Dal Partito della Sinistra Europea: Immigration emergency or failure of the EU elites?

Si è svolto dal 16 al 18 dicembre, a Berlino, il quinto congresso del Partito della Sinistra Europea, una forza che riunisce attualmente fra membri ufficiali, osservatori e partner oltre 35 partiti che abbracciano l’intero continente europeo, oltre le frontiere UE. Il tema dell’ìmmigrazione e dei rifugiati è stato al centro di quasi tutti gli interventi che si sono succeduti. Quelli che seguono sono il testo elaborato dal gruppo di lavoro sull’immigrazione, in inglese e fatto proprio dall’intero congresso, (in inglese) e il testo dell’intervento con cui ho presentato in plenaria il nostro lavoro e in cui si assumono alcuni impegni programmatici. Un contributo per un Europa diversa che offriamo ai nostri lettori.

Stefano Galieni

The scenarios that are emerging in Europe, caused by wars, dictatorships, climatic and environmental disasters, economic crises that affect most of the country from which people emigrate, they are constantly changing, aggravating an already critical situation and increasing the number of victimized migratory population, both migrants and refugees.
Nevertheless,the European political and social reflexes towards this major issue are often oriented according to  older misjudgments and mistakes.
In the past decades, people were migrating  to Europe in order to ameliorate their life standards, seeking jobs and life improvement  opportunities. European Union responded by  homogeneous restrictions on freedom of entry and circulation, leaving the legislative initiatives concerning reception, social inclusion and civil rights to the member states.
Today  EU itself promotes agreements in the direction of making european  borders practically inaccessible, by granting billions of euro to countries such as  Turkey in order to restrain the migrating  flow, launching initiatives (ex the Khartoum process )aiming to set up barriers – even in the form of detention – in Sub Saharan Africa. At the same time E.U  leaves on their own  the countries of the South Europe to deal with the arrivals of people who, against all barriers, continue to move in order to save their lives.
The decision of several  european governments to built walls and fences outside as well as within the “Schengen Area”,imposing at the same time social, religious, work capacity and origin  criteria according to which they select the lucky few to enter their territory an acceptable procedure, though it consists an immediate violation of the european law and regulations signed by every EU member state.
At the same time, the economic crisis, which is still aggravating, favored these political forces that – regardless of how much vital  resources are available , today more than ever, in surplus  – they target  migrant citizens blaming them  for every trouble.
It is evident that in many european countries,( France, Germany, Italy, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe),  xenophobic populism also gains consensus among working  classes.
There is an urgent need for the european people to realise that the real conflict is not the one between the exploited classes of diverse  nationalities but among the exploited and exploiters.As European Left,  we have the data, the tools, the skills to prove to all  citizens that it is not the new comers who put at stake their rights, but the political and economic elites who are fueling wars and nationalistic divisions, according to their own interests.All across Europe the deep economic crisis creates bigger profits for the rich few ones, while the poor and excluded from the production process and private welfare, both migrants or natives, are baring  the consequences.
Walls, barbed wires, militarization of borders, forced deportations, denial of the right to asylum, are choices made by the political elites to continue the oppression while fueling the illusion that they are defending  the natives’ prosperity.
Although European policies have had in recent years a “welcome” phase towards migrants, with  specific characteristics that were altering according to the mere interests of each country, nowadays the picture has been radically changed. Even for countries such as Germany and Italy ( mainly because of  the demographic decline) need to maintain a positive trend in new workforce inputs, specific causes resulted in an abrupt  change of policy:
– The fact of the outgrowing  arrival of people has not received adequate responses from EU institutions. The idea that those who came from Syria, Iraq or African “critical” countries, could be relocated,, according to the needs of the host country has been proved to be an illusion. Such relocation policies failed: out of 120 thousand people who were supposed to find a decent accommodation, less than a 10% have  actually found it.
-Social majority alarming factors such as terrorist attempts, job losses, welfare reductions, have been connected to the arrival of refugees, as a factor of political instability. Now this new scenario it is expected to be overcome with purely repressive responses that are not going to produce positive effects.
Within this framework, EU member states that have become the main european  entrance( mainly Greece and the southern part of Italy), are struggling to assure human conditions of accommodation, health care and support  for the increasing refugee and migratory populations, displaying a high degree of solidarity, despite the deep social wounds due by the neoliberal political and economic suffocation.
On the other hand, the Migration Compact is supposed to convince African countries to retain  all those attempting to flee to Europe, while countries are seeking  stronger economic and military incentives, even in disagreement with the Geneva Convention. All the same, the Declaration of New York, is likely to remain just  a useless document of positive  intentions.
Nowadays, the  “hotspot” approach aims to separate those who are entitled to forms of international protection or asylum from economic migrants which are going to be repatriated, throughout a  practice of restriction  that so far has not produced other effects than disperse those who have been interned.
The establishment of European border guards and the military  naval operations, are also  supposed to effectively repel the fleeing populations  to unstable countries (ex. Libya).
These are choices  unlikely to produce any positive impact, especially after the results of the US presidential elections that are most likely to aggravate the international political scenery and enforce the xenophobic, racist and undemocratic rhetorics and social reactions within the EU member states as well, while favouring the strengthening of the far right and  fascist political forces already raising in Europe.

Taking under consideration this dangerously escalating situation,the Party of the  European Left  should demand  a radical paradigm approach to  this key issues :

1) Repeal of the Dublin Regulation and offer the asylum seekers, the environmental and economic refugees a real European care program instead of different national approaches.
2) Effective protection of people fleeing from the criminal market of human trafficking, through institutionalized paths of reception and social inclusion shared by all 28 EU member states.
3) Support of  local economies of the countries of origin, in order  to facilitate the road of return and simultaneously boycotting of  the  governments that force people to flee (breaking bilateral readmission agreements signed by individual EU member states)
4) Sanctioning policies toward the EU member states that opt for  internal or external barriers against refugees and migrants,on the basis of so called  national interests, trying to stop or divert their arrival.It is imperative not to allow labor exploitation to be used as a tool of conflict between migrant and ingenous working people.
5)Exclusion of  the expenses due to  acceptance and social inclusion planning from the calculation of deficits of individual member states.
6) Suppression of Frontex and other law enforcement agencies, in favor of the strengthening of SAR operations
7) Creation of  legal,regular and secure entrance channels approachable to all simply by presenting  their identity documents.

Care compagne e compagni

Intanto ringrazio calorosamente la Sinistra Europea per l’invito accordatomi. Il gruppo di lavoro che faticosamente si è mosso in questi anni, soprattutto grazie all’impegno della compagna Maite Mola e con il coinvolgimento almeno pari al mio della compagna Olga Athaniti, ha avuto poche occasioni per riunirsi e discutere. Io credo, e questo è il primo messaggio che mi permetto di lanciare, che questo gruppo, ancora in formazione, aperto, destinato a crescere, debba potersi incontrare con maggiore frequenza, organizzare momenti di formazione e di informazione utili per tutti i partiti che della Sinistra Europea fanno parte.

Chi lavora come noi non si occupa di un solo tema, deve occuparsi di guerre, disastri ambientali, di economie distrutte dal colonialismo occidentale e di inurbazioni forzate, indotte dalle forme di agricoltura intensiva imposte dalle grandi multinazionali. Un gruppo che negli anni a venire purtroppo avrà troppe ragioni per esistere, lavorare, lottare e contribuire a cambiare questo continente.

Si occupa di donne, uomini e spesso soprattutto minori, fuggiti da paesi in cui non trovano pace per approdare in paesi in cui diventano forza di sfruttamento quando non muoiono lungo il tragitto.

Il 2016 è stato l’anno peggiore della storia da questo punto di vista. Quasi 5000 le vittime lungo la strada verso la salvezza, di questi oltre 3600 quelli uccisi nel Mediterraneo e di cui si ha certezza. Uccisi non dal mare ma da leggi ingiuste e da agenzie europee come Frontex che spendono milioni di euro per preservare i confini ma non garantiscono la salvezza in mare né permettono l’esistenza di corridoi umanitari sicuri.

Nel 2016 si sono chiuse le frontiere turche e balcaniche, chi è riuscito ad arrivare è potuto approdare quasi esclusivamente in Italia, circa 170 mila persone, in gran parte ancora in balia di una accoglienza mal gestita e sottoposte a procedure di identificazione e di respingimento esclusivamente in base ai paesi di provenienza. Questi sono i frutti dell’approccio hotspot, degli accordi nati con il Processo di Khartoum, proseguiti con l’accordo de La Valletta e precipitati con il migration compact.

In questi ultimi 3 anni sono giunti in Europa quasi 2 milioni di richiedenti asilo, molti hanno trovato posto in Germania, Svezia, Italia e Grecia. Per molti le frontiere statuali si sono chiuse, ha vinto il regolamento di Dublino, ha vinto l’egoismo degli Stati, ha vinto la xenofobia populista in crescita delle destre neonaziste.

Come Sinistra Europea non possiamo che questo tema venga affrontato soltanto con spirito umanitario e caritatevole. Anche se in primis deve venire il discorso che un continente ricco si deve far carico delle sofferenze che causa nel mondo.

Non possiamo nemmeno accodarci ai sovranismi sciovinisti, agli egoismi nazionali, a pensare che difendendo le nostre classi sociali autoctone le cauteliamo dallo schiavismo del neoliberismo.

Siamo chiamati a pensare ad una Europa solidale in cui gli sfruttati insieme, trovino modo di rivendicare maggiori diritti.

Non è vero che i richiedenti asilo che arrivano e che restano in Europa abbassano i diritti dei lavoratori europei.

È invece verissimo che i padroni europei, continueranno ad utilizzare i lavoratori più ricattabili, e fra questi per primi i migranti e richiedenti asilo, per poter abbassare i nostri diritti.

Ma il nostro compito è spiegare e far vivere nelle nostre classi sociali di riferimento, come la causa dei salari bassi, delle pessime leggi sul lavoro, della disoccupazione che cresce, non sia dovuta all’arrivo dei barconi ma alla fuga dei capitali.

Chi decide oggi cosa e come produrre, con quali salari, dove insediare le produzioni, chi far vivere bene e chi far vivere male, è la causa di mali comuni.

Mai come oggi sarebbe possibile far capire nei nostri paesi, nelle nostre città, nei luoghi di studio e di lavoro che solo una alleanza fra sfruttati provenienti da ogni parte del pianeta ci potrà salvare.

Le cause che costringono le persone a fuggire dai propri paesi vanno combattute, la politica estera dissennata e militarista che è propria anche dell’UE va fermata.

La lotta contro la guerra e la lotta contro la devastazione ambientale e lo sfruttamento senza controllo delle risorse va messa al primo posto.

Dobbiamo sicuramente lavorare per un futuro in cui non sia ammissibile che 62 milioni di persone siano costrette ad abbandonare il proprio paese.

Occorrono pace, giustizia, democrazia e redistribuzione delle risorse.

Ne siamo consapevoli

Ma per chi intanto è arrivato e per chi continuerà ad arrivare malgrado i muri di cui è piena l’Europa dei padroni, malgrado le bande naziste che girano con i cani alla caccia delle persone, malgrado i centri di detenzione e i rimpatri in paesi dove si rischia la vita.

Per chi arriva sfuggendo ai tanti assassini finanziati direttamente o indirettamente dall’occidente di cui è pieno il pianeta, occorre una proposta comune della sinistra europea.

So bene che esistono anche al nostro interno divergenze, legate anche ai nostri singoli paesi e che esistono diverse valutazioni rispetto ad esempio agli accordi con il regime turco o ai piani di relocation.

Su questo dovremo incontrarci più spesso e fare passi avanti insieme

Ma su un altro terreno, politico e più ambizioso, dobbiamo avere una visione di insieme comune.

Quella che porti ad ambire ad una libera circolazione delle persone e non solo di merci e capitali, a parità di diritti.

Quella che non permetta di avere lavoratori sottopagati in nome della propria nazionalità ma che imponga condizioni dignitose di vita e di lavoro per tutti.

Quella che permetta di avere un diritto di asilo europeo, la possibilità di ricostruire i propri frammentati nuclei familiari e di ricevere la necessaria assistenza se si è in condizioni di difficoltà.

Una assistenza che deve valere sia per cittadini dell’Unione che per persone appena giunte.

Le risorse ci sono, si preferisce spendere per salvare le banche o per spese militari o per fronteggiare inesistenti invasioni.

Utilizziamo queste risorse per garantire un futuro al precario italiano, all’anziano tedesco, alla licenziata francese, al richiedente asilo, a chi fugge perché non ha possibilità di vita nel proprio paese.

Indichiamo questa come unica strada percorribile, facciamo presente ai nazionalisti di ogni paese che dicono “prima i nostri”, una semplice verità. La vita dei precari europei e degli scampati alle guerre che debbono entrambi reinventarsi un futuro è più simile di quanto lo sia quella fra due cittadini, dello stesso Paese, il primo disoccupato il secondo direttore di banca.

Dobbiamo imparare a dirlo sugli autobus, nei bar, al lavoro e nei luoghi di studio, ma innanzitutto nei nostri partiti.

Siamo i primi a dover compiere un enorme salto culturale oltre che politico per costruire nuove alleanze di classe, quelle del secolo XXI

Le sole che possono portarci oltre la religione neoliberista.

A maggior ragione, e chiedo veramente che il congresso sancisca questo come mandato ufficiale, vorremmo che questo gruppo venisse messo in condizione di poter agire ed intervenire in maniera più efficace nella crescita di un progetto fondamentale come quello del Partito della Sinistra Europea



Dear comrades,


First of all I want to thank the European Left  for having invited me to come and speak.

A special thanks goes to our comrades Maite Mola and Olga Athaniti for having led our team, in recent years, in spite of the few opportunities given to meet.

I believe, and this is the first message I would like to launch, that this group, still in training and open to growth, should be able to meet more frequently in order to organize more training sessions for all the political parties who belong to the European Left

Those of you who work in this field know that we discuss and handle many different subjects.  We deal with wars, environmental disasters, economies destroyed by Western colonialism and forced urban migration, induced by forms of intensive agriculture imposed by big multinational companies.  We will be called in the next years to work, fight, and help improving this continent.

We deal and we plan to continue dealing with the men and women, especially minors, fleeing from countries where they cannot find peace and in which they are exploited and abused; often dying along the way..  On this note, 2016 was the worst year in history.  Nearly 5,000 victims on the road to salvation and of these, over3600 ascertained to have died in the Mediterranean sea.  These men, women and children are not only killed by the sea but find death because unjust laws and European agencies such as Frontex that spend millions to preserve the boundaries but don’t guarantee safety at sea or allow the existence of safe humanitarian corridors

In 2016 the Turkish and Balkan borders has been closed.  Those who were fortunate enough to escape safely, almost exclusively landed in Italy.   In this country, about 170 thousand people are still at the mercy of a mismanaged host program and are subject to identification and refoulement procedures  only according to the countries of origin.  These are the results of the hotspot approach born from the Khartoum Trial, continued with the Valletta Agreement worsened by the Migration Compact.


In these last three years came in Europe almost 2 million asylum seekers, many of them found a refuge in Germany, Sweden, Italy and Greece. Then many states have closed their borders, the Dublin Regulation won, the selfishness of States won,  the populist xenophobia of neo-Nazi right won.


As European Left, we cannot allow this issue to be dealt only with the humanitarian spirit and charitable. Although in the first place must come the speech that a rich continent has to bear the sufferings that cause in the world.

We cannot follow national egoism, in thinking that defending our social classes we protect them from the slavery of neoliberalism.

We are called to think of a united Europe, in which the exploited together can find a way to claim greater rights. It is not true that asylum seekers lowering the rights of European workers.


Instead, it is true that European masters, will continue to use the blackmail workers, and among these first migrants and asylum seekers, in order to lower our rights.

Our job is to explain that the cause of the low wages and of the  bad labor laws, and of the unemployment growing, is not due to the arrival of the boat migrants but to flight of capital.


Who decides what and how to produce, what wages, where settle productions, those who are going to live well and those who do evil to live, is the cause of common ills.

Today more than before is crucial to make understand in our countries, in our cities, in the places of study and work that only an alliance between the exploited from all over the planet can save us.

The causes that force people to flee their own countries must be fought, reckless and militaristic foreign policy must be stopped, EU one included.

The struggle against war and the fight against environmental devastation and exploitation without control of resources should be our first goal.

We should work for a future where it will not be acceptable that 62 million people are forced to leave their countries.

They need peace, justice, democracy and redistribution of resources.

We are aware of this

But for those who has already arrived and for those who continue to arrive despite the walls that fill the Europe, despite the Nazi gangs that run with the dogs to hunt the people, despite the detention and repatriation in countries where they risk their life.

For those arriving escaping the many killers financed directly or indirectly by the West, we need a common proposal from the European left.

I know that there are also our internal differences, related to our country and that there are different evaluations on some issue, like the agreements with the turkish regime or relocation plans.

We should meet more often and work together

But on political ground we must have a common point of view. .

We must aspire to a free movement of people and not just of goods and capital. We must affirm strongly that having underpaid workers in the name of their own nationality shouldn’t be allowed anymore and we require decent living and working conditions for everyone.

We want an European asylum law, so that we could give chance to rebuild fragmented families and to receive the necessary assistance for people in need.

We want welfare policies for both to EU citizens and for people just arrived.

There are enough resources but our government prefer to use them to rescue the banks or in military spending or to face a nonexistent invasion.

We want to use these resources to ensure a future for the Italian young precarious worker, for the retired German, for the fired Frenchwoman, for the asylum seekers, who runs away because they do not have the possibility of living in their own country.

We must assert this as the only way forward, we must tell the nationalists of every country that say “before our”, a simple truth. The life of a European precarious worker and the one of a survivor of a war is more similar than it is the one of two citizens of the same country, the first a unemployed and the second a bank manager.

We should say this on buses, in bars, at work and in places of study, but first of all in our parties.

We first should make a huge cultural leap as well as to build new political class alliances, those of the twenty-first century, the only ones that can take us beyond the neoliberal religion.

Even more so, I hope that Congress upholds this as official mandate, we would like that this group will intervene more effectively in the growth of a major project such as the Party of the European Left

Thank you