16 September 2015
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The EPO will donate EUR 100 000 to support the large number of refugees arriving in Munich.
The donation will be made to the Save Me - eine Stadt sagt ja! campaign, a local initiative supported by the city of Munich and by UN Refugee Aid Germany, the fundraising partner of UNHCR-Germany. The money will go towards Save Me's work in providing direct emergency assistance, and supporting permanent resettlement of the refugees, helping them to find housing, jobs and education.
"The European Patent Office is an international organisation, and as such is part of the ‘European project' to bring down barriers and bring states together for co-operation and mutual support," said EPO President Benoît Battistelli.
"We are keenly aware of this unprecedented and acute crisis, and we have been moved to offer comfort to the refugees arriving here, along with many of Munich's ordinary citizens," he said. "In such extraordinary times the EPO gladly stands with all local actors whose generous response has been truly impressive. With this donation to the Save Me charity, the EPO is responding at a local level to a situation which has a European dimension."
The plight of people fleeing conflict in their own countries such as Syria, as well as others escaping poverty, has become a major political and social issue in Europe. Thousands of people have crossed into Germany in recent weeks, with Munich's train station one of the main points of entry.
The wave of people arriving in Europe and Germany has sparked an outpouring of sympathy and acts of solidarity in the country, and also at the other EPO sites in The Hague, Berlin, Vienna and Brussels.
The Save Me Campaign is supported by the City of Munich and by UN Refugee Aid Germany, the donation partner of UNHCR-Germany. Save Me provides assistance and support for refugees arriving to Munich and its neighbouring communities through the UN Resettlement Program. Beside the support of beneficiaries, Save Me advocates for the UN Resettlement Program on a local, national and European level, in order to ensure a safe and dignified solution for refugees to seek protection in Europe.
Save Me also runs a successful volunteer program and connects volunteer "mentors" with refugees in order to facilitate their start in Germany and make them feel welcomed in Munich.