Take action for a #WelcomingEurope

“Every day I had to make the hardest decision anyone could ever face – who to save from drowning. […] We tried to save them [children] first. When we pulled them out of the freezing water, their feet were the coldest feet I have ever felt in my life.”

This is what firefighter Manuel Blanco from Spain experienced every day on Lesbos. He, and many others, worked tirelessly for months to save human beings risking their lives at sea. We have reported about Manuel in the framework of our campaign on Decriminalising Solidarity; his story can be found here.

Instead of recognising and supporting his actions, Manuel and his colleagues were arrested. Because they have been pulling drowning men, women and children to safety, they are accused of human smuggling. In just one week Manuel will be tried in a Greek court, facing up to 10 years in jail.**

People like Manuel have shown that there is another face to Europe – #WelcomingEurope, a Europe of Solidarity – and a Europe that does not support governments in criminalising solidarity.

Together we can take action: The European Citizens’ Initiative on a #WelcomingEurope is open to be signed!

A European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) is the most visible and legally binding tool for direct democracy in Europe. If one million European citizens from at least seven EU Member States sign the petition within one year, the European Commission will be obliged to hear our demands in a formal procedure.

We have the opportunity to demonstrate that we are a #WelcomingEurope that does not tolerate the criminalisation of people offering humanitarian assistance.

Are you in? Then sign the petition here.

Spread the word and visit the official website to learn more about the ECI on a #WelcomingEurope. Please also follow @WelcomingEurope on Twitter to stay up-to-date on the latest developments.

The Migration Policy Group has created a great amount of infographics, videos, ready-to-use cover emails and other visuals available in different languages which you can easily share with national networks. For more information please contact me at silvana.roebstorf@socialplatform.org.

**Update: Firefighter Manuel and his colleagues have been cleared of all charges! Read more here: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/07/world/europe/greece-migrants-volunteers.html