities and municipalities. It aims to pave the way for more humane migration and integration policies on the ground. We can no longer accept migrants and refugees being housed in camps under inhumane conditions. Instead, our cities should be places of refuge for people seeking help, protection and hope.
The second working meeting of the Alliance took place purely digitally at the invitation of the city of Marburg. Topics included the exchange of expertise with the Federal Ministry of the Interior, developments at the European level and the creation of the state coordination as a structural element of the Alliance.
Mayors speak out on sea rescue. On 2 October, the eve of the 30th anniversary of German Unity, more than 20 cities, the Chairman of the Council of the EKD Heinrich Bedford-Strohm together with Seebrücke reiterated in a public statement the criticism of the situation at the time, especially in Greece, and the related German and EU policies in the context of taking in refugees. These contributions were shown at the location of the presentation of the state capital Potsdam in the context of the "Expo 30 Years of German Unity".
(Photo: State capital Potsdam, Stephan Altmann)
After the fire in the overcrowded camp for refugees " Moria" on the Greek island of Lesbos, Mayor Mike Schubert and numerous other cities of Safe Harbors called on the federal government to act immediately. Photo: Mike Schubert at the Moria camp on Lesbos in Greece in March 2020.
(Photo: State capital Potsdam, Stephan Altmann)
One year of the "Cities of Safe Ports" alliance. In the meantime, 57 municipalities and counties belong to the alliance. The alliance networks municipalities and districts that are willing to take in refugees and bundles their common interests. The aim of the alliance is above all to work together for the additional reception of refugees, to be in constant exchange of experiences and to speak with one voice to the Federal Minister of the Interior.
(Photo: State capital Potsdam, Santiago Engelhardt)
During a three-day trip with the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), the aid network Seebrücke and the mayor of Rottenburg am Neckar, Potsdam's mayor Mike Schubert criticized the intolerable conditions in the refugee camp "Moria" on Lesbos. In his video statement from the camp on Lesbos, he called on the federal government to take immediate action, or a Bundesrat initiative to save people, especially unaccompanied minors in Greek camps.
(Photo: State capital Potsdam, Jörn Neumann)
On 5.12.2019, the state capital Potsdam accepted the "Innovation In Politics Award 2019" in the category Human Rights for the project "Cities Safe Ports". In a gala at the Tipi am Kanzleramt in Berlin, the Innovation in Politics Institute presented the awards to honor and support "groundbreaking political projects in Europe" and the politicians who represent them. The Cities of Safe Harbours project was voted into the final by a jury of 1000 European citizens after being nominated by the Sea Bridge initiative in summer 2019. The award recognised the commitment of all Safe Harbours and the Cities of Safe Harbours Alliance. The basis was laid by the Seebrücke initiative with its idea for the Safe Harbours Cities.
(Photo: State capital Potsdam, Stefan Schulz)
At their first working meeting in Rottenburg am Neckar, the alliance members "Cities of Safe Harbours" agreed that the state capital Potsdam with its department "Participation and Tolerant Potsdam" will coordinate the Germany-wide alliance in the future. At the first working meeting of the alliance, a 4-point paper was jointly developed. The alliance cities reaffirm their offer of additional admission from humanitarian emergencies in the Mediterranean region and call on the federal government to ensure transparency in the distribution process.
(Photo: Volkmar Schnaidt, Municipality of Rottenburg am Neckar)
Founding of the alliance: On 14.06.2019, as part of the congress organised by the Seebrücke initiative, "Safe Ports. Leinen los für kommunale Aufnahme" ("Cast off for municipal reception") congress organised by the Seebrücke initiative in Berlin's Rotes Rathaus, the "Cities of Safe Ports" alliance was officially founded by 13 municipalities and cities.
(Photo: State capital Potsdam, Santiago Engelhardt)
Around 60 cities and municipalities from all over Germany, which have officially declared themselves "Safe Havens" since summer 2018, are calling for a humane approach to refugees. Some cities of the "Safe Havens" are going public with the "Potsdam Declaration" in the run-up to the 40th General Assembly of the German Association of Cities, which is held under the heading "Sticking together in our cities".
Safe ports in Europe
I. International Safe Harbours Alliance
On 25 June 2021, a broad alliance of European cities published the basic declaration of the "International Safe Ports Alliance" at the conference "From the Sea to the City" in Palermo (Italy).
The signatories to this statement to date are:
Palermo, Potsdam, Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona, Marseille, Villeurbanne, Trier, Kiel, Munich, Heidelberg, Gütersloh, Bergamo, Lampedusa, Pozzallo, Reggio Calabria, Rottenburg, Flensburg, Göttingen, Braunschweig, Greifswald, Mannheim, Leipzig, Northeim, Dormagen, Münster, Jülich, Marburg, Dortmund, Darmstadt, Würzburg, Tirana, Dinslaken (as of 29.07.2021).
As a result of the first Mayors' Conference "From the Sea to the City" (in Palermo, 25/6/2021), the following addition to the Declaration emerged:
The mayors present in Palermo, in adopting the basic document, stress the need for migration to take place through legal channels. The mayors also stress the need for the European Union to concern itself first and foremost with the right to life of the castaways in the Mediterranean. They therefore consider it necessary to discuss these issues in more detail at future meetings. The following cities, present in person in Palermo on 25/6/2021, unanimously agreed on this addition to be addressed at the future first working meeting of the Alliance: Palermo, Potsdam, Bergamo, Marseille, Villeurbanne, Athens, Munich, Lampedusa, Pozzallo, Reggio Calabria, Flensburg.
The state capital Potsdam will coordinate the first working meeting of the alliance.
The basic declaration of the newly founded alliance can be found here in different languages:
Welcoming municipalities are growing in number across Europe and represent a strong political voice capable of reshaping Europe from the bottom up. This conference "From the sea to the city" is intended as a first step towards the creation of a European network of cities and municipalities. The aim is to work together for an active role of cities in European migration policy. A transnational network would increase the visibility of welcome municipalities and their interests at EU level, encourage other cities to act and build stronger alliances with civil society actors. The conference "From the sea to the city" is organised by the cities of Palermo and the network "From the Sea to the City", which is an initiative of European Alternatives, Europe Must Act, EMERGENCY, Humboldt-Viadrina Governance Platform, INURA&Tesserae, Mediterranea Saving Humans, Open Arms, Sea Watch, Seebrücke, Watch the Med Alarm Phone and Welcome to Europe/Italy in cooperation with the state capital Potsdam.
The idea ties in with the November 2020 joint declaration by Potsdam Mayor Mike Schubert and Palermo Mayor Leoluca Orlando (German | Italian), in which they campaign for a more humane migration and asylum policy and for the reception of people rescued from distress at sea in the Mediterranean.
(Lord Mayor of Potsdam)
(Mayor of Palermo)
III. Materials for the conference "From the sea to the city" on 25/26.06.21
I. Contact details
Coordination office of the alliance
state capital Potsdam
Department of Participation and Tolerant Potsdam
Mrs. Maria Pohle (Manager)
Mrs Linda Fournet (contact person)
Friedrich-Ebert-Str. 79-81, 14469 Potsdam
Phone: 0331 289 3426
Business Hours: Tuesday- Thursday 09-15 h
II. contact form