Why your vote matters for creating a culture of hospitality?

07 May 2024|JRS Europe

The upcoming European Parliament Elections, held between 6 and 9 of June, represent an opportunity for all citizens to use their vote to help co-create the Europe they envision.

In this context, JRS Europe has launched “Dear European Parliament”, a campaign calling on all EU citizens to vote by highlighting how the EU parliament decisions can foster solidarity and hospitality, end migration detention, stop policies outsourcing the responsibility to protect those in need and expand safe and legal ways of reaching Europe.

What is the issue with the current solidarity and hospitality systems in Europe?

The current reception system is failing both asylum seekers and Member States at the same time.

It is failing asylum seekers because, in many EU countries, asylum seekers are sleeping on the streets or surviving in inhumane conditions of overcrowded reception centres. This will be worsened by the recently approved Migration and Asylum Pact, which will concentrate asylum seekers at the EU external borders and process their applications in, likely, detention conditions.

It is also failing asylum seekers by not giving them choice about their preferred destination. According to current rules, asylum seekers are obliged to have their application examined in the first country where they entered the EU.

At the same time, it fails Member States, because it places a disproportionate amount of responsibility for handling asylum applications to the countries at the borders of the EU. The Migration and Asylum pact instead of strengthening a common system in which Member States support each other, will only increase the workload for Member States in the borders.

Why is this a problem?

Our experience working directly with asylum seekers across Europe shows that the lack of quality reception lowers the chances of obtaining protection for people who need it. It also makes it a lot more difficult for asylum seekers to integrate and participate actively in the host society by undermining their opportunities and motivation.

This is made worse by forcing them to remain in the first country of arrival, instead of considering their choice. Thus, asylum seekers can get stuck far from family and study/work opportunities.

Finally, since the responsibility is not shared by Member States, there is a “race to the bottom” in protection and reception standards: Member States try to be “less attractive” for asylum seekers, in the hope that they would move elsewhere. However, this has not proved successful. It has only underscored trust and cooperation between Member States who see themselves faced with a higher workload than others.

What do we want the next European Parliament to do?

We want a European Union that promotes a common hospitality-driven reception that guarantees sufficient privacy and autonomy, prioritizes small-scale accommodation within local communities and recognizes accompaniment as an intrinsic part of reception. Also, we believe in an EU where Member States share responsibility and support each other.

For that, we want the next European Parliament to question the status quo of the system and foster debates to create a system based on EU values and facts, not fear and distrust.

If you want to learn more about the European Elections visit together.eu

Read how your vote can affect:

Ending Migration Detention

Expanding safe and legal access to protection

Stoping outsourcing the responsibility to protect those in need