Friends of Europe, a leading think tank triggering the debate to create a more inclusive, sustainable and forward-looking Europe, organized in mid-October an outstanding event called #EuropeMatters.
Amongst the high-level speakers and debates, SOLIDAR gladly participated to the lunch time insight on Confronting Migration’s Hidden Hinterland on october 11th. Giles Merritt - Founder of Friends of Europe and author of the forthcoming book “Why we need more migrants” - challenged with crucial questions his guests, Lloyd Axworthy - Chair of the World Refugee Council and Former Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs – and Elisa Gambardella, SOLIDAR Political Advisor.
The debate started off defining the public expenditure for the integration of migrants as a cost. As always, SOLIDAR confronted this approach by promoting the understanding of these expenditures as an investment – the investment for a fairer and better integrated society, for all. An investment for the future. Therefore, why define the investment on migrants as a cost for native youth, rather than an investment for both? Why continue to fuel a divide between young migrants and young locals, when they clearly share challenges and thus solutions? Isn’t precariousness in the labour market, and therefore in life, a major challenge for both a Spanish young woman and a young migrant just arrived in Europe? Can we fight for decent work if not for all? Clearly not.
Of course, there are differences that have to be acknowledged between people with different backgrounds. We might promote inequalities if we did not acknowledge that the same issue can have different aspects, hence must be tackled from different angles. Yet, we should always see the challenge for the management of migration flows as a challenge for society as a whole. And discriminations against anyone in society, be it against the migrant or women, are intertwined with each other.
In order to To tackle multi-dimensional societal challenges, governments and the EU have to start dealing with them simultaneously. This is also the approach and the method suggested by the Sustainable Development Goals, that SOLIDAR supports and advocates for.
Social justice is for all or for nobody. If we widen the divide between migrants and locals instead of clearly pinpointing the common challenges, and enemies, and therefore the possibility to unite all the oppressed to strive together for better life conditions we are not fighting for social justice but for its opposite – the abuse of one onthe other.