EU: this is how to build a more humane European pact on migration and asylum!
The COVID-19 pandemic brought the shortcomings of the European Union’s (EU) migration policies clearly to light and once again stirred up the debate on their dismissive character and the lack of solidarity with refugees and EU border countries. With the European Commission expected to soon launch a new pact on migration and asylum, Justice and Peace sees an opportunity for a different, more humane, EU policy.
- Create new opportunities for legal and safe resettlement.
- Put local community in the lead.
In its 2020 work programme, the European Commission committed to “a more resilient, more humane and more effective migration and asylum system.” Such a humane policy is crucial, as in the past the EU has focused too much on merely preventing people from arriving in the EU, relying on third countries to enforce their policies. Justice and Peace – as many other civil society organisations – is worried that the Commission’s focus on member state consensus will come at the cost of exactly these humane policies, as member states often only seem to agree on reducing the number of people arriving and on enabling their return.
Create new opportunities for legal and safe resettlement
So how to make the new migration and asylum policy more humane? First of all, we should enable safe pathways through which refugees can reach EU member states. Although in recent years significant attention has been given to the dangers faced by refugees travelling to Europe, the number of legal resettlements have only kept decreasing. The EU should therefore create new resettlement schemes to provide legal and secure pathways, ensuring that refugees will be able to reach Europe in a safe way. Promising examples are the humanitarian corridors in Italy and the sponsorship schemes in countries like Germany and the United Kingdom. Moreover, to make a more humane policy possible, Europe-wide solidarity with EU border countries and relocation inside Europe are crucial. An interesting recent example is the pledge of several EU countries to relocate unaccompanied refugee children from the Greek refugee camps. Although this is merely an ad-hoc intervention, it can be regarded as a first small step on the road towards a more structural policy based on humanity and solidarity.
Put local community in the lead
Besides enabling safe pathways, the EU should also invest in the bottom-up initiatives visible across member states. In recent years, many local communities have stepped up and shown their willingness to welcome refugees into their communities. They have shown that diversity enriches European societies, rather than burden them. In the Netherlands, Samen Hier is one of these community movements through which Dutch citizens and refugees work together at the local level to build inclusive communities with a prosperous future. By enabling and supporting these local initiatives, the EU creates the opportunity to nurture stable societies in the post pandemic world.
Show your support for a more humane migration and asylum policy, share this message and support a local initiative in your own community!