The European Council is meeting today and tomorrow to discuss diverging topics, such as migration, security and defence, as well as economic and financial affairs. The main focus will be on internal and external dimensions of migration policies in order to harmonise them at a European level and prevent huge discrepancies from hampering European strategies.
The meeting is especially relevant because it comes at a time of widespread populist, xenophobic and racist feelings, which fuel European divisions. Additionally, anti-EU arguments are increasingly supported both by politicians and the public that tend to forget or ignore all the achievements accomplished thanks to the EU.
On Sunday, a mini-summit was also held in Brussels to anticipate and facilitate negotiations among EU Member States, but no significant agreement was obtained.
On the very same day, European inaction and national egoism showed its inhuman consequences on people’s lives: 234 people were stranded at sea on the NGO vessel Lifeline after being rescued on June 22; 108 were on board the cargo ship Alexander Maersk waiting to receive instructions about a safe port to dock; and around 1,000 people on seven other vessels in distress were intercepted by the Libyan coast guard and brought back to the country they were desperately escaping from.
Today, in light of a rise in anti-EU feelings and rampant discrimination, we all have to commit to reviving European founding principles, the most important one being solidarity.
This is why MOAS decided to actively support the European solidarity initiative asking all European governments to contribute to welcome refugees in the best way possible.
With a view at reforming the Dublin III Regulation in force since 2014 and the Common European System of Asylum (CEAS), MOAS wanted to show solidarity and support to those who want a stronger Europe based on its high inspirations and values.
The EU was created from the ashes of World War II, with the ultimate goal of boosting economic recovery and safeguarding peace inside and outside Europe. EU’s keyword was solidarity in the attempt to overcome obstacles, difficulties and challenges together in a spirit of cooperation, without choosing national egoism over European interest.
As responsible citizens, we all have to bear in mind that no peace nor evolution is possible if we don’t walk together on a shared path of humanity.
European inaction has led to uncontrolled flows of desperate people who risk all in the hands of traffickers and smugglers, because no safe and legal alternatives are officially provided
European inaction has led to uncontrolled flows of desperate people who risk all in the hands of traffickers and smugglers, because no safe and legal alternatives are officially provided.
As affirmed by Joseph Muscat, humanitarian corridors are fundamental to better address migration.
Let’s focus on what can be done, let’s act together so that migration stops being a life-threatening experience.
It is necessary to reform the European legal background in order to reinforce protection both for European citizens and migrants. Member States need to agree common and shared solutions to allow migrants to be relocated where they have family members or to a country with stronger capacity to welcome and integrate them. Nonetheless, unfortunately, mig-rants and refugees mostly end up stranded in overcrowded camps, where they lose any hope of a better life.
Italy and Greece are currently the main countries of arrival due to their geographical position, but they cannot be left alone in coping with migration.
MOAS affirms its commitment to protecting the rights of the world’s most vulnerable migrant and refugee communities and pays tribute to the strength and courage of those who are forced to leave their homeland to seek sanctuary.
No wall will be so high to prevent people from attempting to reach the safe side beyond it. The only way to disrupt criminal networks exploiting people’s fears and despair is to open safe and legal routes, which are also included in the June meeting agenda and comprehend stronger resettlement schemes.
Europe was created from solidarity, commitment to safeguarding human rights and willingness to preserve peace.
It cannot end because of our incapacity to stick to those values and to our humanity in times of crisis. If we are not able to shed light on the refugees’ plight, darkness will prevail and history could repeat itself at its worst.
Let’s revive and boost #EuropeanSolidarity to #ChangeDublin to reinforce protection for the most vulnerable people.
Regina Catrambone is co-founder of the Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS).