We are a welcoming Europe, let us help!
Governments are struggling to handle migration. Most of us want to help people in need because we care. Millions have stood up to help. Now we want to be heard. Let’s reclaim a Welcoming Europe! We call upon the European Commission to act:
1. Citizens across Europe want to sponsor refugees to offer them a safe home and a new life. We want the Commission to offer direct support to local groups that help refugees who are granted national visas.
2. No one should be prosecuted or fined for offering humanitarian help or shelter. We want the Commission to stop those governments that are punishing volunteers.
3. Everyone has the right to justice. We want the Commission to guarantee more effective ways and rules to defend all victims of labour exploitation and crime across Europe and all victims of human rights abuses at our borders.
Legal basis: Articles 77(2)(d) 78(2) and 79(2) & (4) of the Treaty of the Functioning of the EU (TFEU)
Why is this important?
This is the first European Citizen’s Initiative (ECI) uniting the millions of European citizens – who feel overlooked and excluded – by European migration policies. If 1 million EU citizens sign the petition, the European Commission (EC) will be obliged to hear our demands and we can increase the pressure on policymakers’ agenda on migration in advance of the European Parliament elections in 2019.
What does #WelcomingEurope stand for?
Empower European citizens and their right to help refugees and migrants
Did you know you can get punished or fined for helping refugees? Distributing food, giving a lift to a family, hosting a refugee, or buying a train ticket can be enough to get fined or arrested by the authorities of 12 EU member states.  Due to ambiguity in the EU’s Facilitations Directive on the distinction between trafficking, smuggling and humanitarian assistance, some EU Member States have been able to criminalise humanita lop the potential of private sponsorship schemes.
Increase legal and safe pathways to refugees
Civil society and European citizens want to be part of the solution on migration, including the ability to follow the Canadian model in privately sponsoring refugees. While the EC has already proposed to coordinate a pilot project on private sponsorship, local authorities and non-governmental actors face obstacles in accessing the European Commission’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) and thus cannot fully develop the potential of private sponsorship schemes.
Uphold fundamental rights in the EU
European citizens want and need systems that protect all people, regardless of their status, enabling them to seek justice when they are victims of labour exploitation and human rights abuses. Most migrants who are targets of trafficking, crimes or human rights abuses cannot easily submit complaints or get justice because complaints mechanisms under EU law are not effective and support from third parties is not sufficient. The EU has already understood the importance of this and established a legal framework addressing aspects of legal migration. However, it now needs the infrastructure to ensure effective implementation in the Member States through efficient monitoring, complaints and redress mechanisms.
How can I support the campaign?
What is a European Citizens' Initiative (ECI)?
Why do you need my passport information?
The rules for collecting signatures are drawn up by each EU member state. Some member states require different rules for collecting signatures, such as entering your passport number. All the information you enter will be saved on secure servers and will be solely used for the purpose of the ECI and validating your signature.
What will you do with my information?
Your information is firstly encrypted (so no one can access it) and is stored temporarily on a secure server in Germany. Once enough signatures have been collected in your country, they are handed over to the officials in your country who will officially verify the signatures.
Once the ECI has ended, #WelcomingEurope campaign will destroy all the extra information supplied for the purposes of this ECI. The campaign’s ability to perform these tasks securely has been certified according to the requirements of the European Union. All EU data protection rules and law apply.
Who can sign the ECI petition?
To support a European Citizens’ Initiative, you must be an EU citizen (national of an EU member state) and old enough to vote in European Parliament elections (18 in exception to Austria where the voting age is 16). For further information on your eligibility to sign, please refer to the European Commission website.