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We Are a Welcoming Europe

We Are a Welcoming Europe was the first European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) on migration. It aimed to foster national and European coalitions on campaigning in order to reach a million EU citizens and achieve policy change at EU level. It officially started in February 2018 and ended in February 2019.

Highlights

Thanks to the campaign’s advocacy, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on guidelines for Member States to prevent humanitarian assistance from being criminalised on 5 July 2018 and the European Commission publicly agreed to collect and provide cases for a European Observatory.

Hundreds of organisations across Europe joined the campaign’s coalition to empower a welcoming Europe and support citizens and NGOs that are criminalised for offering humanitarian assistance to refugees and migrants.

MPG coordinated civil society organisations in a joint campaign and developed multi-media communications for a broad audience to engage the public in policy debate and demand humane migration policies.

What is an ECI?

It’s the most visible and impactful tool for direct democracy in Europe and an invitation to the European Commission to propose EU law changes. It’s a petition with online collection system collecting 1 million signatures from EU Citizens within 12 months in at least 7 member states. The European Parliament must then offer a public hearing to the organisers and the European Commission is obliged to consider the proposal

Campaign demands

End the criminalisation of solidarity

No one should be prosecuted, punished or fined for offering humanitarian help to migrants and refugees. The EU should amend article 1(2) of the EU facilitation directive (2002/90/EC) to prevent Member States from imposing sanctions on individuals or NGOs that provide humanitarian assistance.

Provide access to justice to migrant victims of abuse and exploitation

Everyone has the right to justice. The EU should strictly enforce that Member States develop effective complaints mechanisms for all victims of abuse, regardless of status.

Support citizens that want to sponsor refugees

Citizens across Europe want to sponsor refugees to offer them a safe home and a new life. The EU should amend regulation (EU) N°516/2014 to include a new line in EU budget for additional resettlement through sponsorship scheme.

Campaign outcomes

  • Welcoming Europe was the only joint campaigning and communications initiative on migration linking EU and national NGOs to change EU policy so far. The ECI collected a total of 146.195 signatures, positioning itself under the top-ten ECIs.
  • The campaign’s advocacy efforts led to the adoption by the European Parliament of a resolution on guidelines for Member States to prevent humanitarian assistance from being criminalised, and the European Commission publicly agreed to collect and provide cases for a European Observatory.
  • The campaign showed the need to create and develop capacity for mobilisation between national as well as national and EU NGOs and the need to build coalitions in the field of migration.
  • Today, the demands of the ECI remain at the top of the EU migration agenda, notably the criminalisation of solidarity. MPG is continuing the work on this through the ReSOMA research platform (click here for the research conducted which gained coverage from CNN, POLITICO and OpenDemocracy).

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