Brussels, 5th July 2017
EU must at all costs avoid a moral defeat and put in practice its best reasons for existing: solidarity, defence of human rights and peace.
Thousands of boat-people in search of a better future, or simply in search of survival, are landing daily on the southern borders of Europe. They land on European soil and are exhausted, hungry, frightened; many have been tortured and, if women, raped.
They are our brothers and sisters: they are part of the people EAPN work with and for, making no distinction as to where they come from or the color of their skin, aware as we are that only by chance were we fortunate enough to be born in the “right” part of the world.
“The Member States seem unable to respond with dignity, solidarity and humanity to this emergency, one that concerns not banks, money or free markets but people. And this puts totally at stake the EU reasons for existing. We must once and for all start tackling the causes of poverty by challenging the economic model that brought us to this unbalanced and unequal world which precisely impacts firstly on the people in the countries facing the most extreme poverty”, says Sérgio Aires, EAPN President.
In the face of this situation that threatens to put an end to the European Dream, EAPN asserts the following:
- The European governments should stop entrenching themselves behind the hypocritical distinction between political and economic refugees. Whether they are fleeing death from hunger, poverty or from bombing does not make a difference.
- The European governments should implement the relocation scheme as agreed and expand this to cover the migrants who are currently arriving in desperation.
- At the next Summit of the EU Ministers of the Interiors (Tallin, July 6th), the Member States bordering the Mediterranean should agree to open their ports for the landing of the boats that saved these people at open sea, as requested by the Commission and the Italian government.
- The Dublin Agreement, which was signed in a different period, when this emergency was not even envisaged, needs to be revised in order to cover broader groups of migrants escaping poverty and favor reallocation and respect the right of those concerned to live and work in the country of their choice.
- The European governments should stop laying the blame and in some cases criminalizing, initially between the lines but more and more explicitly every day, on the NGOs that are working at sea and saving thousands of lives every day. Instead they should be actively supported and resourced.
- No agreement should be made between the EU governments and countries, such as Libya, where there is no respect for human rights or lives. The agreement with Turkey should have taught us a hard lesson!
EAPN also declares the following:
– The EU needs to open humanitarian corridors. Only by doing this will the refugees arrive in safety and will criminal organizations cease making money by smuggling (and killing) innocent people, many of whom are women and children.
– A huge, sustainable and democratic “Marshall Plan” for Africa and other sending countries with large scale investment designed together with the local population, needs to be put in place as soon as possible.
Lastly, EAPN asks that the EU institutions and member states make all the necessary efforts to counter the xenophobic, racist and fascist wave of opinion, skillfully propagated and abetted in some quarters, that is not only putting the social cohesion and the future of Europe at serious risk, but that, if not stopped, will be the cause of the greatest European Union moral defeat.
For further information, please contact:
Leo Williams, EAPN Director | email@example.com | Tel. +32 2 226 58 50
The European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) is the largest European network of national, regional and local networks, involving anti-poverty NGOs and grassroots groups as well as European Organisations, active in the fight against poverty and social exclusion. It was established in 1990.
EUROPEAN ANTI-POVERTY NETWORK
RESEAU EUROPEEN DES ASSOCIATIONS DE LUTTE CONTRE LA PAUVRETE ET L’EXCLUSION SOCIALE
BOULEVARD BISCHOFFSHEIM, 11 – 1000 BRUXELLES – TEL: 0032 2 226 58 50 – FAX: 0032 2 226 58 69