Forderungen an Cologne

Entschieden Umgesetzt

Public declaration of solidarity

Declare themselves in solidarity with displaced persons and with the objectives of the Seebrücke initiative.

Active support for maritime rescue

Take a public stance against the criminalisation of search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean and actively support these, as well as providing either full or part sponsorship and fi nancial support for a civilian rescue boat.

Admitting more than the quota

Ensure rapid and uncomplicated admission and accommodation of people rescued from distress at sea above and beyond the distribution quota for asylum seekers:  
  • The city / county Cologne declare themselves willing to directly receive and accommodate people rescued from distress at sea, for example by a civilian maritime rescue boat, in a way similar to a relocation programme. This admission is in addition to the distribution quota for asylum seekers. An agreement with the Federal Ministry of the Interior, the Federal Offi ce for Migration and Refugees and the respective federal state Northrhine-Westphalia is to be established on this matter.

Supporting admission programmes

Lobby the respective federal state Northrhine-Westphalia and the Federal Government to establish new programmes for the legal admission of refugees and/or signifi cantly expand existing programmes, and offer additional places in the city or county in support of this:
  • The city / county Cologne call upon the government of their respective federal state Northrhine-Westphalia to introduce an independent humanitarian admission scheme for refugees as per section 23(1) of the Residence Act (AufenthG) and thus enable refugees to legally enter Germany and remain in the country.
  • •The City / county Cologne also call upon the federal state government Northrhine-Westphalia and the Federal Government to agree to permanently and reliably higher admission quotas than have previously been in place, within the scope of resettlement as per section 23(4) of the Residence Act and other programmes for the legal admission of refugees. This is the only way Germany can meet its responsibility to prevent people being forced to fl ee using illegal and dangerous channels.
  • •The city / county Cologne declare to the federal state Northrhine-Westphalia and the Federal Government that they are willing to reliably provide additional places for those arriving in these programmes
  • •In addition, the cities and counties throughout the state advocate the removal of sentence 3 of section 23(1) of the Residence Act, which would dispense with the need for the approval of the Federal Ministry of the Interior when admitting refugees.
  • •The city / county calls for the introduction of an independent rule for admissions by local authorities in accordance with section 23(1) of the Residence Act enabling independent admission by the federal states.

Making sure people settle in to the community

Ensure people settle in well to the community, by providing all resources necessary for humane care, in particular in the areas of housing, medical care and education.

National and European networking

Actively commit to the implementation of the above points at regional, national and European level.

Safe harbour alliance

Get involved in establishing an alliance of all safe harbours in Europe in order to actively shape European migration policy in a way that respects human rights.


Make public all action undertaken to establish the city or county as a safe harbour.

In the summer of 2018, Cologne’s Lord Mayor Reker, together with the mayors of the cities of Bonn and Düsseldorf, wrote a much-noticed letter to the Federal Chancellor: they demanded the admission of people rescued from distress at sea and offered to accept them in their cities. However, concrete actions did not follow.

When the crews of the rescue ships Sea-Watch 3 and Prof. Albrecht Penck were stranded over the Christmas season with many rescued fugitives on board, the SEEBRÜCKE Cologne renewed the demand for the reception of rescued persons. The open letter written by the local group served the Cologne Refugee Council and the “Cologne shows attitude” alliance as the basis for a city council initiative.

Concrete demands were formulated in the paper: The admission of those rescued from sea distress in Cologne, a binding partnership of the City of Cologne for a sea rescue ship and appeals to the relevant ministries at state and federal level to simplify the municipal admission of refugees. Apart from the partnership, all demands in the proposal of the parliamentary groups of the SPD, BÜNDNIS 90/DIE GRÜNEN, DIE LINKE and even the CDU as well as the council groups BUNT & GUT were adopted. On 14 February 2019 the time had finally come: While the SEEBRÜCKE Cologne demonstrated in front of the council hall with about 150 people, the city council decided the comprehensive proposal unchanged with an overwhelming majority – only the AfD and a council group voted against.

The SEEBRÜCKE Cologne, as part of the “Cologne shows attitude” alliance, will ensure that the resolution does not remain a mere symbolic act. At the moment there are inquiries to the city concerning the implementation of the appeals. In addition, the Alliance continues to fight for Cologne to take over a partnership for a sea rescue ship. In this way, Cologne would give the civil sea rescue service the long-term and binding support it deserves for the protection of human rights in the Mediterranean.

(Status: 06.03.2019)