With the approval of the Amsterdam Treaty, immigration and asylum policies will be determined by the European Union, and thus no longer by each Member State. We must prevent this Community-wide decision-making process, introduced by the Amsterdam Treaty, from reducing standards to the lowest common denominator.
The existing harmonisation projects already outline this common contours of such policy : limited foreigners' entries, controls at the outer and inner EU borders, increasing precariousness of temporary immigrants' status, acceleration of the asylum procedures, lower standards of democratic rules currently applied to non-EU citizens. All these seem to be the main goals of the Europe of tomorrow.
Thus Europe is asserting itself as a continent with a closed door policy against foreign men and women who are the victims of economic injustice or persecutions. At the same time, Europe welcomes the arrival and settling of those foreigners whom its economy requires, while keeping ready to reject them in periods of crisis.
For three years, undocumented immigrants have been fighting for their legal status in Europe. They partly achieved it, on the basis of varying criteria defined at national level. In several countries of the Union, undocumented immigrants occupy public places and/or organise hunger strikes ; in short, they fight for their rights in order to make themselves heard. Couldn't these actions, still geographically scattered, converge to shape a large European movement in defence of foreigners' rights and the legalisation of undocumented immigrants ?
The progressive harmonisation of the European migration policies will be implemented in an essentially repressive way if EU and non EU citizens living in Europe do not undertake to define their common demands and fight together for their approval. Yet, the European Parliament in its resolution of the 17 february 1998 urges « all Members States to proceed to the legalisation of the undocumented immigrants in consideration of human rights and international conventions ». The States ignored this resolution, thus encouraging the permanence of an overexploited illegal labour.
The defence of foreigners' rights does participate in the overall fight for a true EU wide social policy, respectful of all women and men.
This is why the under-signing of the EU-countries call for a European march on Saturday 27 march 1999 in Paris, followed on the 28th by a working meeting that will give representatives of the various countries an opportunity to inform all participants both about the situation in their respective countries as well as the actions presently undertaken. Against the States' logic of closed borders and repression, enshrined in the Schengen agreements, our organisations together will thus start to impose together on their governments their common concerns about the immigrants' rights and freedom.
First organisations in Europe to sign