- Migrants : dix raisons (et plus) de les accueillir dignement en Europe et d’ouvrir les frontières
(Authors: François Gemenne & Michel Agier; Jean Gadrey. Blog di Jean Gadrey, Alternatives Economiques)
This article has no time for those fastidious distinctions between refugees in general (“a problem anyway”), Syrian refugees in particular (“Ok, welcome, if Merkel says so. Up Merkel!”), and economic migrants (responses to whom range from “Go back where you come from, you benefit scroungers” to “But we can’t let them all in!”) which you will find in mainstream media and political discourse. The authors make a fair-and-square case for an open-border policy. Can we really pretend we are in no way involved in the causes of mass migration – wars, conflicts, tyranny, oppression, starvation, poverty, climate catastrophes? Who can distinguish between “justified” and “unjustified” reasons for migrating? Is it only people from the North and the West of the world who should be free to pursue a better life elsewhere? “Help them in their own country”, it is frequently said. Quite apart from the fact that war and destruction have made this argument laughable in most cases, haven’t remittances from emigrants often played a major part in the economic development of a country? Nor would the countries of origin be the sole beneficiaries of the economic effects of migration – think of the financing of a starved and ailing welfare state, if that is still a priority for European policy-makers and voters alike.
More in general, the authors argue for the end of a “prohibitionist” approach, which would finally put an end to trafficking and free migrants from that condition of blackmail, subjection, vulnerability which “illegality” always entails. And then there is the question of rights which people in the West are very reluctant to acknowledge. Curiously, the very West which thought nothing of unclenching a couple of “humanitarian wars”, ostensibly to defend human rights, is apt to forget Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which says in Clause 2:
Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country”.
Far from being a luxury or a crime, migrating is actually a human right.
Finally, the authors put forward the argument of the inherent unity of humankind. It must never again happen, as back in the 1930s, that whole categories of people are branded as “undesirables”. It is up to us to relaunch humanism as a political value, and not just hot air.
From this we would also like to draw a conclusion of our own. There is indeed no contradiction between the case for open borders on the one hand and the principle of free circulation in of people in the EU and European citizenship rights on the other hand (which are at present under attack, especially on the part of the UK). The latter without the former are precarious and ultimately questionable. Indeed, it is the belief in the inherent unity of humankind which at the end of the day will hold “Europe” together and make it develop as a civic and political project.
In the meantime…
The European Parliament is trying to amend the European Commission’s plan on which the Council of the Ministers of the Interior reached an agreement in July. MEPs want to re-open the discussion on the number of refugees, want refugees quotas for European countries to be binding and permanent, want to be involved in the application of these regulations, and not simply consulted, and finally they want refugees to be able to express their interests and preferences in the relocation to EU countries. If you can read Italian, read the interview to Green MEP Ska Keller here http://www.europainmovimento.eu/europa/keller-verdi-il-sistema-delle-quote-di-asilanti-diventi-permanente-e-vincolante.htmlkeller-verdi-il-sistema-delle-quote-di-asilanti-diventi-permanente-e-vincolante.html.
As we favour a policy of open borders, we also support this campaign demanding safe transportation to Europe for refugees, so that they can enter the EU legally: http://www.socialeurope.eu/2015/09/open-letter-europeans-unite-to-help-refugees/ .
No more victims in the Mediterranean Sea and on European roads! Support it too!