Can Europe Make It?

Open Letter to the EU, EU Member-States and the Extraordinary Justice and Home Affairs Council called for September 14, 2015

The undersigned researchers, faculty, staff and alumni of the European University Institute wish to express our outrage at the deaths of thousands of people on their journey to Europe.

European University Institute undersigned
12 September 2015
Graffiti by the artist BLU in Morocco, close to the border with Melilla.

Graffiti by the artist BLU in Morocco, close to the border with Melilla.We call on the European Union and member states to act immediately on this humanitarian disaster, while also recognising the need for a change in longstanding western policies in the Middle East and Africa, which are at the root of the current crisis. In doing so, we join the wave of popular solidarity that is sweeping Europe and call upon the EU states to take urgent and decisive measures to tackle this crisis. 

The sheer scale of displacement is in itself shocking - some 4 million Syrians alone, of whom the majority have fled to neighbouring countries. Those attempting to reach Europe overland via Turkey, and from the North African coast are often fleeing violent conflict and its long-term consequences: poverty, civil war, deprivation, despotic governments. The foreign and immigration policies of the European Union have driven thousands to seek alternative and dangerous ways of gaining entry to Europe. The spectre of overcrowded, sinking vessels and drowned people washing up on European shores is inseparable from inhumane political and legal frameworks, which prevent their rescue and integration in EU countries. 

Europe cannot be conceived of in isolation from its relationship with the rest of the world. It is clear that free movement within the Schengen zone is predicated on the tightening of external borders. As beneficiaries of a liberal, democratic, borderless Europe, it is crucial that we recognise that this co-exists with a second enclosed, militarised and violent Fortress Europe. While the global South is forced to accept the removal of borders for western capital, they are faced with borders for human beings. We stand against the foreign policies of western governments which, in the short-term, have caused the displacement of millions across the Middle East and Africa, and which in the long-term have created political instability and economic underdevelopment. Moreover, the immediate response to the recent plight of hundreds of thousands of refugees has been inadequate at best, and disastrous at worst. At the same time, European governments have increased scaremongering and xenophobic tactics which preclude any reimagining of migration based on human dignity rather than economic exploitation.

To begin with, refugees should be allocated more fairly and evenly across member states. This means an EU-wide migration policy with binding obligations on states to host refugees according to their wealth and size. Under the current voluntary scheme, agreed to by the European Commission in May, governments have been able to shamefully evade their moral responsibilities. This has meant that some countries are leading the way in offering sanctuary, while others, such as the UK, have offered only repression or paltry mean-spirited gestures of support. According to some surveys, over two thirds of Europeans would support a shared EU migration policy making this a realistic and achievable short-term response to the unfolding crisis.

It is for these reasons that European states, and the European Union as a whole, must take responsibility for its contributions, present and historical, to the continuing devastation of human life in Africa and the Middle East. What we are calling for is both an immediate response to the present crisis and a long-term political project, which is not predicated on international warmongering and financial exploitation, but rather on the prioritisation of the basic needs of all human life.

On the basis of this assessment, we propose a set of concrete measures to address both the humanitarian and political crisis:

1. Provide food, shelter and medical assistance to the thousands of women, men and children currently arriving in Europe.

2. A common European hosting policy based on wealth and country size. National egotism cannot dictate EU policies.

3. Repeal immediately the “Dublin III Regulation” under which asylum seekers are forcefully deported to their point of entry. A principled policy should rest on shared responsibilities among all European parties.

4. Vigorously condemn all individual, group and state level acts of xenophobia, racism and violence. In particular, we address the Hungarian authorities directly by saying: “Mr. Orban tear down that wall of shame!”. Our Europe is not a walled fortress!

5. Call for an international conference, under the auspices of the UN, to launch an integrated humanitarian and economic assistance programme in the countries of origin of the refugees and neighbouring areas, discriminating positively on the basis of their respective human rights records.

Graffiti by the artist BLU in Morocco, detail.

Graffiti by the artist BLU in Morocco, detail.

1.  Diego Acosta

2.  Siobhan Airey

3.  Guy Aitchison

4.  Daniela Alaattinoglu

5.  Matteo Albanese

6.  Xavi Alcalde

7.  Hannah al-Hassan Ali

8.  Francisco Alonso

9.  Chiara Altafin

10.  Argyrios Altiparmakis

11.  Brais Alvarez-Pereira

12.  Aurelie Andry

13.  Albert Arcarons

14.  Nicholas Barrett

15.  Laura Bartolini

16.  Emily Baughan

17.  Margot Béal

18.  María Inés Berniell

19.  Federiga Bindi

20.  Thibaud Boncourt

21.  Oscar Lema Bouza

22.  Dorit Brixius

23.  Jelle Bruinsma

24.  Luc Brunet

25.  Anita Buhin

26.  Kateryna Burkush

27.  Reto Bürgisser

28.  Pietro Castelli

29.  Semih Çelik

30.  Matteo Cernison

31.  Anna Elizabeth Chadwick

32.  Leiry Cornejo Chavez

33.  Daniela Chironi

34.  Lorenzo Cini

35.  Miguel Serra Coelho

36.  Iftah Cohen

37.  Chiara Ludovica Comolli

38.  Federica Copola

39.  Guillemette Crouzet

40.  Donagh Davis

41.  François Delerue

42.  Donatella Della Porta

43.  Chares Demetriou

44.  Koen Docter

45.  David Do Paço

46.  Alexis Drach

47.  Eliska Drapalova

48.  Vedran Duančić

49.  Konstantinos Eleftheriadis

50.  Miguel Palou Espinosa

51.  Irene Otero Fernandez

52.  Roel Frakking

53.  Caterina Froio

54.  Martín Portos García

55.  Grigol Gegelia

56.  Johanna Gereke

57.  Theresa Gessler

58.  Rosa Gilbert

59.  Tommaso Giordani

60.  Itzea Goicolea-Amiano

61.  Alexander Golovlev

62.  Christelle Gomis

63.  Pablo Gracia

64.  Ieva Grumbinaitė

65.  Lola Guyot

66.  Lucrecia Rubio Grundell

67.  Caterina Francesca Guidi

68.  Sandra Hagman

69.  Bogumila Hall

70.  Emily Hancox

71.  Mari Torsdotter Hauge

72.  John-Erik Hansson

73.  Dónal Hassett

74.  Florian Hertel

75.  Masaaki Higashijima

76.  Christine Hobden

77.  Bram Hoonhout

78.  Dr. Neil Howard

79.  Pavlina Hubkova

80.  Swen Hutter

81.  Haakon Andreas Ikonomou

82.  Ola Morris Innset

83.  Johannes Jüde

84.  Jennie Sejr Junghans

85.  Kirsten Kamphuis

86.  Anna Kandyla

87.  Marianna Karttunen

88.  Kateryna Kolesnyk

89.  Hara Kouki

90.  Johanne Kuebler

91.  Katharina Kuffner

92.  Matthijs Kuipers

93.  Joldon Kutmanaliev

94.  Joseph Lacey

95.  Hugo Leal

96.  Katharina Lenner

97.  Ludvig Lundstedt

98.  Sabrina Marchetti

99.  Kimon Markatos

100. Bruno Andre Casal Nunes Martinho

101. Tiago (Manuel) Matos

102. Alfredo Mazzamauro

103. Patrick McDonagh

104. Liam McHugh-Russell

105. Mariana Mendes

106. Elie Michel

107. Chiara Milan

108. Ismay Milford

109. Debora Milito

110. Pierre Monforte

111. Mayo Fuster Morell

112. Jotte Mulder

113. Thuc Linh Nguyen Vu

114. Emma Ní Niatháin

115. Frank O’Connor

116. Didem Oral

117. Stefano Osella

118. Virginia Passalacqua 

119. Marie Petersmann

120. Bilyana Petkova

121. Zane Rasnaca

122. Dieter Reinisch

123. Anna Subirats Ribas

124. Noelle Richardson

125. Marco Rizzi

126. Arturo Rodríguez

127. Jerome Roos

128. Julia Rone

129. Suzan Meryem Rosita

130. Jan Rybak

131. Julija Sardelić

132. Pablo Hernández Sau

133. Grazia Sciacchitano

134. Francesca Scrinzi

135. Frederico Ferreira da Silva

136. Nagwan Soliman

137. George Souvlis

138. Maja Spanu

139. Maria Luisa Stasi

140. Ivan Stefanovski 

141. Elias Steinhilper

142. Olivia Arigho Stiles

143. Trond Ove Tøllefsen 

144. Anna Triandafyllidou

145. Milla Vaha

146. Dimitri Van Der Meersche

147. Guido van Meersbergen

148. Sasa Vejzagic

149. Ilaria Vianello

150. Markos Vogiatzoglou

151. Esther Wahlen

152. Solongo Wandan

153. Patrice Wangen

154. Manès Weisskircher

155. Karin Westerbeek

156. Raphaële Xenidis

157. Olga Yakushenko

158. Musab Younis 

159. Lorenzo Zamponi 

160. Uros Zver

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