In the aftermath of the EU-Turkey Agreement reached on the 18th March 2016, a group of students of the Master’s Degree in European and International Studies of the University of Trento started to question themselves on this deal and, more in general, on the future of the EU. These reflections have been then shared with other students and organisations all over Europe and finally led to the foundation of a working group, called OpenUpEurope – A European Citizens’ Initiative.
Recalling Art. 2 of the TUE, the group of young European citizens expresses the hope that the EU still continues to be “founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights”.
“We all grew up believing that these values were at the basis of our society and our culture; fundamental pillars on which we should base our life and our relationships with others”. However, they say, “here we see those same principles disintegrating”. In fact, dealing with the so called “refugee crisis”, many action were taken all around Europe which challenge the fundamental EU values. These include the reintroduction of border controls, asylum seekers living in inhumane conditions even within the EU territory, Member States against the reception of refugees, the rise of racist and xenophobic movements and, last but not least, the respect for freedom of expression and information sacrificed to shift the burden of asylum and migration management to Turkey.
This is not the EU these students want, this is not the Union of all European citizens that believe in these values.
“We do not want and we cannot accept that the founding values of the EU could be flouted. On the contrary, we want to believe that something could be done to put them into practice. We want to express our European citizenship fighting against the human rights violations occurring right before our very eyes.”
For this reason, the OpenUpEurope group opposes the EU-Turkey agreement and its implementation, sharing many of the concerns raised by the UN Refugee Agency and many NGOs, such as Amnesty International. To this end, this group wants to launch a European Citizen’s Initiative addressing the current European policy on immigration and asylum for the defence and promotion of the founding European values.
The Initiative would be intended to ask the Commission to:
- Suspend the implementation of the EU-Turkey statement, currently in the context of the Greek-Turkish readmission Protocol and the EU-Turkey readmission agreement as of 1 June 2016;
- Immediately establish legal migration channels to reach the European Union for both asylum seekers and economic migrants;
- Avoid the future implementation of asylum and migration policies based on the “third safe country” concept and poor readmission practices;
- Substitute the Dublin III Regulation with a new system implying a mandatory system of resettlement and relocation among Member States.
In addition, the group wants to request to officially condemn and sanction Member States’ positions or political movements that openly violate the European fundamental values.
The group, mainly composed of students, is currently looking for technical and legal advice in order to verify the feasibility of its idea and to improve it. Therefore, they would be deeply grateful for the possibility of relying on experts’ opinions. They need advice on how to translate the different aims expressed into one single concrete proposal.
OpenUpEurope is a group of students, a group of European citizens coming from different backgrounds. What they all have in common is the determination to use the ECI channel in order to reach the decision-making core of the EU. “We cannot and do not want to remain just spectators of the current policies”.
Let us work together, let us defend the EU founding values and create a European Union based on solidarity.
If you would like to join the group and give your support, please contact on Facebook:
or send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org