European Parliament and filmmakers join together to tackle refugee crisis

Senior MEPs and Parliament President Martin Schulz have received a petition from European filmmakers urging policymakers to take action against populism and the refugee crisis.

By Julie Levy-Abegnoli

22 Oct 2015

Members of the European film industry have presented policymakers with a petition titled, "For 1000 lives: Be human", urging them to do more to help refugees coming into Europe. The campaign has already garnered support from over 5000 artists, including James Bond actor Daniel Craig and French actress Juliette Binoche.

A number of its signatories were in Brussels to meet with European Parliament President Martin Schulz, civil liberties committee Chair Claude Moraes and culture and education committee Chair Silvia Costa.

In a press conference, Claude Moraes noted that, "we are entering a very important phase of the refugee crisis. There is complacency in the media; many people think the situation is under control. It's not. Winter is coming, and many more people may die in the Mediterranean and on the way to the EU."


Silvia Costa added that, "too many people have been speaking out in favour of racism and using populism as a weapon. Europe has been through a lot, and countries should remember that their own people were once refugees."

Oscar-winning director Michel Hazanavicius said, "the populist discourse of a number of politicians taking advantage of citizens' fears to nurture xenophobia is widespread. Therefore, it's time to recall European values."

"We do not face 'a flow of refugees'. These are men and women who have been forced to leave their homes and are dying on the way here. The EU has to offer a home in Europe to those people who are fleeing terror and war, and remove them from the hands of traffickers. The EU must put an end to the Dublin convention - it is an obstacle to cooperation between member states."

The French filmmaker stressed that, "more account must be taken of individual lives. We should allow refugees to work legally and put their children in school."

"The institutions must outline what kind of Europe we want to have in the next few years. This is not just about managing a crisis. This is about reverting back to our values - that is the only way we will be able to fight populism. We want a Europe that shouts its values loud and clear."

Receiving the appeal, European Parliament President Martin Schulz said, "I welcome very warmly this initiative. The majority of Europeans favours helping refugees. With this initiative and many others by civil society, we show that we are staying mobilised to find a fair solution in a spirit of solidarity and humanity."


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