Wednesday

29th Sep 2021

Podcast

A hunger strike at the heart of Europe

  • The hunger strike provoked an outcry against the Belgian government (Photo: Helena Malikova)

This summer some 450 undocumented workers and migrants in Brussels refused food during two months.

They were protesting Belgian immigration rules that human rights officials and campaigners like Lilana Keith of PICUM say arbitrarily obstruct them from legal and stable residency.

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The hunger strike provoked an outcry against the Belgian government. Yet there was no intervention from the European Union even though its headquarters is just 10 minutes away from the 17th century church that became the rallying point for supporters of the strikers.

Albert Kraler, an assistant professor at Danube University Krems, says the EU has long been studiously silent about residency rights for the kinds of undocumented workers and migrants who led the Brussels protest. That's especially the case when regional upheavals like in Afghanistan could mean more irregular arrivals in Europe.

Author bio

EU Scream is the progressive politics podcast from Brussels. Produced by James Kanter with graphics by Helena Malikova and music by Lara Natale.

You may also subscribe via iTunes, Spotify or from the EU Scream website.

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A hunger strike at the heart of Europe

This summer some 450 undocumented workers and migrants in Brussels refused food during two months. They were protesting Belgian immigration rules that human rights officials and campaigners say arbitrarily obstruct them from legal and stable residency.

Eurocrats who look like Europe

There is a double standard at the heart of the European Commission. Women — mostly white women — benefit from affirmative action when applying for jobs. But people of colour seeking advancement do not benefit from special consideration.

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