A world where no one needs to flee but everyone has the right to move – My favorite idea of the Swedish Greens thoughts on migration

Who would expect a well-paid doctor from Bagdad to come to Sweden to live on welfare if he was not forced to do it? And who would expect a mother from Latin America to leave her kids to go to Spain to clean our houses if she was able to maintain herself at home? Most people want to live in their home countries if they’re not forced to leave because they fear for their lives or for economic reasons. It’s a little minority that leaves their homes voluntarily to study, work, build a family etc.

In the current situation where Europe sees migrants as a threat to our societies, be it people leaving war zones or economic migrants, the answer European leaders gives is to do their utmost to keep them all out. We close our borders, we destroy the smugglers’ boats, we mix military and civil operations to patrol our external borders, we make a dubious deal with the Turkish president Erdogan to send people back etc. The idea is of course to keep migrants out (and potential terrorists, even though they are mostly born here) and when migrants manage to reach us to send them back. Some so called “real refugees” from Syria will have the possibility to stay in Europe, if a country accept them, but most others will be sent back where they last came from.

Last year the Commission suddenly started to talk about addressing the root causes. I was thrilled to hear that, but I soon got disappointed when I realized that they were only talking about the bad conditions in the Turkish refugee camps that made great amount of people leave Turkey. That is not a root cause. The root cause is the war in Syria and we cannot expect that Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan should cope alone with millions of refugees while some European countries are doing very little or nothing. We have to share the responsibility in solidarity.

As Greens we have always claimed that we need to address the root causes to conflict, oppression, poverty, climate change, bad governance and lack of respect for human rights. It’s the only way to stop the non-voluntary migration at the same time as it would make it easier to open up easier legal ways for the voluntary one.

There is no military solution to the conflict in Syria. We urgently need an inclusive political dialog led by the UN that puts peoples’ security in the forefront. We need lasting peace with respect for all different groups in the country. Goal 16 (peace and justice) in the Sustainable Development Goals could provide a lasting framework for finding solutions and addressing the real root causes of the migration in the eastern Mediterranean.

/ Bodil Valero 

Member of European Parliament, Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance; Member; Sweden Miljöpartiet de gröna;

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