Europe: Provincials and Migrants

There are about 50 million refugees world-wide, and no signs of this number decreasing. Doors are often slammed shut in the faces of these peoples, who are among the world?s most vulnerable and frequently victims of unscrupulous trafficking. In 1999, the fifteen EU member states received roughly 360,000 applications for asylum, a small proportion of the total figure. In response, the European Provincials gathered in Brussels issued a statement for the 20th anniversary of JRS, calling on Europeans to maintain a sense of proportion. While they welcome increased regulation of migrants and the harmonisation of immigration policies within the EU, they nonetheless call on governments to open up more ways to enter Europe legally, ask the media to avoid all banners and clichés that would increase xenophobia, and urge educators to ensure that the coming generations have a responsible and informed attitude to refugees. The statement (at www.jesuits-europe.org), even if made by consensus, has been received in different ways: some Provinces published it in their news bulletins, in other Provinces it was mentioned in the newspapers, or published and discussed in Jesuit reviews. Some did not publish the text because it was not strong enough, and in other Provinces it was not accepted at all. This too is the reality of Europe. [HL10203]