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Statement from the Welcoming Europe Alliance (WEA) regarding the Ukrainian refugee crisis

WEA statement March 2022

The Welcoming Europe Alliance (WEA), a network of grassroot NGOs across Europe that campaigns for a more ‘Welcoming Europe’, has issued the following statement:

Statement from the Welcoming Europe Alliance (WEA) regarding the Ukrainian refugee crisis 

Grassroot NGOs across Europe applaud the welcoming response of EU member states to refugees from Ukraine and call for this solidarity to be extended to all refugees. 

BRUSSELS 14 March 2022 — In recent weeks, Europe has been reminded of the full horror of war, with Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine and the bombing of civilian populations, hospitals, and schools, leading to at least 1,300 civilian casualties (UNHCR). 

The subsequent exodus of over two million refugees (UNHCR) has, however, been met by an extraordinary display of solidarity, with EU member states opening their borders to Ukrainian refugees by activating the Temporary Protection Directive in record time. 

Members of the Welcoming Europe Alliance — a network of grassroot NGOs across Europe that campaigns for a more ‘Welcoming Europe’ — applaud this act of solidarity. Indeed, the welcoming response shown by EU member states goes a long way to fulfilling the goals of the alliance. 

WEA members point out, however, that there is still work to be done. While the response to Ukrainian refugees has been so encouraging, refugees of other nationalities, ethnicities and religions have not always received the same treatment. Although the recent response by EU member states should be commended, they highlight the existence of ‘double standards’, forcing us to question the uneven — and unfair — treatment of refugees.  

Rather than criticising governments’ actions, the alliance proposes that the recent approach can serve as a ‘roadmap’ to the future treatment of all refugees, as outlined by WEA’s spokesperson below: 

“We, WEA and its network of grassroot NGO members across Europe, applaud the speed and action taken by EU member states in relation to the Ukrainian refugee crisis. Such action is a testament to what is possible and provides a roadmap for the treatment of all refugees” — Richard Girling, WEA spokesperson. 

Subsequently, we call on EU member states, in accordance with the 1951 Geneva Convention and Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to use the positive example of the welcoming response shown to Ukrainian refugees, and to extend it to all refugees fleeing war, violence, conflict or persecution, irrespective of their nationality, ethnicity, religion, belief, or sexual orientation. 

About the Welcoming Europe Alliance (WEA)

  • Originally, starting out as a ‘We are a Welcoming Europe’ European Citizens’ Initiative with 48 organisations across Spain, Italy, Belgium, France, Germany, Austria and Italy and gathering over 140,000 votes in 2018, the campaign for a more ‘Welcoming Europe’ continued in the form of the Welcoming Europe Alliance. 
  • WEA is now a key player in the coordination of organizations and civil society around the topic of migration. This alliance gives partners a place to exchange practices, experiences, ideas and documents, and to collaborate on campaigns or other projects. 
  • 20 organisations from 10 European countries have agreed to be a part of the Alliance so far: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the UK. 
  • The network serves as a hub for joint campaigning and communications of its grassroot NGO members. 
  • Read more about the Welcoming Europe Alliance. 

About the Migration Policy Group (MPG)

MPG is an independent think-and-do-tank based in Brussels. MPG’s purpose is rooted in its ability to inspire networks to provide evidence-based projects, research and campaigns in the areas of integration, migration and anti-discrimination.

Learn more about the Migration Policy Group.