European Call: Solidarity Marches for Another Migrant Reception Policy

Migration Policies

by Collectif

Personalities across the continent are deeply worried by the delicining moral standards in Europe these days: “They encourage racism, anti-Semitism, and Islamophobia rather than goodwill, fair treatment, and a proper organisation of migrant reception.” These personalities call on politicians and the media to change their outlook on migrants, while 22,000 of them have died in the last 15 years while trying to reach Europe. They initiated the idea of solidarity marches. The first of these marches should be take place between Calais and Brussels in August.

[En français] / [In italiano]

How things have changed in 40 years. So much so that the voices of those like Jean-Paul Sartre or Raymond Aron, who in the late 1970s appealed both to public opinion and to the President of the Republic of France to welcome boat-people from South-East Asia, are now hardly ever heard or listened to.

Different days, different ways. We are deeply worried by the voices we hear across Europe these days. They talk of exclusion, hatred of others and a deadly withdrawal into one’s self. They encourage racism, anti-Semitism, and Islamophobia rather than kindness and goodwill, fair treatment, and a proper organisation to welcome others.

In 15 years, since the beginning of the century, nothing has changed. Judging from the situation in Patras, Lampedusa, and Calais (from the Sangatte centre to the successive jungles), European migration policies have mostly failed. Powerlessness, incoherence and egoism seem to be the key words on the borders of the Schengen zone, as well as in Brussels and most European capital cities. The images of migrants, often refugees, abandoned, alone and ill-treated, intensify their rejection and shape the great contemporary fears: the identity markers defined in the process will only cause more refusals and conflicts in the future.

The “great replacement” is under way, say some of those quick to denounce the landing of foreigners on our shores and, despite all likelihood, their flooding inland. It is a wonder that those very people who pretend to worry about Europe’s decline do not understand that, on the contrary, in an aging continent, immigration should be perceived for what it is: a means to compensate the aging of local populations and worrying demographic curves.
In the last three years, Europeans citizens have realized how dangerous irregular migration routes are. Death has been hovering over the Mediterranean Sea as well as European roads, but the heads of EU member countries pretend not to know. Just like the majority of the public opinion in their countries, they don’t want to see, to hear, to analyse and to take the necessary measures – or they do it partially, only when being forced to. All this is shameful and dangerous for the humanist European project we call for, a Europe that cares for dignity and the effectiveness of human rights.

“It is no longer time for empty speech, we need action, brave and constructive action”, Robert Schuman said on 9 May 1950, 65 years ago, in a speech that was the first step towards the construction of a political, economical and social Europe.
In keep with this spirit of resolution and humanism, this spirit of solidarity and welcome, we, European citizens from the 28 states of the European Union, call for solidarity walks across Europe.

We aim to:
 show that current policies, far from bringing solutions, are detrimental to migrants and to refugees, to the countries they are leaving as well as to the citizens of the receiving countries.
 call for asylum rights to be implemented across the EU within reasonable timeframes and in a way that respects the dignity of seekers, as well as for a fair repartition of seekers amongst countries in the name of solidarity between member states.
 initiate a change in the media and political discourse, where terms such as “suction effect”, “flows”, “stocks”, “clandestine” are now being used to speak of groups of people recently arrived on our territories.
 make our fellow citizens aware of immigrants’ past, present and future contributions to our societies.
 discuss alternative European migration policies.
 encourage the implementation, through concrete measures, of a principle of solidarity in the reception of foreign populations.
 demand that the safety of people on the Mediterranean Sea, within and outside territorial waters, be provided, without further delay and through lasting means.

The shape of these marches is yet to be invented and we trust in new citizens’ initiatives to do so. As for us, we are calling for the first march to take place between Calais and Brussels in August 2015.

But it cannot remain an isolated move. The strength of these marches will reside in their number and their spreading across the whole of Europe. It will rest upon local citizens’ initiatives and upon setting aside all common misconceptions about migrants currently held in Europe.

Europe cannot lock itself up within its borders. It must organise migrations and envisage mobility and all necessary protections. From September 2015 onwards, “solidarity marches” must give the impetus to a new civic movement in Europe, a Europe in the spirit of peace and openness to the World.

Sign the petition : here

By signing, you:
 signify your support to this show of solidarity towards migrants,
 agree to be kept informed of marches and events organized to initiate this new civic movement in Europe

Your commitment will be made public with your name, surname and job appearing in signature of this appeal.

Pierre Henry :
Olivier Favier :

The first signatories:

Jacques RIBS, Président de France terre d’asile (France), Alain LE CLEAC’H, Membre du bureau de France terre d’asile (France), Nicole QUESTIAUX, Membre du bureau de France terre d’asile (France),Frédéric TIBERGHIEN, Membre du bureau de France terre d’asile (France) Sylvain PETIT, Professeur d’Histoire-géographie/ Conseiller communal à la culture (France), Corinne MOREL DARLEUX, Conseillère régionale Rhône-Alpes (France), Catherine WIHTOL DE WENDEN, Directrice de recherche chez Ceri / CNRS (France), Marie-Christine VERGIAT, Députée européenne (France), Hélène SOUPIOS-DAVID, Chargée de mission France terre d’asile (France), Christophe HARRISON, Cadre de France terre d’asile (France), Andrea SEGRE, Sociologue et Réalisateur (Italie), Gilles MANCERON, Historien (France), Pierre HASSNER, Directeur de recherches à Science Po/chercheur Ceri (France), Annie KALYVA, Docteur en didactique du FLE/enseignante (Grèce), Theodora KOCHYLA, sociologue (Grèce), Argyris TSAKOS, Psychologue/psychanalyste (Grèce), Thanos CONTARGYRIS, Économiste (Grèce), Smaïn LAACHER, Sociologue, France, Chantal LIMOUSY, Thérapeute (France), Gérard TUMA (France), Pauline PERCHAT (France), Marcelle TRON SIAUD, Travailleur indépendant du secteur Associations et organisations sociales et syndicales ( France),Pascale FROMENTIERE (France), Maud COIFFEY, en recherche d’emploi Animatrice Chargée de projet / social culturel (France), Sarah AKKARI, Étudiante (France), Alice QUILLET, Étudiante (France), Jacqueline BENASSAYAG, Membre du bureau de France terre d’asile (France), Jacqueline COSTA-LASCOUX, Membre du bureau de France terre d’asile (France), Paulette DECRAENE, Membre du bureau de France terre d’asile (France), Jean-Luc GONNEAU, Membre du bureau de France terre d’asile (France), Jean-Pierre WORMS,Sociologue/ancien député/ ancien président de la commission des migrations de l’assemblée parlementaire du Conseil de l’Europe/ responsable associatif (France), Renaud MANDEL, Travailleur social à l’Admie (France), Katerina MOUTSATSOS, production/développement de contenus (États-Unis), Tatianna ANNA PITTA, Comédienne (Grèce), Robin HUNZINGER, Réalisateur (France), Hayat EL KAAOUACHI, Enseignante, (France), Sarah MOLLARD, Étudiante/enseignante (France), Aurore CLAVERIE, Réalisatrice (France), Jean-Marc CHOTTEAU, Directeur artistique de La Virgule (France), Dimitris ALEXAKIS, Animateur d’un espace de création (Grèce), Laura SICIGNANO, Metteuse en scène/auteure de théâtre (Italie), Pascale MAILLART, Citoyenne (France), Elisabeth MARIE, Metteur en scène (France), Gaia PULIERO, Journaliste (France), Marie DE BANVILLE, Scénariste/directrice d’écriture (France), Juliette GHEERBRANT, Journaliste (France), Samuel KUHN, Enseignant, historien (France), Eugenio POPULIN, Educateur spécialisé retraité (France), Catherine DUBOST, Traductrice/enseignante de FLE (France), Francis MAGNENOT, Cinéaste/auteur (France), Angelique IONATOS, Chanteuse et compositrice (France), Laetitia TURA, Réalisatrice du film Les Messagers (France), Hélène CROUZILLAT, Réalisatrice du film Les Messagers (France), François NADIRAS, Militant LDH (France), Antonio M. MORONE, Chercheur en histoire de l’Afrique contemporaine (Italie), Daniele COMBERIATI, Ecrivain/maitre de conférence Univ. Montpellier (France), Edith CANESTRIER, Journaliste (France), Julia SICCARDI, Professeure Agrégée d’anglais (France), Léonard VINCENT, Journaliste/écrivain (France), Angelo MASTRANDREA, Journaliste/écrivain/ ancien directeur-adjoint du journal Il Manifesto (Italie), Laurence DEJARDIN, Assistante d’éducation en ZEP (France), Aferdite IBRAHIMAJ, Journaliste reporter /réalisatrice/photographe (France), Antonella AMIRANTE, Metteuse en scène (France), Francesco DE FILIPPO, Journaliste/écrivain (Italie), Kaha MOHAMED EDEN, Ecrivaine (Italie), Marco ASSENATO, Professeur (France), Sarah GURCEL VERMANDE, Comédienne/traductrice (France), Myrto GONDICAS, Traductrice (France), Nicolas BICKEL, Educateur spécialisé (France), Jean-Pierre LEBONHOMME, Directeur de l’Action sociale (France), Guillaume SCHERS, Directeur des Cada Hauts-de-Seine France terre d’asile (France), Jean-Michel POLLYN, Directeur du Caomie (France terre d’asile) (France), Ficek RADOSLAW, Directeur de l’Accompagnement et de l’Hébergement des Demandeurs d’Asile (France terre d’asile) (France), Martial DUFOUR, Secrétaire général de l’association “Le Pied à l’Étrier” (France), Beatrix J.S. ALLAN, Cheffe de service au Peomie (France terre d’asile) (France), Sara POIMBOEUF, Directrice du Cada de Chambon (France terre d’asile) (France), Ludivine MITOUT, Directrice du Cada de Blois (France terre d’asile) (France), Gaëlle TAINMONT, Directrice du Cada de Créteil (France terre d’asile) (France), Isabelle SIGOT, Directrice du CPH (France terre d’asile) (France), Josiane HUBE, Directrice du Peomie (France terre d’asile) (France), Juliette LENGLOIS, Directrice du Cada de Massy (France terre d’asile) (France), Baptiste THOMASSIN, Responsable départemental, Directeur d’établissement, Cada de Melun France terre d’asile (France), Jean-François ROGER, Directeur d’établissement France terre d’asile (France).

Picture: Nightlights, 2002.