Editorial by AEDH President – For a Europe welcoming migrants

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Brussels 19 June 2018 – While our governments no longer have solutions and compromise our fundamental values, it is time for decision-makers to take the consultation of citizens into account in their discussions! Sign the European Citizens Initiative #WelcomingEurope!

It is one of the “flagship” instruments of participatory democracy at the European level. The European Citizens Initiative (ECI) allows its organizers to present their draft initiative to the European Parliament. Hence, on paper, the ECI offers European citizens the opportunity to carry out projects often neglected by the European institutions. Such an initiative must, however, meet a number of criteria; for example, collect a minimum of one million signatures from at least seven EU Member States (for more information on EU legislation on ECI click here). While the European Parliament’s Constitutional Affairs Committee will vote on a report on the reform of the ECI on 20 June 2018, 65 civil society organizations, including AEDH, have called upon the European Parliament to ensure that any successful ECI is debated and voted in plenary before the Commission adopts its formal answer. For now, “successful” ECIs can only hope for a response from the Commission, an answer that not only takes several months to arrive but also lacks transparency. This disconnect leads to a mismatch between the citizens’ expectations and the reality of “successful” ECIs, hence the need to reform the instrument. However, the current disconnect shall not prevent European citizens from showing their commitment to this instrument of European participatory democracy by participating in ECI campaigns.

#WelcomingEurope, why to sign?

For several years now, European citizens from different backgrounds have been mobilising to support migrant people. But in the eyes of our leaders, this solidarity is a crime. Today, in Europe, thousands of supportive citizens risk fines or prison sentences because they helped those fleeing all kind of violence. This is not the Europe we want! Those acts of solidarity are a reflection of European traditions of humanism and generosity, and they must be recognized as such! That’s why the Migration Policy Group launched the first ECI for a #WelcomingEurope and AEDH joined the action! With this petition we demand that the Commission and the European Parliament respond to our requests. Ask the European Commission to put an end to “solidarity crimes”, to support the citizens who offer new homes and new lives to the refugees, to ensure more effective means and rules to defend all victims of exploitation and crime.

This ECI is an opportunity to express yourself and push for an European migration policy, open and respectful of rights

So, do not wait any longer, sign the #WelcomingEurope initiative and share it!