A conference on the EU policies on migration was held on 24th October in Turin, organised by the Italian Association of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (AICCRE
), the International Training Centre of the ILO in collaboration with the Piedmont Regional Council – Regional Committee for Human Rights. It was entitled “Just along the border: Europe of rights, Europe of walls”.
The refugee crisis with the many lives lost along the escape routes and its burden of human suffering, is putting considerable strain not only on the EU political awareness, but also on its own social and civil project, which is based on the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (2001). In the last three years, the EU Member States have failed to adopt a collective and effective policy with regard to the increasing number of refugees escaping the countries close to the EU borders. The Conference has analysed the European policies on migration and asylum, their contradictions and their impact on local communities.
Mauro Laus, President of the Regional Council of Piedmont and of the Human Rights Committee opened the Conference, stating that “The way to a jointly responsible welcome can be built. Today more than ever it is necessary that the European Agenda on Migration abandon the centralized approach and go back to enhance the principle of subsidiarity on which the EU policy is based, taking due account of the local and regional authorities”.
He added: “It is more necessary than ever for local authorities to be economically supported and to get involvedin the consultation phase during the implementation of the measures proposed by governments and by the EU; to draw a distinction between asylum seekers and economic migrants; to strengthens the fight against the illegal trafficking in human beings; to ensure the access of local and regional authorities to national and European funds, such as Asylum and Migrations Funds, the European social fund and the External Borders Funds”.
“You cannot expect to solve an issue of epic proportion only through voluntary work or human sensitivity of mayors and citizens” addressed Carla Rey, AICCRE Secretary General to the assembly, “Europe must roll up the sleeves and speed up programs and procedures”. AICCRE is in line with the remarks made by the then Minister of Foreign Affairs Paolo Gentiloni, that not only Europe has to respect its commitments on the relocation of migrants, but has to release the funds as soon as possible according to the Migration Compact.
Besides, Ms Rey continuous, “the overall approach to the phenomenon presupposes multilevel involvement, and above all must have an unequivocal and clear vision. I note with regret that this overview does not exist”. Moreover, she urged that “the European Union must give absolute importance to the cooperation policies and dialogue with Third Countries, place where the migratory phenomena is originated, by putting local authorities at the centre of the project”.