Bridging Borders: Migration Stories and the Impact on European Elections

An event titled “Bridging Borders: Migration Stories and the Impact on European Elections” was held at Saline 34 last Friday, April the 5th. After being greeted by the organizers, participants learned about the subject of migration and the circumstances surrounding the African enclaves of Melilla and Ceuta, which are located near the border between Morocco and Spain.

The group viewed two brief news reports in order to shed light on these situations: the first was a Vox documentary about Melila, the world’s most fortified border, the means by which migrants cross it, and their personal narratives; the second was a news report about an unexpected event that occurred in 2021 when thousands of migrants crossed the Moroccan open border to Ceuta in a single day, and how the government and non-governmental organizations had to coordinate efforts to assist this group of people.

Gaining a better understanding of the circumstances enabled the audience to watch the following documentary, which was produced by CGE volunteer Fatima Azadli. It described the training course in which she participated in March, along with Mariana Matoso, another volunteer, and Vladislav Artiukhov, a CGE project coordinator and facilitator. The focus of this project, named “Bridges Not Walls”, was nonverbal communication tools for working with migrants.

The documentary proved how impactful the training was for the participants, who not only learned and tested new methods and tools (theatre, dance, music) but also met great people from all over the world, and visited local organizations, Ceuta’s Red Cross, and the northern border between Ceuta and Morocco, where thousands of migrants attempt to cross each year.

Following the documentary, the participants were taken outdoors for an exercise called “Barometer,” conducted by Mariana Matoso. The workshop’s objectives were to foster a discussion about migration policy, individual perspectives and life experiences, and the definition of migration. Participants in the workshop discussed their personal views, how they position themselves in the world, and how they would want governments to respond to the phenomena of migration.

Maryna Bykova, a project manager at CGE, concluded the event with an overview of input on the New Pact on Migration and Asylum. This was followed by a productive discussion on the reasons behind migration, how it feels to be a migrant, and the options available to influence EU migration policies. Other topics covered included the shortcomings of the previous Dublin Regulation, how some organisations have already mentioned their concerns regarding the new Pact , how political parties instrumentalize immigration in their campaigns ahead of the June 2024 elections for the EU parliament, and the overall role of the EU and its citizens in decision-making processes pertaining to migration policies.

This event was hosted by Bridges Not Walls (P. Nr.: 2022-3-ES02-KA153-YOU-000098508), EU4Youth2Act (P.Nr.: 2023-1-IT03-KA220-000154855) and YoungDemo (P. Nr.: CERVSEP-210833021) projects, co-funded by the European Union through the Erasmus+ program.

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