It is difficult to refuse the idea that migration is an issue affecting all member states of the EU; though several European fear mongers and nationalistic movements/parties feed the idea of the feasibility of national solutions to the issue of migrants crossing the external borders of the union, there is no evidence that the problems can be tackled/solved by the action of single member states. The example of the temporary action of the Italian government Mare Nostrum between 2013 and 2014 is an example of the un-sustainability of solutions designed along national borders.
The significance of Europe´s cultural and social plurality stands for tolerance, human dignity, mutual respect and freedom, as central features of the post 1945 (and even more of the post 1989) order. Through the development of a regional system of human rights defence, the integration of its economies and even more vividly with the demise of socialism in Eastern Europe, the European project can be truly spelled out in the light of the principles of the UN declaration and the European Convention on Human Rights. It is no coincidence that with the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights gained a new legal status within the architecture of the EU. But shortcomings in the defence of fundamental rights in the EU remain and are painfully evident in the migration issues.
Whereas EU institutions seem more prone nowadays to apply a growing communitarian approach to the security issues related to migration (border controls, visa regimes, monitoring, surveillance), there is no indication that assisting migrants and securing them the enjoyment of fundamental rights also represent priorities of EU policy making; they rather depend on the good will of single member states or of NGOs´ engagement.
Europe would definitely not be what it has become if it was not for the massive injection of populations and cultures from other regions of the world; at the same time political, demographic and economic drives pushed millions of Europeans to the most remote areas of the planet and secured them new, challenging life opportunities.
When we look at how migration-related events are reported in national media, we can both find some limited common features and substantial differences in the way events are reported, causes explained, comments and opinions shared. We need more common discussion, comparison of opinions and attitudes, more open-mindedness, more language proficiency.
It is a shared opinions, that the European Parliament shall gain more and more influence in the policy making process; more than any new constitutional arrangement though, what is highly needed is a Europe-wide discussion and public debate about which kind of Union the EU shall become; not only Troika-related issues, rating forecasts and new trade agreements, the European project needs to spell out where it stands in the promotion and defence of fundamental rights: even though it can appear dangerous to carry out such a debate in a period of delusion and skepticism among citizens, there is no alternative to it, if the EU is to become anything more complex than the translation into an international organisation of corporate business thinking.
The day before yesterday 30 migrants died freezing on a boat not far from Lampedusa.
SZ in German
Guardian in English
Repubblica in Italian