11 September 2015

The shameful lack of political action by the EU in response to high arrivals of refugees and to provide safe routes for them to travel to Europe has driven citizens to take action to welcome them with compassion and humanity. Civil society, activists and volunteers across Europe have demonstrated solidarity and taken it upon themselves to respond to the humanitarian needs of refugees by stepping in where their governments have failed to act. This includes organising aid convoys to Calais, distributing warm healthy meals in Budapest, donating items to refugees in Lesvos and offering homes to resettled refugees in Iceland. ECRE has produced a non-exhaustive document which maps some of these citizens’ initiatives and will be frequently updated. If you wish to add an event or initiative in your country, please contact rcarvalho@ecre.org.  

A number of solidarity events will take place on Saturday 12 September as part of a European Day of Action which will use the hashtag #EuropeSaysWelcome. This is timed to take place ahead of the emergency summit of Justice and Interior Ministers of the 28 Member States on 14 September to discuss the migration crisis. The Day of Action aims to put pressure on political leaders by showing the extensive public support for positive change. Public demonstrations and marches will take place throughout Europe, which are primarily organised via Social Media. Candlelight vigils will also be held in memory of those who have died attempting to reach safety. Thousands of citizens are taking part to send the clear message that refugees are welcome in Europe.

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This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 11 September 2015. You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.