The fact that thousands of refugees are moving from Budapest to the Austrian border, on the way to Germany, and those pictures of Hungarians offering food and comfort to the refugees give us hope of a welcoming Europe, dissimilar from the cruel and indifferent one which has been shown on televisions during the last months.
There is still a long way to go: migratory flows will last for years, therefore Europe will have to change its immigration policies, and to reconsider Dublin and Schengen Agreements, in order to reach a real common foreign policy and a European asylum law.
This is the most compelling image: the refugees walking towards Austria, waving the European flag. This means that these people look on Europe as the place on earth where they can find a better life. A place where they can aim to the “right of having rights”.
Other images that prods governments out of their inactivity are the ones where hundreds of Hungarians, Austrians and Germans are helping the refugees, as well as the banners with the slogan “Refugees Welcome” displayed in several German stadiums. Or the pictures of demonstrations taking place in plenty of cities all over our continent, that show an Europe on the move to welcome refugees and migrants from beyond any border.
The decision of Austria and Germany to accept refugees and the arrival of hundreds of migrant at Munich’s station, warmly applauded by the crowd, and with all the people singing the European Ode to Joy and shouting “Germany, Germany”, is another picture of an Europe we were not used to. An Europe that we appreciate and that is able to welcome other people, tearing down all frontiers and borders.
Angela Merkel’s recent position on opening the door to Syrian refugees –even if it is biased to the detriment of refugees from other countries- has the merit of relaunching talks about European policies, in order both to review Dublin Agreements and to attain a European asylum law.
The march of refugees and migrants - a disturbing distinction, since they are all human beings like us, with the same rights of having a decent life- exposes and shames all inward-looking policies implemented by nationalists: there cannot be any wall or fence that can stop people escaping from wars, tortures and hunger. This march spells the defeat of all policies and proposal of xenophobic movements which, during an humanitarian emergency, are just able to turn our citizens against the most vulnerable. As they are unable to give a solution for the economic, ecological, and social crises (a solution that would imply big changes in our lifestyle), they can only keep shouting against a scapegoat.
Of course the Europe on the move of these days is the Europe of refugees and of European citizens helping them. A movement from bottom up that cannot hide the fact that a solution has to be found by European leaders, if only they were able to take off their nationalist and egoistic clothes, which are instead flaunted instead by the four leaders of the Visegrad group (Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia) who have confirmed in a common statement their curt no against compulsory shares of refugees. The answer to this issue cannot be other than a European answer: welcoming all the people on the run through humanitarian corridors and enforcing European asylum right.
The events of the latest years and the worsening of the migratory flows management in the last months show us that individual European national states are not able to find reliable solutions, as is clearly testified by the millions of deaths on the sea and terrestrial routes towards Europe.
Only in a politically united Europe and with an European democratic government under the control of the European Parliament can an appropriate response be effected : we should be aware that there are neither shortcuts nor alternatives. Those who preach a comeback of the absolute national sovereignty –an “antihistorical” solution, and an inefficient one to meet the challenges of the globalization process that we cannot stop but just try to manage- are only dreamers.
The great truth that these images of refugees on the move from Hungary to Germany, waving the European flag, reveal to us is that there is a historical need for building the European Federation. Before this struggle all dwarfs of European politics disappear: Le Pen, Salvini, Farange, Grillo, Orban; and then the giants of the United States of Europe project arise: Spinelli, Rossi and Colorni. Now the pages written during the exile in Ventotene island “For a free and united Europe” are relevant more than ever.
More than seventy years after the Ventotene Manifesto a burst of pride for us Europeans is required in order to build a new Europe: a Europe 2.0 -as the Italian President of the Chamber of Representative Laura Boldrini said at the the United Nations headquarters in New York- that could arise from the thrust of refugees and migrants dreaming a better life in our continent.
September 6th, 2015
Translated by Cecilia Gialdini and Francesca Lacaita.