This crisis has solution, this is ours

This crisis has solution, this is ours
The root causes of migration have probably been the most underestimated/worst handled issue by European
leaders. For decades, regular waves of migrants and asylum seekers have risked their lives using ever riskier routes
to arrive to the European Union. They arrived from West Africa to the Canary Islands; to the Spanish enclaves in
Ceuta and Melilla; from the Libyan shores to Lampedusa and Malta; and now hundreds of thousand via Turkey to
Greece and Bulgaria.
The answer from Europe has always been the same. More money was invested in building up “fortress Europe”, in
stopping them at the borders; pushing hundreds of thousands of people in desperate need of help in the hands of
increasingly reckless and unscrupulous smugglers. Last March a boat loaded with asylum seekers sunk off the
Libyan coast. Over 700 of them were locked in the basement of the boat and drowned. Two weeks ago, a lorry was
found in Austria. 70 people of all ages died of suffocation locked in its truck. These are also the results of the
currently agreed common migration policies and the packages of national decisions that Member States are taking
on their own. This path leads us to more deaths of innocent, desperate people, more despair and suffering, more
criminality in terms of human trafficking, exploitation and black market economy and ultimately a threat to the social
cohesion of our societies.
According to the UNHCR the EU as a whole should resettle almost 1 million Syrian (Turkey alone gives shelter to
over 1.8 m) this year. EU response in late June was 2,.000. But all in all, European Member States have been
arguing about extremely low figures that will not solve situations like those we are witnessing in Calais – for too
many years – and now in the so called “Route of the Balkans”. For the coming years the number of refugees will
only increase. A European solidarity for a fair distribution of refugees is requested.
This situation is very clear when we take a closer look to the Syrian case. The civil war has set off a massive refugee
wave. Over 11 million people are affected. 7.6 million are internally displaced in the country; and 4,4 million have
fled abroad. Out of the latter, 1.16 million are in Lebanon; 1.8 million in Turkey; over 620,000 in Jordan. And only
some 300,000 in Europe, one of the wealthiest region in the world with the most rapidly aging population!
It is logical to say that no country can take in all the people in need in the world. But every country has not only the
moral obligation but has also everything to win in the long-term by contributing to helping those in need.
Therefore, at Caritas Europa we think that the approach should be based on 4 levels:
Investing in diplomatic and political measures to end war and gain sustainable peace in conflict affected
Contribute to ensuring that living conditions in refugee camps foster a further human development of the
refugees. Including school and child activities; adult education; reintegration in labour markets nearby.
Set up true safe and legal pathways to Europe, such as resettlement programmes that are adapted to the
real needs (the recently agreed 22,000 places is too low a figure compared with the real need); family
reunification and a recognition of the humanitarian visas and status across the European Union.
Accompany resettlement with efficient integration policies that foster social integration via labour
Setting up a strategy around these 4 actions framed in a people centered approach that cares for the integral
human development of everyone and wich acknowledges that means such as labour, economics and technology
are to serve our common good, will hugely contribute to avoiding the tragic events that we have been witnessing
for too many years.
The economic resources to set up such a system do exist. Decision makers have the means, they just need the
political will and courage to tackle and dismiss the loudly voices that are scapegoating migrants and refugees.
These people are not threatening any national identity, Europe’s identity is not threatened by migrants and refugees,
but by the danger of losing humanity as a core value of our culture and civilisation.
We recognise ourselves in the recent words of Msgr. Lynch, Auxiliary Bishop for Southwark, about the situation in
Calais “The crisis (…) challenges us all, both as Christians and as Europeans. We must face up to this reality at
various levels.” We need to act together now and avoid more tragic death of people in desperate need of help and