As Europe continues to receive thousands of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, Justice and Home Affairs Ministers are preparing to meet to discuss the crisis next week. On Wednesday at the European Parliament, Jean-Claude Juncker called for mandatory sharing of people across Member States but was quite vague on what else might be done to ensure a humane, dignified and rights-based approach to migration, asylum and those looking for refuge in Europe.
As a result, Eurodiaconia, along with our ecumenical partners – Conference of European Churches, Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe, Act Alliance EU and EU CORD – have addressed EU Justice and Home Affairs Ministers. As we state in our common letter, we, along with many people in Europe and the rest of the world, cannot accept the deaths, destitution and dehumanization across our Union, all of which are a direct result of asylum and migration policies that are unrealistic, not focused on human beings and lacking in solidarity. The resulting loss of life or social and economic deprivation experienced by those coming to Europe have shown the urgent need for the European Union and its Member States to agree and act on a new approach to asylum and migration whether it be towards economic migrants, refugees or asylum seekers.
You can read the full letter and we hope to see some response to our requests in the coming days.
Of course, as all the political advocacy goes on in Brussels and in Member States, and we know many of our members are involved in that, we should not forget all the practical work carried out by Eurodiaconia members all over Europe. We know they are running reception centres, providing psychological and health care, meeting needs for food, clothes, shelter and company among many other things. This week the Eurodiaconia team volunteered for half a day in a refugee camp in Brussels and saw first-hand the needs of people arriving in Europe’s capital from Syria, Iraq, Somalia and Eritrea. It is both humbling and inspiring and we hope it will encourage us to work even more for a hospitable Europe for all.