How should we wage this battle? In Emmaus Europe’s view, while offering an unconditional welcome is a key principle, being successful in this fight will also involve lobbying both politicians and civil society.
Emmaus as a movement is completely justified in taking a stance on this issue, due to its stated mission, enduring nature and worldwide presence. Consequently, Emmaus Europe is continuing its involvement in the political and civil arenas.
Firstly, Emmaus Europe wants all the stakeholders working on a day-to-day basis in the groups to become involved in the lobbying work.
“The Movement’s mission is to perpetually remind individuals and society about the fact that there is no peace, feeling of completeness or joy, unless we first serve the most forgotten members of society and those who suffer most.”
Furthermore, Emmaus Europe is stressing the need to go beyond national borders in order to make the views of companions heard on the European stage. Indeed, over 70% of national legislation now results from decisions taken in Brussels as public policies are taking on an increasingly European flavour. Emmaus Europe wants to highlight its presence on the European stage in response to this phenomenon. The organisation emerged as a key stakeholder in the fight against the root causes of extreme poverty and social exclusion at its October 2009 Regional Assembly.
Combating extreme poverty and respect for migrants’ rights have become European issues
2010 has been declared the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion. However, the Emmaus Movement has been fighting staunchly for over 60 years. We do not simply seek to lessen the suffering of socially excluded people, but also to tackle the root causes of extreme poverty and social exclusion.
“People tell us to shut up. However, we will continue to speak out when faced with the horrors happening in the world. We will speak on behalf of those who are excluded.”
Why should we care about respecting migrants’ rights?
The Emmaus Movement and the European groups urgently need to mobilise themselves on the issue of the right of asylum. The EU wants to harmonise immigration and right of asylum regulations as part of the Stockholm Programme. In 2008, the EU adopted the directive on common standards and procedures applicable in all Member States on the return of illegally staying third-country nationals (more commonly known as the “returns directive”). However, in the next few weeks the European Commission is meant to be proposing a new directive on the right of asylum. Against a backdrop of harmonisation, Emmaus Europe has observed radicalisation and migrants’ rights being called into question. Emmaus Europe will make defending migrants’ asylum rights its key campaign theme over the next six months due to the urgency of the situation.
“Make people see, want change and take action.”