Following its visit in Malta, one of the European countries most affected by migratory inflows, the European Forum for Urban Security’s Executive Committee adopted a resolution calling for the European Union and its Member states to share the responsibility of welcoming migrants and helping them to integrate.
“Taking responsibility for migrants should be realized
on a European scale”
Resolution of the Efus Executive Committee
Following from the conference in Malta, and the resolution adopted in Vienna 2011, the Executive Committee of the European Forum for Urban Security affirms that all EU countries require assistance in dealing with the humanitarian crisis caused by large migration inflows. They also call for the joint responsibility of member countries in managing this phenomenon.
Firstly, it should be emphasized that these migratory flows are primarily a humanitarian issue and not a security one.
Malta, amongst other border countries, has recently received an increased inflow of migrants especially due to the popular uprisings in the Middle East during 2011. The European Forum recognises the efforts made by the Maltese authorities in managing this phenomenon, and particularly congratulates them on knowing how to approach migratory issues in a non-partisan way. Still, the Executive Committee recalls the importance of continuing to work hard in compliance with the 2003/9/CE Directive on the acceptance of asylum seekers.
The European Forum expresses the need to reconsider European regulations on asylum. They support the European Commission’s efforts in reviewing Dublin II with the aim of creating a Common European Asylum System (CEAS). Currently, even though borders are perceived as European and no longer national, the system establishes that those seeking asylum must stop at the first country of arrival. The new initiative proposes that they should be shared out and welcomed over the entire EU territory.
To alleviate humanitarian crises linked to migration, efforts should be made in each EU country to reduce the causes. This could be carried out by improving synergies between the departments of home affairs and foreign aid. This would create the necessary conditions to allow potential asylum seekers to remain in their home country and not risk their lives travelling to another.
Each EU country should accept to take responsibility for some of the migrants in order to relieve the countries with the highest influxes. They must recognise their responsibility with regards to the reception, but also the integration, of the migrants. A distinction should be made between migrants, illegal migrants and refugees; each receiving a different kind of intervention. Distinction must also be made between the different stages of receiving migrants: initial reception, relocation and/or integration. Each stage should be better supported by the EU. Efus underlines the importance of sharing out financial means. Support provided for controlling borders should be accompanied by support in receiving migrants and training the key stakeholders.
Knowledge should be increased at national, regional and local government levels. Particular emphasis should be placed on informing local city authorities of migratory trends and flows as well as educating civil society in order to reduce discrimination and xenophobia.
Members of the European Forum are prepared to provide assistance and engage in a process of mutual aid with regards to the integration of migrants. The Forum’s expert knowledge in urban security will help the implementation of policies that target peaceful cohabitation and integration of migrants into local communities.
The European Forum emphasizes the need to set up integration devices. Whether they stay in their country of arrival, are relocated to another European country, or return to their country of origin, migrants should be helped to develop their skills in integrating into a new environment. Numbers of migrants sent to detention centres should be kept at a strict minimum since it is neither in their interests nor in the interests of their future host society.
European cities can help each other by raising awareness of this phenomenon amongst their populations and by training key stakeholders. They can also support each other in the way they deal with emergencies, but also in the way they develop sustainable solutions. Through their collaboration they will also aim to improve refugee’s conditions, to prevent the sense of insecurity amongst the population, often caused by a lack of communication, and finally to reduce the risk that refugees are exploited by organised crime structures.
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