European migration policy and the rise of populism
Cities, towns and organisations have been working to host and integrate migrants and refugees in both France and Germany since 2015. They now want to work more closely together, share their experiences and play a larger role in influencing European policies.
It’s clear: Europe’s response to the migrants arriving at its shores has been woefully insufficient. Governments lack unity and have acted according to their own history and self-interest, often led by media-driven public opinion and unable or unwilling to provide a coherent narrative or an honest perspective.
The impotence of Member states is reflected in the impotence of European institutions. They can no longer do anything but strengthen border controls and looking to countries of origin or transit to solve the problem.
This has led to public policy hardening towards migrants and refugees in countries throughout Europe to a greater or lesser extent. And, while it’s true that Germany has by no means taken the same line as Hungary, there is growing exasperation among those working to protect migrants’ rights and mobility.
France terre d’asile and the German Heinrich Böll Foundation believe that, under these circumstances, it is now up to civil society organisations, towns, cities and associations at the front line of migrant support to “have their say”. Have their say based on their experiences (both good and bad) in the reception of migrants, but also on the political and democratic issues at stake. They are being encouraged by experts and researchers too, who are in turn working together to ensure that they are themselves heard, including in Germany and France.
This is the reasoning beyond the upcoming conference to take place in Paris City Hall on the 6th and 7th of March, and the call that will be launched for the initiative to continue in Berlin and other European centres.
Thierry Le Roy
President, France terre d’asile