The City of Reykjavík has signed a resolution, committing the city to accept 1,500 refugees next year. Under the leadership of Mayor Dagur B. Eggertsson and Minister of Social Affairs Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson, the city has announced its hope that other municipalities make similar plans in cooperation with the state as soon as possible.
Such agreements between the state and municipalities were drafted earlier this fall concerning levels of state funding for the municipalities that will be accepting refugees. The funding was outlined in order for the municipalities to be better able to estimate the number of refugees they will be able to accept.
Minister of Social Affairs Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson is quoted in Vísir as saying: “We are in conversation with quite a few local authorities. I just want to encourage the municipalities, whatever their size, to get involved in this as well. I think that the kind of precedent that is being created by the country’s largest municipality getting involved now is very positive.”
The City of Reykjavík had previously committed to accepting 500 refugees. The new level represents a threefold increase over the previous figure. Despite the significant increase, Mayor Dagur B. Eggertsson has stressed that this number is only half of what Iceland has so far received this year.
“This number is much higher than previously,” stated Dagur to Vísir. “Unfortunately, I think we have to assume that the War in Ukraine will not be resolved anytime soon and that this will be an ongoing project for some time.”
A pressing concern is to find housing for the incoming refugees. The capital region already faces difficulty in providing affordable housing, although recent initiatives have sought to incentivize further development.
“This is of course a challenge,” stated Dagur. “There’s no point in hiding that. But the city has been in agreement since the first days of the invasion that we condemn the invasion of Ukraine, and we have shown ourselves ready to work together with both the state and other municipalities in order to accept these refugees.”