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EU must remain a region that welcomes those fleeing war, persecution and terror


Global Europe
On the occasion of UN World Refugee Day, leading S&D MEPs have urged national leaders to ensure that EU remains a region that welcomes those fleeing war, persecution and terror. The call came during a series of events designed to celebrate the contribution people who have arrived in Europe as refugees are making to their new societies.
S&D Group vice-president responsible for human rights, Elena Valenciano, said:
“Instability in the wider Middle East and elsewhere in the world means that the UN and EU will continue to face the challenge of increased migratory flows for the foreseeable future. Our thoughts today are with the 68.5 million refugees and forcibly displaced people worldwide. The European Union must remain a region that welcomes those fleeing war, persecution and terror.
“The EU must continue to support the UN in its vital work to protect refugees. As we see a Trump administration that demonises migrants and refugees, it is essential that the EU speaks with one voice and stands up for its values and principles. We must push back against the tide of hostility and xenophobia and fight for a global approach based on decency and respect for human rights.
S&D Group vice-president responsible for migration, Tanja Fajon added:
“Today we have brought together refugees from across Europe, together with representatives from the UN, volunteers, NGOs, and other political groups that are working for a fair global asylum system that treats everyone with the respect and dignity. We celebrate the work of all those helping to make a success of integration of refugees throughout the EU. Their humanity and solidarity is a source of pride for Europe, and the best possible response to the xenophobia and outright racism that we have seen spreading across the world in the last few years. Humanity and solidarity are the DNA that makes up both the UN and EU. Today we send a message of hope that these values will prevail.”
Note to editors
At the initiative of the S&D Group, the European Parliament organised a cultural event with Syrian ballet dance Ahmad Joudeh in front of the European Parliament today.
Ahmad Joudeh is a dancer and a choreographer from Syria.
Under the civil war, he encountered not only life-threatening situations, but also threats by extremists, simply because he is a dancer. As declaration of his determination to keep on dancing, he had the words Dance or Die tattooed on the back of his neck, the spot where the blade would be applied in case of execution.
Ahmad Joudeh moved to Amsterdam with the help of Dutch National Ballet in 2016.
Learn more about his Dance or Die project:


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