Church in Europe

COMECE: dialogue with EU Commission on migration. “Moving from fear to compassion”. The role of education

(Brussels) “Mass migration prompted by global conflict and ecological crises has stirred up unresolved fears in European societies. Understanding and responding to this was the central theme of a dialogue seminar that took place on 24 October between churches and the European Commission”, the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) announced in a statement today. Participants in the seminar “identified two widely experienced types of fear. The first is the fear of rejection, violence, and exclusion many migrants and refugees face both on their way to Europe and following their arrival. The other is the fear known by many in Europe who feel their values and way of life is under threat by the arrival of these migrants. Although non-EU migrants represent only 4% of the total EU population, a so-called ‘moral panic’ emerges, which is sometimes amplified by media and social media activity”. Participants “sought constructive ways to address and dispel these fears, including through the establishment of listening and discussion spaces”. Unaccompanied children were the main focus of discussion. The solutions proposed were mainly rooted in the promotion of education, dialogue, and the role of the media to “move from fear toward compassion and solidarity”. The European Commission, on its part, acknowledged the key role played by churches in addressing the migration challenge.