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Cities rising: European municipalities and the refugee surge.

I. Introduction

The Oresund region is a transnational metropolitan area that embraces Skane in southern Sweden and the Zealand region of Denmark. (1) The two countries of the Oresund are linked across the narrow Oresund strait by an iconic bridge connecting Copenhagen, the Danish capital city, with Malmo, Sweden's third largest city. (2)

This international region has often been identified with the successes of the European Union. (3) In the sixteen years since it was built, the Oresund Bridge has transformed the area, creating an unprecedented ease of travel between Sweden and Denmark. (4) Cities in the region have worked across national borders, spending large sums of money to brand it as a single metropolitan unit. (5) Many of the area's workers live in Malmo and commute across the bridge to Copenhagen, or vice versa. (6) Even tourism information links the two cities; for example, the Copenhagen tourist website suggests, "Why not take a day trip to Sweden while visiting Copenhagen?" (7) The Oresund Bridge and the development of the Oresund region more generally, has been an economic boost for the two cities--Malmo and Copenhagen --that are so closely linked by the bridge. (8)

The refugee surge from Syria has affected the Oresund region along with the rest of Europe. (9) Consistent with Raoul Wallenberg's well-known humanitarian legacy, Sweden has reportedly accepted the highest number of refugees per capita of any European country. (10) Its Oresund partner, Denmark, in contrast, has been criticized for enacting a law permitting seizure of asylum seekers' assets above USD 1,450, and slashing social benefits available to these new arrivals. (11) In January 2016, as thousands of refugees sought to quickly transit through Denmark and make their way to the more welcoming country of Sweden by coming over the Oresund Bridge, Sweden imposed border controls. (12) Though the controls affect all Swedish borders, the impact at the Oresund Bridge is the most dramatic and disruptive. What was once an uneventful train ride between the two closely aligned countries is now the crossing of a guarded international border. All trains from Denmark to Sweden are stopped for searches from border control guards, with the attendant delays, tensions and costs. These checks are costly both in terms of personnel to conduct them and lost revenue as travelers cancel discretionary travel. (13)

Not surprisingly, many city leaders, businesses and residents of Malmo, Copenhagen, and other cities of the Oresund region, have strong feelings about this turn of events. (14) The millions of Danish and Swedish kronor spent branding Oresund as a single region, have now been jeopardized by passport requirements and transportation delays. Lives have been disrupted. With the cancellation of train routes in order to streamline the controls, some commutes have gone from one-half hour to one hour or more. (15) Because of Swedish and Danish cooperation that preceded the Schengen agreement, it is the first time in almost sixty years that there have been border controls between Sweden and Denmark. (16) European Union law requires that such controls be re-imposed only on a temporary basis, but controls have already been extended multiple times and no one really knows when it will end, if ever. (17)

The media coverage of the European refugee surge has focused primarily on jockeying among national governments and the European Union as they debate overarching migration and border policies for the region. However, the influx of refugees has also had dramatic impacts on local governments throughout Europe. (18) The Oresund region is just one example. Housing, water and sanitation, literacy and education, cultural diversity, and issues of inclusion, are all addressed on the local--not national --level, and are just a few of the issues raised by newly arrived refugees.

This essay focuses on these local impacts, examining what they indicate about the inadequacies of the current structural relationships between Europe's local, national, and regional governments in the context of mass migration. I analyze these impacts utilizing data compiled by the Eurocities network and through a case study of the Oresund region. First, I provide a brief overview of the role of cities in the legal framework for refugee admission and settlement, which places the exclusive decision-making authority and policy responsibility at the national and regional level. Second, I examine two decision-making arenas in which cities have asserted the need for a greater voice: (a) the allocation of funds and support for refugee resettlement and inclusion, and (b) the establishment of border controls that affect local economies, using the Oresund region as a case study. Finally, I offer some observations about emerging relationships between local and national governments in Europe. In particular, I note the ways in which the refugee surge interacts with several simultaneous initiatives that are establishing stronger roles for local governments on the European and international stages, including the decentralization of functions that were once the exclusive province of nation states.


In Europe, the movement of refugees across borders and the treatment of refugees in EU member nations is governed by both international and regional law. All members of the European Union have signed and ratified both the Geneva Convention on the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Refugee Protocol. (19) The European Union provides additional legal standards relating to treatment of migrants. (20) None of these sources of law identify an active role for cities in formulating and executing migration policy. Indeed, such a role is difficult to square with a longstanding tradition linking issues of migration with national sovereignty.

The Geneva Convention on the Status of Refugees, completed in 1951, defines refugee status and sets out the international law relating to refugees.21 The Convention's operative definition states that a refugee is someone who
   owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race,
   religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or
   political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is
   unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the
   protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and
   being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a
   result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is
   unwilling to return to it. (22)

Like other international treaties, the Geneva Convention is directed only at Contracting States. (23) Contracting states undertake a series of obligations related to civil and political rights (i.e., Freedom of Religion) and basic social services and supports. (24) For example, Contracting States undertake to "accord to refugees the same treatment as is accorded to nationals with respect to elementary education." (25) Similarly, Contracting States agree that
   in so far as the matter is regulated by laws or regulations or is
   subject to the control of public authorities, [they] shall accord
   to refugees lawfully staying in their territory treatment as
   favourable as possible and, in any event, not less favourable than
   that accorded to aliens generally in the same circumstances. (26)

The Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, completed in 1967, further facilitates implementation of the provisions of the Convention. (27) It obligates States Parties to cooperate with the UN High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR) in collecting data on refugee administration. (28) Further, the Protocol mandates that States Parties report to the UNHCR on their compliance with the Geneva Convention. (29)

Both the Convention and the Protocol note that some of the constituent governmental units of the State party may exercise the internal domestic leadership over issues addressed in these international documents, such as housing or education of refugees. (30) But neither the Convention nor the Protocol addresses subnational units directly. Instead, these documents both recognize that States may need to ensure compliance with the Treaty across the jurisdictions of subnational entities, and they place the obligation on the States Parties to achieve some consistency in domestic implementation. (31)

In addition to international law, many European states have acceded to regional instruments relevant to refugee movement, most notably the Schengen Agreement. The Schengen Agreement binds twenty-six countries in Europe, twenty-two of which are members of the European Union. (32) Under the agreement, signed in 1985 in the town of Schengen, Luxembourg, border checks are removed within Europe. Once someone has entered the Schengen zone, that person--regardless of nationality --can move freely between member states without showing a passport or visa. (33) Through the Treaty of Amsterdam, the Schengen area is embedded in the legal and institutional framework of the EU. (34)

Pressure arising from the influx of refugees into Europe has compromised the Schengen Agreement. In 2015, Germany imposed controls on its border with Austria after a record number of migrants travelled to southern Germany from Hungary, via Austria. (35) The influx of migrants likewise pushed Austria to control traffic at its Hungarian border. (36) Denmark, Italy, and Hungary have also imposed border controls in selected areas, and throughout Europe, border checks are now common. (37) The Schengen Agreement is an important component of the Oresund region's success, but as described above, it was also suspended at the Danish-Swedish border in response to refugee pressures. (38) Under the terms of the Schengen Agreement, border controls may only be reintroduced on a temporary basis in response to a national security emergency, but as countries continue to renew the border checks, it becomes more and more likely that they will become the new status quo, significantly altering the free movement processes within Europe. As with other international treaties, the Schengen agreement provides no formal process for input of city governments; any dialogue between a national government and its cities is presumed to take place in national domestic forums.

The European Union has also developed common rules governing asylum seekers and refugees. The European Union's Common European Asylum System (CEAS) is intended to ensure that the rights of refugees under international law are protected in EU member states. (39) The system sets out minimum standards and procedures for processing and assessing asylum applications, and for the treatment of both asylum seekers and those who are granted refugee status. (40) The new EU Directive on the reception of refugees is particularly pertinent to cities, which are on the front lines of delivering services to refugee arrivals. (41) However, the Directive addresses the baseline obligations of Member states rather than the challenges of city-level implementation.

Given their role in implementation of refugee and asylum laws that require housing and other supports, distribution of funding is of particular concern to the European Union's urban centers. For the period from 2014 to 2020, the EU allocated a total of EUR3.137 billion to an Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund. (42) The great majority of the funds, 88%, will be distributed through the European Union's "shared management" process and directed to National Programmes. (43) A much smaller percentage will be allocated through direct management. (44) According to the Fund website, it is this smaller, direct management portion that is most likely to reach cities providing first line reception and accommodation for refugees. (45)

In sum, the existing international and regional laws in Europe that govern the movement, reception, and integration of refugees do not in any way address the practical role of local governments in addressing these issues on the ground. Nor are cities given a formal role in developing these laws and policies. As discussed below, cities themselves have been critical of this omission and are increasingly speaking out about the absence of local input into the refugee regime while at the same time developing alternative structures to support refugee resettlement and integration. (46)


A. Refugee Reception and Integration

On April 6, 2016, EUROCITIES released a report of its findings on refugee reception and integration in cities. (47) Founded in 1986 by the mayors of Barcelona, Birmingham, Frankfurt, Lyon, Milan, and Rotterdam, EUROCITIES is a large and active network of major European cities with over 130 municipal members from thirty-five countries (48) The April 2016 report was based on data collected in late 2015 through questionnaires completed by thirty-four cities in seventeen EU member states and Norway. The collected data identifies the key roles that cities play in implementing the practical aspects of refugee policy as the "first points of arrival, transit hubs and ultimate destinations" for many refugees (49)

The April 2016 report was not the first time that EUROCITIES had addressed the issue of the municipal role in asylum and refugee issues. Almost a year earlier, in May 2015, EUROCITIES issued a number of recommendations designed to increase city involvement in asylum processes, including the following pleas: "City authorities should be directly consulted by the European Commission and the UNHCR as frontline operators and places where resettled refugees will need to integrate. City authorities should also be involved in decision making regarding resettlement quotas, financial assistance, integration models and resources." (50) Member cities' responses to the more recent EUROCITIES questionnaire echoed these recommendations, and expressed increasing frustration that cities continue to be left out of the migration policymaking equation.

For example, Barcelona, Bilbao and Nantes reported that they were either informed late or not at all about how many asylum seekers they should expect and how reception funding would be provided. (51) Many cities reported that in the absence of domestic laws providing cities with the legal competence to provide for asylum seekers and refugees, they have nevertheless acted in the stead of a national authority to provide reception. (52) Some cities have not been reimbursed for their expenses in hosting refugees, as national governments allocated the European Union's emergency resources elsewhere. (53) Athens, for instance, had to seek grant funds from the UNHCR to support its operations, while Finland's funds were funneled to Northern Finland instead of Helsinki, requiring the city to finance refugee reception from its own budget. (54)

The EUROCITIES report concludes that cities should be "included alongside national governments and NGOs in the list of bodies that are eligible for emergency financial assistance in responding to migratory pressures." (55) Further, EUROCITIES asserts that cities should be directly involved in the implementation of relevant EU directives. (56) This is not a new issue. Rather, the EUROCITIES report and conclusions correspond with other critiques of the European Union's failure to adequately engage with local governments in areas affecting urban affairs. A 2014 communication from the EU Commission acknowledged these concerns and called for the development of a more concrete European urban agenda. (57) According to the communication, "growing number of voices argue that cities need to be adequately involved in the conception and implementation of EU policies, and that EU policies need to be better adapted to the urban realities where they will be implemented." (58) The Communication identified "inclusion" as one of the key areas where greater city involvement was needed. (59)

The EU Urban Agenda--"a joint effort of European Commission, Member States and European Cities Networks to strengthen the recognition of the urban dimension by European and national policy actors" (60)--was a direct outgrowth of the EU Commission's 2014 Consultation on urban issues. The emerging Urban Agenda broadly focuses on sustainability, including social sustainability. (61) One aspect of that broad Urban Agenda is a Partnership on Inclusion of Migrants and Refugees. (62) Unfortunately, the work on that issue appears to be slow-tracked and has yet to move beyond the general discussion stage, while coordinated efforts to address climate change through urban policy are proceeding much more quickly. In March 2016, the Union of the Baltic Cities echoed EUROCITIES concerns, stating that "national governments and the European Commission should provide appropriate financial instruments strengthening regional cooperation and city partnerships to create the infrastructure for good migration governance in the UBC cities." (63)

In sum, the issue of lack of city input in setting EU refugee and migration policy has been clearly identified at the highest levels of the EU, but leadership is needed to move the agenda forward. Meanwhile, as described below, city-to-city partnerships and "implementoring" programs are enhancing the city capacity in the absence of the larger structural changes that EUROCITIES and others have called for. (64)

B. Cities and Border Controls: The Case of the Oresund Region

The increase in border controls triggered by the refugee influx imposes costs on nations throughout Europe. French government researchers have estimated that a year of controls will cost France between EUR1 and EUR2 billion in lost tourism and other cross-border disruptions. (65) The German Chamber of Commerce estimates that costs to Germany could run as high as EUR10 billion a year once indirect costs are added in. (66) But perhaps nowhere in Europe have the impacts of border controls been as immediate as the Oresund region.

The Oresund Region--called "one big city" by the Economist --currently has approximately 3.8 million inhabitants living in an area of almost 21,000 square kilometres. (67) It is the most densely populated region in all of Scandinavia. (68) Geographically, the Oresund includes both rural and urban areas, including Copenhagen, Malmo and Lund. (69) Access to the region is provided through the major international airport in Copenhagen as well as Kastrup International Airport in Malmo, and major ports in Copenhagen, Malmo, Ystad, and Helsingborg. (70)

Denmark and Sweden collaborated in planning the bridge and branding the Oresund Region throughout the 1990s. (71) The results have been positive, if not as dramatic as some anticipated. Economic growth of the region, both for Sweden and Denmark, has been solid. (72) The European Union selected the Oresund collaboration as a best practice for "Euroregional cooperation." (73) "The Bridge" has even captured international imagination through an eponymous television series financed cooperatively by Swedish and Denmark production companies and involving story lines that criss-cross the Swedish and Danish border, requiring the cooperation of law enforcement authorities on both sides of the strait. (74)

Border controls between Denmark and Sweden are antithetical to this long-term project of transnational integration. (75) Not surprisingly, then, the imposition of border controls in the region was a considered act by the Swedish government, not just a knee-jerk reaction to the refugee influx. As data provided by the Swedish Migration Agency indicates, the numbers of refugees entering Sweden annually increased gradually during 2013 and 2014, but then climbed steeply at the end of 2015 to a total of 160,000 in a single year. (76) As recently as October 2015, the Swedish government officials took the position that it could absorb this increase. (77) In December 2015, however, the numbers and the political context--which included Denmark's anti-refugee initiatives, and Swedish municipalities' inability to provide sufficient housing--overwhelmed the Swedish nation's goodwill. (78)

Yet however gradual and deliberate these political decisions were, they emanated from Stockholm, over six-hundred kilometers north of the Oresund Region and far from the most immediate economic impacts and personal burdens created by the border controls. While some refugees disembark in Stockholm via boat and plane, no other region in Sweden has such a deep and constant transnational commitment as the Oresund.

Media reports hint at the extent of the economic losses to the Oresund Region. According to the New York Times, border check delays "are costing the Danish Rail Company, or DSB, _1.2 million a month in lost business as trains are canceled and commuters opt to drive...." (79) Similarly, say reporters, weekend shoppers crossing the borders "have been scared away...." (80) Sales of railway passes are down. (81) The Skane Chamber of Commerce calculates that Oresund bridge controls cost at least EUR325,000 a day. (82)

As with so many government policies that might sound feasible on paper, the devil is in the details. Border controls may address one problem, but they create many others. For an individual traveling from Sweden to Denmark over the bridge, the disruptions are minimal, though trains are occasionally rerouted en route with disruptive results. For example, trains from Malmo to the Copenhagen airport sometimes bypass the airport when security lines are backed up, with predictably distressing results for air transport passengers who must scramble to get back to the airport stop. (83)

For an individual traveling from Denmark to Sweden, the burden is greater. The Danish train company, DSB, must review the documentation of every person crossing the bridge in order to avoid significant fines for transporting an unauthorized entrant. It does so by setting up stations at Copenhagen airport (the last stop before Sweden) where all passengers must now change trains and go through designated check points run by an external company, Securitas. When the train reaches the first stop in Sweden, at Hyllie (a neighborhood in Malmo), the train stops once again. Swedish border patrol guards enter, some times with dogs, and walk through the trains checking identification. Anyone who tries to get off of the train is checked on the platform before they are permitted to leave. Those without proper identification are questioned briefly and removed from the train, and woe to the unfortunate individual whose identifying documents have been lost or stolen while in Denmark, as one poor Malmo resident found. (84) For those travelers continuing on to the greater Skane area, including Lund, the delays continue, since the post-control train schedule includes prolonged idling time at the Malmo central station in order to line up the system-wide schedule in case of earlier security-related delays.

As a practical matter, then, people who commute across the oresund must take an earlier train to get to work on time and must return home later, with implications for day-care and after-school activities. Commuters from Sweden have set up a Facebook group called Oresundsrevolutionen to protest this policy, charging that it reflects deep divisions between Stockholm and southern Sweden. (85) An umbrella organization for Nordic political youth organizations, the Nordiska Centerungdomens Forbund, has also called for the end of border controls in Skane. (86)

Facing this economic and political fall-out, Nordic countries are attempting to develop alternative approaches to secure their borders. However, national Nordic representatives assert that their options are limited until the EU develops a workable border policy. (87) Meanwhile, the Danish and Swedish Justice Ministers proposed a modification of the existing border checks that would at least ameliorate the situation: they would position a single cooperative transnational border control in Copenhagen rather than, as is currently the case, check identification on both sides of the Oresund Bridge. (88) As one Swedish MP stated, "[i]t's a concrete proposal. But it should have been discussed earlier, not four months after the checks were introduced...." (89)


Cities are on the front lines, and intimately involved in many aspects of dealing with the European refugee crisis, yet voices of local governments are seldom heard or sought out at the national, regional, or international levels. A formal legal framework that would solicit such local government input in a meaningful way is lacking. The EUROCITIES data demonstrates the severe policy impacts when cities are left out of the process of developing policies for refugee reception and inclusion, as cities scramble to do the job without adequate information and without sufficient funds. The Oresund case study illustrates the dramatic and disruptive impact on cities when national governments proceed to develop--and perpetuate--refugee-related border policies with inadequate local input.

Frustrated with the European-level gridlock in addressing these issues, many cities are looking for alternative ways to move forward. As one commentator noted, "[t]hese days we are witnessing a new movement of cities in Europe that actively seek to host refugees: they often do so by opposing the state and European Union." (90) Barcelona, for example, is leading a group of Cities of Refuge that pledge an openness to refugees and have established information exchanges between cities to facilitate such open-arms policies. (91) Similarly, a growing international network of Human Rights Cities, a list which includes Barcelona, Vienna, Graz and others, have committed to addressing refugee issues through a human rights lens. (92) One city at the forefront is Utrecht, the fourth largest city in the Netherlands. A case study of Utrecht's work with refugees highlights the unique capacity of local governments to address these issues. Among the "Lessons Learned" by Utrecht's "Welcome to Utrecht" program are several, set out below, that would be virtually impossible to implement on a national level. These highlight the added democratic value of local initiatives that can be flexible and responsive to emerging needs and other developments:

1. Do not institutionalize too much how volunteers contribute to the reception of refugees but leave room for spontaneity and enthusiasm.

2. Local government also has an important role in supporting voluntary initiatives by using its authority: Generating publicity in the media; and facilitating access to official bodies and other organizations. In all these ways, it can provide authority to back up citizen initiatives, without compromising the independence of those citizens.

3. An important lesson for Welcome to Utrecht was its focus. It succeeded by being careful not to take up polemical positions, it remained politically neutral and it knew what its core purpose was and what it should remain. (93)

Beyond these refugee-focused local government responses, Europe's collective failure to heed the needs of cities during the refugee surge has added fuel to efforts to establish parallel governance structures led by local governments. For example, the Global Parliament of Mayors, proposed by Professor Benjamin Barber in his book, If Mayors Ruled the World, will convene for the first time in late 2016. It is an effort to establish a world governance body for cities, beyond just another coalition or common interest group. The initiative includes refugees in its succinct list of five key agenda items for cities: "Climate Change. Terrorism. Refugees. Inequality. Pandemic disease." (94)

The European refugee surge in 2015 and the challenges to the Schengen Agreement have also put longstanding European debates concerning decentralization into a new context that shifts the balance of power toward cities. Local self-government is a bedrock principle among European nations, enshrined in the 1985 European Charter of Local Self-Government. (95) For years before the most recent crisis, decentralization was an important theme, and an ongoing process, in European governance. (96) As Marcou and Wollman observed in 2008, u[t]he role of local government has increased considerably, from the economic point of view, in the performance of major collective functions, as well as their autonomy in it." (97) Not surprisingly, then, as states step back from their responsibilities in the refugee arena, cities appear to be stepping up.

In short, by putting pressure on the political and social capacities of the nation states of Europe and on the European Union itself, the refugee surge has exposed the limitations of these governance structures at the very moment that cities are asserting themselves as alternative, more responsive, more humane and more democratic sites of policymaking. Now taking place in the context of the emergent refugee situation and the challenges to Schengen and to the EU itself, cities' desire and residents' needs for a greater city role in governance is no longer theoretical, but a critical part of any discussion of the EU's future.

V. Conclusion

When it was founded in 1995, the International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN) cited Jacque Derrida's prescient call for a city-focused approach to hospitality and refuge, and perhaps more. (98) Derrida wrote, "Could the city, equipped with new rights and a greater sovereignty, open up new horizons of possibility previous undreamt of by international law?" (99)

ICORN focused its resources on writers and artists in need of refuge, but Derrida's ideas are much broader, and have more recently been adapted in Benjamin Barber's work. Barber says simply, "The road to global democracy doesn't run through states, it runs through cities." (100) Mayors can get things done. They have flexibility, they can be innovative, and they are closer to the people. In a world where information flows as quickly to and through cities as to nations, Barber says, it is time to cede political power to cities as well.

The ideas that might emerge from this re-thinking of cities and nations in the context of refugees require a profound shift in orientation. For example, in the case of the Oresund, the national government, in an exercise of its sovereignty, decided to close the borders to more refugees. The cities of the Oresund, however, might have made a different calculation, and certainly would have found a different process for implementing it that did not, significantly and over a long period, disrupt the carefully nurtured integrated economy in the region. Perhaps, for example, Swedish border controls could have been placed north of Malmo--or even just on the border around Stockholm keeping the Oresund region open to free travel and economic growth. While it is hard to imagine a nation willing to modify its sovereignty to that degree, cities are much freer to develop solutions that will work.

Taking city leadership to the next level, one scholar, Professor Engen Isen, has argued that citizenship itself should be a matter for the city. As Professor Isen wrote in response to the refugee influx,
   Europeans must now establish a European network of cities that
   grant European citizenship to those who arrive at the continent's
   frontiers. Each city can decide on a period of growing into the
   social fabric of the city, learning and following local customs,
   norms, and sociability, and democratic deliberation with the
   network. (101)

Or perhaps the rise of the city calls for even more. Could this be an occasion for re-envisioning the human rights system developed around nation-states in the 1940s, a system that, with a few notable exceptions, continues to treat cities as an afterthought despite Eleanor Roosevelt's admonition about the importance of "small places, close to home"? (102) Or might Europe develop a blended system of multi-level governance that balances urban and rural interests horizontally as well as vertically, and across current national boundaries?

The refugee surge arises from a crisis for hundreds of thousands of individuals with human rights and humanitarian needs. The failure of national governments to adequately address these needs creates a new urgency and governance gap that cities may rise to fill in the coming months and years.

Martha F. Davis, Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Human Rights & Humanitarian Law (20152016), Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (RWI), at Lund University; Professor of Law, Northeastern University School of Law. Thanks are due to RWI and Northeastern University School of Law for their support of this project, and to Thomas Gammeltoft-Hansen, Morten Kjaerum, Mark Gibney and Maria Green for ideas that contributed to this work. Ellen Dexter provided important research assistance, and Jennifer True provided administrative support.


(2.) Claire Nauwelaers, Karen Maguire, & Giulia Ajmonie Marsan, The Case of Oresund (Denmark-Sweden)--Regions and Innovation: Collaborating Across Borders 13-15 (OECD Regional Development Working Papers, 2013/21), available at https://

(3.) Id. at 7 (the Oresund bridge is "the most widely publicized [sic] model of cross-border integration in the European Union"); Pontus Tallberg & Erling Green, Integration in the Oresund Area and the Danger of Creating new Peripheries in the Skane Region, 280 REGIONS MAG. 29, 29 (2010) (the Oresund bridge is "iconic").

(4.) Nauwelaers, Maguire, & Marsan, supra note 2, at 23.

(5.) Gert-Jan Hospers, Borders, Bridges and Branding: The Transformation of the Oresund Region into an Imagined Space, 14 EUROPEAN PLANNING STUDIES 1015, 1024-26 (2006); Malcolm Brabant, New Swedish Border Controls: A Blow to Schengen?, DEUTSCHE-WELLE (Jan. 3, 2016) a-18956173 (quoting Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen: "We have spent millions branding Copenhagen and Malmo as a single metropolitan area.").

(6.) Nauwelaers, Maguire, & Marsan, supra note 2, at 23.

(7.) See Visit Copenhagen, Kastrupbanen and Kystbanen, http://www.visitcopen (last visited Apr. 26, 2016).

(8.) See, e.g., Nauwelaers, Maguire, & Marsan, supra note 2, at 17 (describing innovation potential of cross-border area).

(9.) See SHEKAR AIYAR ET AL., THE REFUGEE SURGE IN EUROPE: ECONOMIC CHALLENGES (IMF Staff Discussion Note, Jan. 2016) 9, Figure 1, available at https:// (charts on Asylum Applications in the EU, showing surge in 2015).

(10.) James Traub, The Death of the Most Generous Nation on Earth, FOREIGN POLICY, (Feb., 2015) -earth-sweden-syria-refugee-europe/(Sweden accepted 160,000 asylumseekers in 2015).

(11.) Edward Delman, How Not to Welcome Refugees, Atlantic (Jan. 27, 2016)

(12.) Dan Bilefsky, Sweden and Denmark Add Border Checks to Stem Flow of Migrants, N.Y. TIMES (Jan. 4, 2016) -check-migrants.html?_r=0.

(13.) Ole Mikkelsen et al., Danish Rail Company Says Swedish Border Checks Will Cost 1 Million DKK a Day, REUTERS (Dec. 29, 2015) uk-denmark-immigration-border-idUKKBN0UC13G20151229; Lucie Rychla, Fewer Taking the Train Across the Oresund, CPH POST ONLINE (Mar. 9, 2016) http://

(14.) See Facebook: Oresund Revolution, available at ores-undsrevolutionen/ (last updated May 14, 2016) (Facebook page devoted to protesting border controls across the Oresund); Andreas Onnerfors, These DenmarkSwedish Border Controls Turn Back the Clock to a Pre-Europe Age, GUARDIAN (Jan. 5, 2016)

(15.) Sweden Drops a Barrier Across the Huge Bridge that Links it to Denmark, Economist (Jan. 5, 2016), -are-Instituted-oresund-bridge-copenhagen (9000 commuters each day); Fakta: Effekterna av id- och granskontroller mellan Skane och Sjalland, Oresund Institute (Apr. 19, 2016), -restiden-med-tag-till-sverige-med-mellan-10-och-50-minuter/ (detailed description of impact of Oresund bridge checks on travelers).

(16.) Daniel C. Turack, The Scandinavian Passport Union, 38 Nordisk TIDSSKRIFT FOR INT'L RET 171, 172 (1968).

(17.) Council Regulation 562/2006, arts. 23-26, 2006 O.J. (LI05) 3 (EC) (establishing Community Code on rules governing movement of persons across borders).

(18.) See, e.g., NETWORK OF ASS'NS OF LOCAL AUTHORITIES OF S.-E. EUR., STATEMENT ON LOCAL GOVERNMENTS FACING THE CHALLENGES AND IMPACTS OF REFUGEE CRISIS IN SOUTH EAST EUROPE (Zagreb, Oct. 2015) ("Municipalities of South-East Europe are the first affected by the refugee influx").

(19.) See U.N. High Comm'r for Refugees, States Parties to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol (April 2015), available at

(20.) See generally European Migration Law, en (official migration information website of the EU).

(21.) Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, July 28, 1951, 189 U.N.T.S. 137, available at (last visited 27 April 2016) [hereinafter Refugee Convention],

(22.) Id. at art. 1(A)(2) (this general definition is modified where individuals who have more than one nationality, or have lost their nationality.) See, e.g., id. at art. (1)(C).

(23.) Id. at art. 39(2).

(24.) See, e.g., id. at arts. 4, 17.

(25.) Id. at art. 22.

(26.) Id. at art. 21.

(27.) Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, Jan. 31, 1967, 606 U.N.T.S. 267, available at [hereinafter Refugee Protocol].

(28.) Id. at art. 11(1).

(29.) Id. at art. 1(2).

(30.) See Refugee Convention, supra note 21, at art. 41; Refugee Protocol, supra note 27, at art. VI.

(31.) Id.

(32.) European Union, Convention Implementing the Schengen Agreement of 14 June 1985 Between the Governments of the States of the Benelux Economic Union, the Federal Republic of Germany and the French Republic, on the Gradual Abolition of Checks at their Common Borders, (June 19,1990), available at http://www.refworld .org/docid/3ae6b38a20.html; Schengen Area Countries List, available at http://www (last visited April 27, 2016).

(33.) Biannual Report on the Functioning of the Schengen Area I November 2011 30 April 2012, COM (2012) 230 final (May 16, 2012), available at http://www.refworld .org/ docid/5485b5344.html.

(34.) Consolidated Version of Treaty on European Union, Oct. 2, 1997, 1997 O.J. (C 340) 145, available at CELEX:11997M/TXT&from=EN.

(35.) Germany Imposes Border Controls, ECONOMIST (Sept. 14, 2015) http://www -free-movement-policies-germany; Nikolaj Nielson, Germany Announces Indefinite Border Checks, EUOBSERVER (Jan. 21, 2016) https://euobserver .com/migration/131936.

(36.) Schengen: Controversial EU Free Movement Deal Explained, BBC (Jan. 25, 2016)

(37.) Id.

(38.) Id.

(39.) European Parliament and of the Council Directive 2013/32/EU, 2013 O.J. (L 180) 60 (EC) (on common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection (recast)), available at See also U.N. HIGH COMM'R FOR REFUGEES, MOVING FURTHER TOWARD A COMMON EUROPEAN ASYLUM SYSTEM: UNHCR's STATEMENT ON THE EU ASYLUM LEGISLATIVE PACKAGE (June 2013), available at

(40.) Explainers: Understanding Migration and Asylum in the European Union, OPEN SOCIETY FOUNDATIONS (Oct. 2015) explainers/understanding-migration-and-asylum-european-union.

(41.) Directive 2013/32/EU, supra note 39.

(42.) Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund, EUROPEAN COMMISSION, http:// asylummigration-integration-fund/index_en.htm (last updated Mar. 29, 2016).

(43.) Id.

(44.) Id.

(45.) According to the website,
   [c]oncrete actions to be funded through this instrument can include
   a wide range of initiatives, such as the improvement of
   accommodation and reception services for asylum seekers,
   information measures and campaigns in non-EU countries on legal
   migration channels, education and language training for non-EU
   nationals, assistance to vulnerable persons belonging to the target
   groups of AMIF, [and] information exchange and cooperation between
   EU States and training for staff on relevant topics of AMIF....

(46.) Eszter Zalan, EU Cities Want Say on Refugee Policy, EU Observer (Apr. 5, 2016)


(48.) EUROCITIES, About EUROCITIES, about_us (last visited April 27, 2016). EUROCITIES' organizational objectives include: "to reinforce the important role that local governments should play in a multilevel governance structure [and] to shape the opinions of Brussels stakeholders and ultimately shift the focus of EU legislation in a way which allows city governments to tackle strategic challenges at local level. Id.

(49.) See EUROCITIES REPORT, supra note 47, at 3.

(50.) EUROCITIES STATEMENT ON ASYLUM IN CITIES 3,[paragraph] 7 (May 2015), http://

(51.) EUROCITIES REPORT, supra note 48, at 7.

(52.) Id.

(53.) Id. at 8.

(54.) Id.

(55.) Id. at 16.

(56.) Id.


(58.) Id.

(59.) Id.

(60.) EU Urban Agenda,

(61.) A Brief Introduction to the EU Urban Agenda, EU Urban Agenda (Oct. 7, 2015),

(62.) Inclusion of Migrants and Refugees, EU Urban Agenda (May 4, 2016),

(63.) Union of the Baltic Cities, RESOLUTION: Refugees--A Challenge and a Chance for the Cities of the Baltic Sea Region (Mar. 16, 2016).

(64.) Integrating Cities, Implementoring, -cities/projects/Implementoring (last visited May 27, 2016); EU Urban Agenda, EIB Urban Intergroup: How Europe's Towns and Cities Can Address Current Refugee Crises (April 12, 2016), -and-cities-can-address-current-refugee-crises/ (last visited May 27, 2016).

(65.) VINCENT AUSSILLOUX & BORIS LE HIR, FR. STRATEGIE, THE ECONOMIC COST OF ROLLING BACK SCHENGEN, .fr/files/atoms/files/the_economic_cost_of_rolling_back_schengen.pdf. (last visited May 27, 2016).

(66.) Putting up Barriers, ECONOMIST (Feb. 6, 2016) news/briefing/21690065-permanent-reintroduction-border-controls-would-harmtrade-europe-putting-up-barriers.

(67.) See id.; Nauwelaers, et al., supra note 2, at 14.

(68.) Facts About the Nordic Region: The Population, NORDEN, http://www.norden .org/en/fakta-om-norden-l/the-population (last visited May 27, 2016).

(69.) Oresund Facts, ORESUNDSKOMITEEN, home/publications/oresund-facts/ (last visited May 27, 2016) (describing the Oresund region). Lund is home to the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law. See RAOUL WALLENBERG INSTITUTE OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND HUMANITARIAN LAW, (last visited May 27, 2016).

(70.) Hospers, supra note 5, at 1019; Nauwelaers, Maguire, & Marsan, supra note 2, at 24.


(72.) C.W. Mathiessen, Bridging the Oresund: Potential Regional Dynamics, JOURNAL OF TRANSP. GEOGRAPHY, 8: 175-195 (2000).

(73.) Wilhelm Pleiner, Neue Wege zwischen Danemark und Schweden, 89 GEOGRAPHIE HEUTE 12-15 (2001).

(74.) See The Bridge: Episode by Episode, GUARDIAN, http://www.theguardian .com/tv-and-radio/series/the-bridge-episode-by-episode (last visited May 27, 2016).

(75.) Derek Scally, Oresund Bridge May Become Spectacular Monument to EU Disintegration, Irish Times (Jan. 8, 2016) -become-spectacular-monument-to-eu-disintegration-1.2488621.

(76.) Migrationsverket, Statistics, -statistics-/Statistics.html (last visited May 27, 2016).

(77.) Traub, supra note 10.

(78.) Id. (asylum application projections for 2016, however, have been revised downward); Sweden Slashes Refugee Forecast Figures for 2016, Loc. (Apr. 27, 2016)

(79.) Liz Alderman & James Kanter, Europe's Border Checks Become Economic Chokepoints, N.Y. Times (Mar. 1, 2016) available at 02/business/international/europes-new-border-controls-exact-a-cost.html?_r=0.

(80.) Id.

(81.) ID Checks Between Denmark and Sweden Costing Millions, Loc. (Jan. 22, 2016)

(82.) Aleksandra Eriksson, Nordic Politicians Look to EU for Border Solutions, EUObserver (Apr. 20, 2016)

(83.) Fakta: Effekterna av id- och granskontroller mellan Skane och Sjalland, supra note 15.

(84.) Forlorade id-handlingar--kunde inte aka hem fran jobbet pa Tivoli till bostaden i Malmo--nya passet drojer en vecka, ORESUND NEWS (Apr. 25, 2016) http:// (Swedish worker unable to return home across the border because of stolen ID).

(85.) See Facebook: Oresund Revolution, supra note 14.

(86.) NCF Calls for a Border-Free Norden, NORDISKA CENTERUNGDOMENS FORBUND (Mar. 21, 2016),

(87.) Eriksson, supra note 82.

(88.) Border Controls to be Debated in Nordic Theme Session in Oslo, NORDEN (Apr. 13, 2016),

(89.) Eriksson, supra note 82.

(90.) Manuela Zechner & Bue Rubner Hansen, More than a Welcome: The Power of Cities, openDemocracy, Apr. 7, 2016, manuela-zechner-bue-r-bner -hansen/more-than-welcome-power-of-cities.

(91.) See Barcelona's Refuge City Plan Gets Underway, EL DIGITAL D BARCELONA (Sept. 17, 2015); Simon Hunter, Madrid and Barcelona City Councils Launch Plan to Help Refugees, EL PAIS, Sept. 2, 2015.

(92.) See, e.g., JORDY VAN AARSEN ET AL., HUMAN RIGHTS CITIES: MOTIVATIONS, MECHANISMS, IMPLICATIONS: A CASE STUDY OF EUROPEAN HRCs 22-24, 175 (University College Roosevelt 2013), available at HRC-Book.pdf; Vienna: City of Human Rights, WIEN, social/integration/project-work/human-rights-city.html (last visited May 25, 2016).

(93.) WIM DATEMA & ESTHER FELDMANN, CASE STUDY: WELCOME TO UTRECHT: HOW CITIZENS AND THE HUMAN RIGHTS CITY WORK TOGETHER TO COORDINATE HELP FOR REFUGEES (Governance International 2015), welcome-to-utrecht -how-citizens-and-the-human-rights-city-work-together-to-coordinate-help-for-refugees/.

(94.) GLOBAL PARLIAMENT OF MAYORS PROJECT, http://www.globalparliamentof (last visited Apr. 28, 2016).

(95.) Council of Europe, European Charter of Local Self-Government, E.T.S. No. 122 (1985), available at DisplayDCTMContent?documentId=090000168007a088.

(96.) See, e.g., Gerard Marcou and Hellmut Wollman, Europe, in DECENTRALIZATION AND LOCAL DEMOCRACY IN THE WORLD 128 (World Bank & United Cities and Local Governments 2008), available at Upload/gold_report/gold_report_en.pdf.

(97.) Id. at 164. See also COUNCIL OF EUROPEAN MUNICIPALITIES AND REGIONS, DECENTRALISATION AT A CROSSROADS: TERRITORIAL REFORMS IN EUROPE IN TIMES OF CRISIS 9-11 (Oct. 2013), available at committees/dal/Upload/library/decentralisationterritorialreforms_en_en.pdf.

(98.) Benjamin R. Barber, Cities for Freedom: "Does the road to changing the world go through city hall?" ICORN (Mar. 23, 2016), cities-freedom-does-road-changing-world-go-through-city-hall.

(99.) JACQUES DERRIDA, ON COSMOPOLITANISM AND FORGIVENESS 7-8 (Mark Dooley and Michael Hughes trans., Taylor & Francis e-Library ed. 2005) (1997), available at Derrida also asked,
   [i]f the name and the identity of something like the city still has
   a meaning, could it, when dealing with the related questions of
   hospitality and refuge, elevate itself above nation-state or at
   least free itself from them (s'affranchir), in order to become, to
   coin a phrase in a new and novel way, a free city (une ville

Id. at 9.

(100.) Benjamin R. Barber, Why Mayors Should Rule the World, TED TALK, at 16:07 (June 2013), rule_the_world?language=en.

(101.) Engen Isen, Acts, in Migration: A COMPAS ANTHOLOGY (B. Anderson and M. Keith eds., Oxford 2014),

(102.) Eleanor Roosevelt, In Our Hands (1958) (address on tenth anniversary of Universal Declaration of Human Rights).
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Title Annotation:Symposium on the Refugee Crisis
Author:Davis, Martha F.
Publication:Suffolk Transnational Law Review
Date:Sep 22, 2016
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