Monday, 16 June 2008

Mapping migration in Europe

Today the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva hosted the European launch of the Mapping Migration in Europe report written by CCME and the WCC (click on the link to download the report). The seminar for the launch heard from Doris Peschke, CCME's general secretary, Allessia Passarelli, one of the report's co-authors, and Amélé Ekué, professor at the Bossey Ecumenical Institute and a specialist in mission studies.
The report challenges perceptions about migration in Europe with facts - 63% of migrants in Europe are from within the continent and not from outside. Migration is an issue which affects all regions of the world not just Europe.
CCME is trying to get churches in Europe to support further mapping of migration and charting the perceptions of the issue which is so emotive and politicised. The report also points to the changing ecclesial map of Europe as an opportunity to rethink local ecumenical relations as well as a challenge to inter-church relations. Churches are encouraged to use the report to reflect on what "being Church together" means for them in this new and rapidly changing landscape. There are no easy recipes for "being church together" but there are stories to be shared, challenges to be faced, interestingly it is often Europe's minority churches who are experiencing some of this change first- the Protestant churches in Italy and France for example but perhaps also the Catholic Church in England.
Listening to the specialists speaking this morning I was shocked at some of the little known legal barriers the EU has in place meaning that a migrant refused in one country cannot be considered for entry into another EU country for five years. As Switzerland seems set to join the Schengen area later this year I wonder what the consequences will be for getting visas for people coming to international meetings in Geneva.