Sunday

18th Nov 2018

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.

Xenophobia on the rise in Germany, study finds

Germans, in particular those living in the east, are demonstrating higher levels of xeonphobia and backlash against religious minorities than when compared to five years ago, according to a new study.

News in Brief

  1. US warns EU banks and firms against trading with Iran
  2. Merkel urged Romania not to move embassy to Jerusalem
  3. Protesters call for Czech leader to step down
  4. Former German chancellor labelled 'enemy' of Ukraine
  5. French lead opposition to Brexit deal on fisheries
  6. Private accounts of Danske Bank employees investigated
  7. UK's May defends Brexit deal to MPs, after ministers resign
  8. Brexit MP calls for 'no confidence' vote on May

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  8. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  9. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  10. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  12. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs

Latest News

  1. Brexit dominates EU affairs This WEEK
  2. How the EU commission got tunnel vision on self-driving cars
  3. No-confidence calls against May put Brexit deal in doubt
  4. Key points of the Brexit deal (if it ever comes into effect)
  5. Romania heaps scorn on 'revolting' EU criticism
  6. US steps in to clean up Cyprus
  7. 'Decisive progress' on Brexit as British cabinet backs deal
  8. Asylum for Macedonia's ex-PM puts Orban on spot

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  3. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  5. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  7. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  9. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  10. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network
  12. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us