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What type of migration and asylum policies should be put in place to avoid loss of human lives, to provide a human rights-based approach to migration and to foster solidarity between EU member states in their answers to migration and asylum? These questions will, among others, be discussed from a Green perspective in this transnational seminar (17 – 18 October, Sofia), organised by the Green European Foundation with support of the Bulgarian Association for the Promotion of Citizens’ Initiatives, the Greek Green Institute and the Maltese Ceratonia Foundation. Apply before 1st of September if you’d like to take part.

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Immigration is a Europe-wide phenomenon and countries should not be left alone in dealing with asylum seekers and migrants merely because they happen to be on the southern border. However, in practice, countries on the “EU periphery” have so far been shouldering the main difficulties in dealing with migration influxes into the European Union, be they migrants coming from the Mediterranean or asylum seekers fleeing conflicts. At the same time, the difficulties in handling migration flows (such as lack of infrastructure, lack of funding etc) should not translate into violations of the migrants human rights. All too often, and the recent EU elections’ campaigns made no exception, migrants are targeted by right-wing parties’ rhetoric and scapegoated as cause of problems they are merely victims of. Although migration policy remains largely a national competence, it is clear that only a common European approach can answer the needs of both migrants and EU member states.

The Greens have long been arguing for an overarching approach to migration policy to be established at EU level, that is rights based for the migrants and that is solidary to the member states receiving most migrants and asylum seekers. Both Jean-Claude Juncker, the recent President-elect of the European Commission, and the current Italian Presidency of the EU indicated migration policy as a priority. However, despite these good intentions, what are the solutions currently discussed? How might first steps towards building a broader framework for migration legislation look? These will be key questions discussed in this seminar on “Migration and asylum policy in Europe”.

More specifically, topics that will be addressed include:

  • A rights’ based approach to migration (from access, to migrants’ status and ultimately migrants’ rights)
  • Support and solidarity with EU countries that receive most migration flows: infrastructure, funding, shared responsibilities
  • EU discourse on migration: how to prevent falling into the “close the borders” trap and come up with a broader framework for migration policy at EU level
  • Countering hate speech and actions against migrants of right-wing groups
  • Follow-up of asylum procedures and integration in host countries
  • A visit to an asylum centre in Bulgaria, as well as input from experts from Bulgaria, Malta, Greece and the European level of policy making.

If you are interested in migration and asylum policy and would like to exchange your views, share ideas and network with Green activists from other countries, then apply to participate in this two day seminar!

About the seminar

The seminar will take place on 17 – 18 October 2014 in Sofia, Bulgaria (two full working days). The Green European Foundation will fully reimburse the travel costs of participants and will cover the costs of accommodation and meals throughout the seminar, in exchange for a participation fee of 60 euro.

The seminar is organised by the Green European Foundation, with support of the Bulgarian Association for Citizens’ Initiatives, The Greek Green Institute and the Ceratonia Foundation (Malta).

Apply to participate

We are currently looking for 30 participants interested in taking part in this seminar. Ideally, participants should:

  • Have a general interest in European Union politics and a basic knowledge about how the EU works
  • Have a particular interest in and knowledge of migration and asylum policies
  • Be open to group discussions and participation in various group debates
  • Have a level of English which will allow them to participate in the debates and benefit from the inputs
  • Be communicative, open-minded, eager to learn from each other’s experiences
  • Be willing to do a small assignment for the preparation of the seminar before the seminar itself
  • Be involved in Green activism (young greens, green-minded NGOs, green parties etc) at local, regional or national level
  • Come from a state that is member of the Council of Europe and has a Green organisation member of the European Green Party
  • Be able to attend the entire two days of the seminar

Gender and regional balance will be taken into account when selecting the participants

How to apply?

Applications can be made only by filling in the on-line application form

The deadline for applications is September 1st 2014 (midnight, CET). Applications received after the deadline will not be considered.

Further information

For any questions related to the content of the seminar or the application, please contact Marina Barbalata atmarina.barbalata(@)gef.eu

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