In this interview, Limassol’s Deputy Mayor Savvas Stouppas, discusses frankly the challenges and opportunities experienced by his city as the number of foreign-born residents increases.
“In the beginning, it was very difficult,” he says of a city and indeed a country, with limited experience of immigration. According to the deputy mayor, local people thought the foreign workers would “expel” them from their jobs.
Limassol’s involvement in the EU-Council of Europe inter-cultural cities network, allows the city to learn from other local authorities with longer histories of diverse populations. Community tensions reduced once the economic benefits of migration became harder to ignore.
Stouppas admits that the economic crisis, which has seen unemployment in Cyprus rise to 10%, has helped to fuel extremism but remains “100% confident” that residents will follow the city council’s recognition of Limassol’s multi-cultural future.
Video: Savvas Stouppas – The Challenge Of Multiculturalism In Cyprus
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Information: Intercultural cities – governance and policies for diverse communities