Europe is witnessing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis – and governments are lacking the necessary solidarity and humanity to deal with the situation.
Oliver Roethig, Regional Secretary of UNI Europa said: ‘ Today’s ‘emergency summit’, when EU interior ministers meet has to be the first step in European governments rising to the challenge instead of ignoring it by building walls and closing borders and train stations.’
‘European leaders need to ensure that refugees are treated with the humanity and respect they deserve. And they have to help solving the problems at the roots, to ensure no more lives will be lost on a desperate journey towards Europe’ he added.
UNI Europa supports ETUC’s statement asking EU Governments to show that they are capable of acting together, decisively and with compassion towards refugees.
‘EU Governments have got to respond positively to President Juncker’s proposals to tackle the humanitarian emergency on our borders’ said Bernadette Ségol, General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation. ’The inability of European Governments to act together so far on the refugee crisis is an international embarrassment for the EU and its citizens.’
Being located in Brussels, UNI Europa particularly urges the Belgian government to improve the newly arrived refugees’ situation who due to applications being restricted to 250 a day have to camp in parks and public places in the middle of Brussels, with help brought to them only by NGOs and concerned citizens but in no organised effort by the Belgian state. These people have nowhere to go before their applications have been filed.
UNI Europa is calling on its members and all European citizens to show their solidarity with exhausted and traumatised men, women and children who couldn’t be in more urgent need of our help. We think everyone can do something to help – that is why UNI Europa will offer staff to dedicate up to 10 hours per week of total staff working time to supporting NGOs, citizens’ initiatives or refugees on site.
Meanwhile, UNI Global Union has joined with the Internal Trade Union Confederation ITUC in backing a UN call for Europe to accept, initially, up to 200,000 migrants and for European countries to work together to handle the massive inflow of people from the Middle East and Mediterranean. UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres has called for a common strategy, based on responsibility, solidarity and trust.
Elke Zander, Communications Officer, UNI Europa