News – Lampedusa and the immigration policies
He said that, especially given the approach of Christmas, political decision-makers should face up to their responsibilities and reconsider their existing approach to dealing with migrants. The symbolic setting for his appeal was provided by an art installation consisting of 150 globes, created by the artist and YOUROPEAN co-founder, Mathias Wilvonseder, together with citizens and migrants, at the ship graveyard in Lampedusa. More than 300 people died at the beginning of October, as the result of a shipwreck off the coast of the Italian island.
Sferlazzo went on to urge that refugee policy resources be used for the integration of migrants, and not to seal Europe off. He said that a contemporary and humane policy of integration should not consist of bureaucratic dismissal and exclusion but rather the foundations should be created for integrating migrants into European society, and assisting them to enter the labour market by means of targeted training and continuing education. Last but not least, the Deputy Mayor demanded the removal of laws and directives that impede or even prohibit the rescue of refugees.
«At this time of the year, Europe’s politicians should recall the Christmas story. This teaches us that people seeking shelter should be treated not as a burden, but rather as an enrichment of our society», Sferlazzo said.
In undertaking this powerful symbolic campaign in Lampedusa, YOUROPEAN is pursuing its goal of sending out a signal for the more open treatment of migrants who undertake the dangerous journey to Europe in the hope of a better future. The newly-founded YOUROPEAN association shares the Deputy Mayor of Lampedusa’s view that the European Union must open its doors to migrants in order to face up to its humanitarian responsibility. «Openness towards migrants is, however, also in our own interests. Europe has long been a continent for immigration and, owing to the constantly increasing decline in birth rates, will be still more dependent on immigrants in future», added Dr. Klaus Moessle and Bodo Bimboese, both founders of YOUROPEAN.