Ahead of a meeting of the European Council, five European ecumenical organisations have written to EU political leaders urging action on the refugee and migrant crisis. Eurodiaconia, the Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME), the Conference of European Churches (CEC), EU-CORD, and ACT Alliance EU call on European governments to fulfill their promises and obligations under international law.
The letter calls on the EU to increase civilian search and rescue efforts in the Mediterranean region, while at the same time creating safe and legal passages for refugees and appropriate support services once in Europe. Safe passage must include sizable refugee resettlement and humanitarian admission programmes, as well as private sponsorships and family reunion, among other mechanisms. Such an approach is necessary to prevent refugees from risking their lives or resorting to smugglers.
The refugee crisis is a challenge for both the EU and its neighbourhood, requiring extensive cooperation and collaboration with countries beyond the EU´s external borders. The letter expresses concern with the proposed EU-Turkey deal, which includes a blanket return of refugees to Turkey and a so-called ‘one in, one out’ plan for Syrian refugees, leaving out refugees from other countries, such as Afghanistan and Eritrea.
Please find the letter here (EN).