Blog by YES Vice President Michelle Rauschkolb: “What we need is a compulsory migration policy in Europe”

This week on the December the 18th it was International Migrants Day. Worldwide over 65.6 million forcibly displaced people are on the move to find a new home. 22,5 million refugees have fled as a result of war, conflict or because of economic or climatic changes that have destroyed their home, to start their life threatening journey hoping for a better future.

Thousands of asylum seekers are trapped on Greece’s islands right now or in camps in Libya, Lebanon or Turkey just to name some of the countries that have earned the title of top hosting countries in this bizarre situation.

What we need is  a compulsory migration policy in Europe, it is unacceptable that some member states of the EU deny their responsibility and still refuse to give migrants refuge. Statements such as Donald Tusk’s who condemned migrant quotas  as “ineffective and divisive “ at the EU summit last week or by the former prime minister of Slovakia, one of the Visegrad states, saying that “the EU must seek a solution for migration outside its borders” are a disgrace. It is no option to return to the pre-quota model of uncoordinated actions made by the national states.

In the last few weeks we have seen videos of migrants being sold as slaves in Libya and heard reports of migrants of rape, abuse and ill treatment in camps. These human rights violations have to stop and it is not a solution to just shift the European border, invest in new border fences, cooperating with dictators and let other countries do the dirty work.

There has to be a European response of solidarity. The EU member states with southern borders such as Italy, Greece or Spain cannot and should not be handling the integration of thousands of migrants all by themselves.

Between January and July 2017 at least 2500 people died in the Mediterranean Sea trying to seek refuge in Europe. There are many measures how to prevent these life threatening journeys.

Since the European sea rescue mission was cancelled NGOs try to ensure that someone is taking responsibility if the European member states refuse to do so. Humanitarian aid on the Mediterranean sea is no criminal act. The Libyan coast guards should not receive any money from the EU if they do not stop their attacks on NGO’s. Missions like Mare Nostrum need to be renewed if we want to prevent our shores from turning into a mass burial site.

Concerning the inclusion of people who were granted asylum we need to make sure that they do not fall prey to organized crime and face discrimination in our societies. This is why a reform of the Dublin II regulations and a EU asylum policy based on solidarity is needed.

Furthermore we have to take a closer look at deep rooted and long term causes that risk the lives of a population. In particular the causes of the conflicts regarding resources and the collapse of the state have to be considered in more detail. Therefore it is necessary to safeguard the implementation of human rights that need to be secured particularly in times of war or other types of crisis. We cannot let the right wing parties dominate the discourse by promoting the prevention of migration.

Migration is not the problem but the unequal distribution of wealth is. Instead of blaming migrants for social injustices we need to remind people of the roots of poverty and starvation namely the neoliberal economy policy in times of capitalism.

If we take a look at the trade policy that is highly unjust, a development cooperation that is not sustainable, in corruption, the trade with basic food staples and water as well as the resulting shortage of resources. Today’s social hierarchy and climatic and environmental changes have a negative impact. The consequent poverty represents a self reproducing social situation. Unstable economy, fragile states and governments and the absence of public services as well as the lack of access to educational institutions and lack of accessible medical care worsen the situation of people living in poverty. The bad working conditions –predominantly in transnational companies of the global north but also in the companies of local employers- prevent people from developing perspectives for a better future. As the lack of perspectives is dominating the lives of the people they flee and accept a life threatening journey hoping for an ensured livelihood

We have to redefine the discourse because of the historic, political and economic responsibility of Europe regarding the fighting of causes for migration. We are aware that the fight for the right to stay and the right to move are long term projects but for us Young European Socialists the debate of migrant issues represents a central feature of our fight for a better life for all people.


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