Let’s Open a New Phase of European Migration Policies Based on Rights

Press Release from the European Movement – Italian Council

The idea of stopping the migratory flows of women, minors and men – who flee from regions where people are dying of war, hunger, environmental disasters and expropriation of farmers’ land to introduce the same forms of intensive agriculture that are destroying the environment of developed countries – is progressively conquering almost all the governments of the European Union, who adopt or spread the false narrative according to which these flows largely exceed our economic, social and cultural capacities for reception, hospitality and integration.

Associated with this narrative is the idea that the increase in migratory flows is caused by the appealing factors (pull factors) of our migration policies, and not by the factors that push people to flee (push factors), and that the flows must be blocked at the origin or, better yet, in the transit countries towards the European Union which, hypocritically, governments consider as “safe countries”.

On the basis of this narrative, the European Commission and the Council have shared, facilitated or promoted agreements first with Turkey and then with Libya, not to mention Chad and Niger, where it is well-known that people who have the right to international protection are subjected to inhumane treatments in total disregard of international law and the Charter of Fundamental Rights, which also applies to asylum seekers.

The recent memorandum of understanding between the European Union and Tunisia signed in Carthage by a heterodox and self-established “Team Europe” – considered by Giorgia Meloni as a great success of the Italian government, but also as a model for the relations with Africa, and endorsed at the same time by Ursula von der Leyen, seeking re-election as President of the European Commission, and by the outgoing Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte – not only is written in the sand because the European financial assistance to Tunisia is at least hypothetical for now, being conditioned by an even more hypothetical agreement with the IMF, but because it is based on the support to the internationally discredited Tunisian government and on the violent naval blockade of the Tunisian coast conducted by Matteo Piantedosi, Italian Minister of Interior Affairs, and his Tunisian colleague Kamel Fekih.

For now, no one in Brussels, in Strasbourg, in Vienna or in Warsaw or in Geneva – neither the Council, nor the European Parliament, nor the European Agency for Fundamental Rights, nor Frontex, nor UNHCR for Europe – has authorized or endorsed the memorandum of understanding, and indeed the European Parliament recently adopted a resolution in which the European policy in the Mediterranean is harshly condemned because in violation of international and European norms.

In these days, many non-governmental organizations are meeting in Tunis to condemn the European policies adopted in violation of human rights, and to denounce the violence of the Al-Saied regime, while the Africa Counter Summit is taking place in Rome on the theme “No deals on our skin[i], in parallel with the International Conference on Migration convened in Rome by the Italian government to consolidate and make more rigid the policy of blocking the flow of asylum seekers, in an unacceptable line of continuity with the bilateral agreements signed with Turkey, with Libya and now with Tunisia. At the same time, the Italian Association for Legal Studies on Immigration (ASGI) has released a text denouncing the memorandum of understanding signed between the European Union and Tunisia.

The European Movement shares the condemnation and denunciation of the non-governmental organizations and asks the European Parliament to urge the European Commission to renounce the memorandum of understanding with Tunisia, in order to initiate a new phase of European migration policies based on human dignity and the respect for fundamental rights.

[i] https://www.movimentoeuropeo.it/images/articoli/NO_AL_MEMORANDUM_CON_LA_TUNISIA_21.07.2023_ENG.pdf

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