DiEM25’s response to the European Council: a coherent, human, effective migration policy

The 28 governments meeting in Brussels for the last European Council summit have abdicated their moral and political responsibility towards Europe’s citizens and towards future generations. A reckless non-agreement on the reform of the Dublin treaty has yielded:

  • Ongoing deaths in the Mediterranean Sea
  • Criminalisation of NGOs working to save human lives
  • Focusing discussions on how to deal with “secondary movements”, so that all the weight of welcoming, hosting and eventually integrating migrants relies on southern European countries such as Italy and Greece;
  • An agreement on the need for unanimity for any reform of the Dublin Treaty, a move that guarantees the impossibility of any progressive reform

No concrete solution has been advanced for a humane and effective management of migration flows. The governments of European countries are instead bowing to a reciprocal blame-game that instrumentally uses migrants for petty electoral gains.
The diplomatic failure of Salvini’s and Conte’s government further shows that different nationalist agendas cannot produce coherent pan-European policies. The “nationalist international” has nothing to offer but human misery for all – migrants and citizens alike.
Concrete alternatives exist. The European Parliament has recently issues a substantial resolution presenting a coherent, functional reform to the Dublin Treaty. Europe’s only elected transnational body has done what 27 petty national elites have failed to achieve: guarantee the common interests of Europeans. It is clearer than ever that reckless national elites, reckless national governments, and an undemocratic inter-governmental system is leading the European Union on a path to disintegration.
DiEM25, together with its transnational list European Spring, has prepared a comprehensive policy programme on migration and refugees that we will bring to the entire European electorate during the May 2019 European elections. This programme, together with the full programme of our transnational list, will be placed in public consultation shortly.
Our proposals for a comprehensive, humane, and effective European migration policy are as follows:
European Common Asylum System

  1. Our New Deal aims to create a more just global society, with less conflict, lower inequality, and fewer causes of involuntary migration. But we must also be prepared to welcome newcomers to Europe, support their transition into our societies, and build a new future together.
  2. This process begins with emergency measures to address Europe’s humanitarian crisis. More than 500,000 migrants arrived in Europe through the Mediterranean in the last two years — one in four of which are children. We must come together to formulate an effective pan-European response.
  3. We are calling for the establishment of a pan-European Common Asylum System in full respect of the TFEU, the charter of fundamental rights, the Geneva Convention and other international law obligations. The system will require all Europeans to respect the internationally protected right of non-refoulement, which forbids Europe from returning asylum-seekers to a country in which they would be in likely danger of persecution.
  4. Instead, European countries will facilitate mutual recognition of asylum decisions and the swift transfer of protection statuses so that refugees and asylum-seekers can settle where they have better prospects for employment, stronger family ties, or better language skills. We call for the implementation of the EU Joint Refugee Resettlement Programme, which provides support to Member States that volunteer to welcome refugees.
  5. Detention centres must be closed down. Reception facilities must improve. And authorities must guarantee access to physical and mental healthcare for all newcomers — with EU funding conditional on compliance.

Integration & Investment Programme

  1. Our challenge is not only to welcome newcomers — but also to build their ties with communities across Europe. We believe that we must consider the rights and needs of host communities just as much as those of the migrants. No successful inclusion or integration process is possible otherwise. Integration is a two-sided process.
  2. We will introduce a new Integration and Investment Programme that directs EU funding to municipalities that welcome newcomers into their communities. New funds will be earmarked for programmes that support (i) economic integration into local economies, (ii) celebration of culture, of all members of the community, and (iii) mixed social housing projects that help bridge new and older communities.
  3. We will also fight to include the newcomers into EU politics in their actual places of residence. Despite the fact that millions of EU-migrants, refugees, and newcomers pay their taxes, they do not get to enjoy the full rights of their residence. They are excluded from political decisions that will determine their futures in fundamental ways. We will fight for all newcomers to enjoy full voting rights after a minimum period of residency, including a right to vote in national elections and referenda as well as a right to stand for elections.

Ending Fortress Europe

  1. While promoting intervention against authoritarian regimes, many Member-States continue to cut backdoor deals with despots to keep asylum-seekers out of Europe. We must create new avenues for legal migration, and we must end the exportation of migration control.
  2. We will fight to allow job-seeker Schengen visas to be granted by EU consulates all around the world, creating safe, legal, and open avenues for newcomers to pursue opportunities in Europe. We will also support the establishment of an International Humanitarian Passport for the most vulnerable categories of refugees.
  3. At the same time, we are calling for the termination of the EU-Turkey Refugee Deal that has pushed asylum-seekers back into peril in the countries from which they fled. We will also call for an end to deals with Libyan local authorities and militias, and to the termination of the agreements for the training and equipment of the Libyan coastguards. The same must apply to the backdoor agreements with the corrupt, authoritarian governments of Chad and Niger.
  4. We are calling for the establishment of a European Search and Rescue Operation (ESRO) geared at saving, welcoming, and introducing migrants to Europe. With the ESRO, we call for the immediate suspension of any externalisation of EU borders and migration controls, to comply with its responsibility to allow all people to request protection on European territory. We will increase cooperation with and funding of International Organisations working with refugees (UNHCR) and migrants (IOM), while demanding increased accountability and exerting a stronger supervision of the implementation of their principles in their activities. We will support civil society organisations working with migrants and potential migrants in their countries of origin and countries of transit.

Read the full European Spring programme here.

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