As the EU Commission is about to pass a package of measures the Mediterranean countries can use to manage migration flows emergencies, the Scalabrinian Missionaries, though noticing a first positive sign, cannot fully agree with the announcement of the EU commission’s vice president and Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini’s statement that “faced with a dramatic emergency” Europe “seems to have finally become aware of the urgency” and lately “taken gigantic steps” toward a “global response” to the current challenges in the Mediterranean.
[They are] “Men and women like us” seeking happiness, Pope Francis stated less than a month ago, following the most serious tragedy in the history of immigration in the Mediterranean when a fishing boat carrying 800 persons sunk to the waters off the Libyan coast. “Those who are forced by despair to leave are willing to even risk their lives, as long as their right to a life worthy of such name is acknowledged, since too often their homeland has ceased to provide for them.” These words were spoken by Fr. Alessandro Gazzola, Superior General of the Congregation of the Missionaries of St. Charles – Scalabrinians, after learning of the EU’s Commission approval of the agenda for a new policy on immigration which is due to be submitted at the European summit on June 25 – 26.
“If we express ourselves in such terms, it is then urgent that all EU countries, and not just some, as seems to be the case, include first in their agenda the person with a permanent and full recognition of his/her basic rights.” He then adds: “The abstention of nations such as the United Kingdom, Denmark and Ireland or the ongoing arms trade aimed at keeping good neighborly relations with some governments, is nothing more than favoring the continuation of other death producing systems, which leave people with no other hope than fleeing their land.
Fr. Gianni Borin, Superior of the African – European Union Region, echoes the same sentiments, adding that “following a lukewarm approval because something is finally being done, the focus of our attention must also be the many people who already live in many EU countries, taking into consideration the many good practices already in existence.”
A lesson in humanity which many associations, movements and religious communities are giving in managing the emergency of many who seek political asylum, shows ever more an attempt to take a needed further step beyond the measures of immediate welcome to accompany those who seek asylum and the refugees to full autonomy. “It’s a matter of working together in building a local community capable of welcoming, including and integrating diversity by interiorizing what I would call a responsible and shared culture of encounter”, Fr. Borin stated.