#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.
Our calls for more action from the EU
1. Increase resettlement and legal/safe pathways
The European Commission should enable European citizens and organisations to sponsor additional refugees and provide them with safe and orderly ways to build a new life and integrate with local communities. Resettlement funding under the European Asylum Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) is only directed to Member State governments, who lack clear definitions and standards for community sponsorship1. Although AMIF is the key EU fund for supporting reception and early integration, local authorities and non-governmental actors face many obstacles to access the fund. AMIF will undergo a mid-term review and further revision after 2020.
We call upon the European Commission to amend regulation (eu) no 516/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council to include:
- A new direct budget line in AMIF for community sponsorship with an additional €10,000 per refugee for civil society sponsors and their capacity-building and training.
- A definition of community sponsorship eligible for AMIF funds.
2. Empower European citizens’ and their right to help refugees and migrants
Citizens and volunteers across Europe should never be punished or criminalised when they provide humanitarian help for refugees and those in need. Due to ambiguity in the EU’s Facilitations Directive on the distinction between trafficking, smuggling and humanitarian assistance, 12 EU Member States have been able to criminalise humanitarians2 – a situation the European Commission has refused to rectify. The Commission reports that a majority of stakeholders were in favour of a revision of the Directive to ensure that humanitarian assistance is never a punishable offence.
We call the European Commission to amend the current EU Facilitations Directive (2002/90/EC) in order to include:
- Amendment to article 1(2) of the EU Facilitations Directive to prevent Member States from imposing sanctions on individuals or NGOs that provide assistance on a non-profit basis and humanitarian assistance at entry to those in need.
- Amendment to article 1(1) of the EU Facilitations Directive to specify that only the production, procurement, provision and possession of fraudulent documents for financial benefit may be criminalised, and not all assistance for financial gain.
- New article requiring the EU to provide guidance to Member States to ensure that all service providers are not required to report undocumented migrants they encounter when providing assistance (e.g. provision of emergency shelter, food, healthcare and other necessities).
3. Uphold fundamental rights in the EU
European citizens want and need systems that protect all people, regardless of their status, enabling them to seek justice when they are the victims of human rights abuses. Most migrants who are targets of trafficking, crimes or human rights abuses do not submit complaints or get justice because complaints mechanisms under EU law are not effective and support from third parties is not sufficient. The main problems revolve around the risk that victims will be detained and deported because of their immigration status, challenges around proof and receiving any compensation awarded, lack of legal assistance, and absence of resources for monitoring and enforcement systems.
We call on the European Commission to:
- Strictly enforce that all Member States to develop effective labour complaints mechanisms and safe police reporting, making full use of the provisions in the relevant EU directives.
- Fully implement a transparent and effective complaint mechanism for the European Border and Coast Guards Agency for victims and third parties.
- Annual reporting of EU-wide disaggregated data on the effective complaints mechanisms.
- Following the REFIT, consider new legislation to address the gaps in the EU legal migration framework in the regulation of critical medium-and-low qualified sectors and guarantee equal treatment for these workers to avoid labour exploi