Saturday

20th Jul 2019

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 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join 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 court: Denmark's family-reunification law 'unjustified'

The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg has delivered a blow to Denmark's strict family-reunification laws. The ruling will likely cause headaches for its new left-leaning government given its stance on immigration, and opens up 8,000 pending cases.

EU dismisses UN call to stop migrant returns to Libya

As the death toll of the Tajoura detention centre airstrike reached 53, including six children, the UN called for a halt to returning people to Libya. The EU - which is helping fund the Libyan coastguard - said no.

Libya: EU first sends migrants back, then deplores deaths

Some 40 died following an attack at a Libyan prison, where people hoping to reach Europe are locked up. The EU commission wants an investigation but remains silent on how it trains Libyans to return rescued migrants to the country.

EU guilty of Libya migrant 'tragedy', ICC lawsuit says

EU states' efforts to "deter" migrants from Libya have helped kill more than 14,000 people and exposed 40,000 others to "crimes against humanity", according to a lawsuit filed in The Hague on Monday.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  5. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  7. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  8. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  9. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  10. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North

Latest News

  1. EU goes on holiday as new UK PM arrives This WEEK
  2. Survey: Half of EU staff 'don't know' ethics rules
  3. Von der Leyen signals soft touch on migrants, rule of law
  4. Timmermans: von der Leyen will be tough on rule of law
  5. Timmermans trolls 'idiot' Brexit negotiators
  6. Rudderless Europe: Will real Germany please stand up?
  7. PiS & Fidesz claim credit for von der Leyen victory
  8. Von der Leyen faces gender battle for commission posts

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  3. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  4. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  7. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  12. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us