Saturday

4th Jul 2020

Filmmakers urge EU leaders to welcome refugees

  • Famous actors and directors handed a petition in favour of refugees to European Parliament president Martin Schulz. (Photo: European Parliament)

European filmmakers urged EU leaders to welcome refugees and resent xenophobic and populist urges on Tuesday (20 October) in Brussels.

Award-winning filmmakers presented a petition signed by over 5,500 people, mostly artists, to European Parliament president Martin Schulz and EU Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

They urged the EU to offer legal ways for refugees to travel to Europe, and scrap the Dublin regulation that puts a huge strain on frontline countries by having to register and deal with the asylum claims of all new migrants and refugees.

They are also calling on EU leaders not to give in to populism and uphold EU fundamental values and principles when dealing with the refugee crisis.

“Europe seems to be wanting to do crisis management, we want more than that, we want a Europe that shouts its values loud and clear,” Michel Hazanavicius, French director of 2011 Oscar-winning film, The Artist, said at the press conference.

Italian actress and director, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, German actress Hanna Schygulla, French director Laurent Cantet - who won the Palme d'Or in 2008 for his film, Entre les murs - and Polish actor Andrzej Chyra were also in Brussels to pass on the petition that was launched after 71 people, mostly Syrians, suffocated to death in a truck in Austria in August trying to make their way into Western Europe.

“It’s not a flow of refugees, it’s men and women, they are dying on the way here,” Hazanavicius said.

Find solutions

The filmmakers expressed concern over what they see as the EU’s lack of response, and its leaders failing to come up with solutions.

They urged leaders to make funds available, offer refugees a home, a job, allow their children to go to school, and put an end to the Dublin rule that says the country where the asylum seeker first set foot in the EU must deal with the asylum claim.

“Dublin is an obstacle to cooperation among member states,” Hazanavicius said.

The filmmakers also warned of the threat of populism, as some politicians are exploiting the atmosphere of uncertainty and fear to their advantage.

“We would like to hear Europe’s voice, a discourse we can identify with, we would like a banner we can march under,” Hazanavicius said, adding that populist and demagogue discourse attracts significantly more attention, as they are louder.

“Silence works for the populists,” he said.

Other signatories to the petition include British actor and James Bond star, Daniel Craig, Belgian directors, the Dardenne brothers, Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki, Czech director Jiri Menzel, Hungarian director Bela Tarr, Greek-French film director Costa-Gavras, Italian actress Isabella Rossellini, Austrian film director Michael Haneke, and Danish actress Susanne Bier.

Calais

In the meantime, 800 French and French-speaking artists and intellectuals have launched another petition

calling for an "emergency plan" in Calais, where more than 3,000 migrants live in camps with the aim of crossing the Channel to Britain.

In the petition, they denounce the conditions in which migrants live and the violence inflicted on migrants by far-right groups.

The situation in Calais "undermines the founding principles of France, our common humanity and prepares us for the worst," the petitioners wrote.

Belgian filmmaking brothers in search of a European moral conscience

If not all countries together regulate against abuse; in today's dog-eat-dog capitalist system, the abuser and the abused will just move from country to country. Europe is a fantastic chance to deal with this problem, two of the continent's most prominent filmmakers, have said.

EU unveils Turkey migration plan

The Commission has unveiled a plan on how to stem the flow of migrants from Turkey, including extra funds and a joint crackdown on smugglers.

EU asylum applications rise for first time since 2015 wave

EU commissioner for home affairs Ylva Johansson admitted on Thursday that the latest European asylum report reveals a need to better manage migration. In all, Cyprus, France, Greece, Malta and Spain received more asylum applicants last year than in 2015.

EU Commission to probe Croat border attacks on migrants

Refugee and asylum seeker hopefuls are showing up with horrific injuries, including broken bones and collapsed lungs, after entering Croatia. NGOs blame a militarised Croatian police force for the abuse. The Commission now wants to monitor the border.

Voice from Libya: No one is winning

Whether it is the West, Turkey, or Russia who think they are winning in Libya, Libyan people are the losers, according to one woman, speaking from Tripoli.

News in Brief

  1. EU grants Remdesivir conditional authorisation
  2. French prime minister and government resign
  3. France lied on Nato naval clash, Turkey claims
  4. EU highlights abuses in recent Russia vote
  5. Belgium bids to host EU mask stockpile
  6. France shamed on refugees by European court
  7. French and Dutch police take down criminal phone network
  8. EU launches infringement case on Covid-19 cancelled trips

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNEW REPORT: Eight in ten people are concerned about climate change
  2. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  4. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis
  6. UNESDACircularity works, let’s all give it a chance

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us