Governments are struggling to handle migration. Most of us want to help people in need because we care. Millions have stood up to help. Now we want to be heard. Let’s reclaim a Welcoming Europe!
While majorities across Europe can support migration and refugees, most NGOs have not mobilised these supporters and volunteers to support their advocacy asks. Most campaigns focus on securing awareness-raising and donations. EU and national migration policies will only get worse if policymakers think that the far-right is the only actor able to mobilise and communicate with the public on migration.
EU migration and social NGOs, coordinated by Migration Policy Group for the EU NGO Platform on Asylum and Migration (EPAM), have taken two years to prepare a strategically timed European Citizens’ Initiative.
We have consulted dozens upon dozens of NGOs and interviewed previous European Citizens Initiatives (ECI) about their strategies and recommendations.
The best national coordinators have already been secured, and more than 130 organisations are launching the campaign in 15 EU member states.
The migration sector and mainstream NGOs are finally coming together around a common campaign goal to engage the public and transform EU migration policy.
What do we want to achieve?
Strategically, this ECI comes at the perfect time. The May/June 2019 European Parliament elections are the next major opportunity to change the EU’s migration policies.
Our asks focus on community sponsorship, decriminalising humanitarian help to migrants and asylum-seekers and defending victims of labour exploitation and human rights abuses.
The election advocacy will target the likely kingmakers and Lead Candidates in the EP and the new EC.
For more information on the specific asks of the ECI, click here.
What is an ECI?
The European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) is the most visible tool for direct democracy in Europe. ECIs can generate significant media and informal political pressure in specific countries.
If 1 million signatures are obtained within a year from EU citizens in at least seven states, then the formal political pressure increases as the European Parliament must offer a public hearing to the sponsors and the European Commission is obliged to consider the proposal.
Why is an ECI an appropriate tool for a European campaign on migration?
In order to mobilise public support for migration and asylum, more is needed than an advocacy campaign or awareness-raising actions.
Concerned citizens need a clear message and concrete way that brings their demands to national and EU policymakers.
The ECI can generate more public support than traditional campaigns thanks to its Europe-wide and compelling character. The tool is also well designed to rally people across Europe into a movement with a common goal.
If endorsed by many high profile organisations and individuals, an ECI will trigger debate and pressure on politicians at all levels around civil society’s most important common goals.
This ECI will allow NGOs across Europe to develop messages that work and databases of volunteers and signatures for mobilisation in the future at local, national or EU level around other migration policy changes.
#WelcomingEurope is the first and only EU-wide ECI campaign to unite various NGOs working in the migration sector to amplify our voices and be heard.
If 1 million EU citizens sign the petition from at least 7-EU member states, the European Commission will be obliged to hear our demands.