In a video interview, Dr Torsten Moritz, general secretary of the Churches' Commission for Migrants in Europe, gives a short analysis of the new EU Migration Pact, and how faith-based organizations are working to change unbearable conditions for thousands of migrants and refugees.
The Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe is helping to lead a dialogue between global religious groups and the European Commission offices in Brussels.
“Let me first of all say that, if we talk about the pact, we are in reality talking about 12 different documents, almost 500 pages of text!” he said. “Like most people here in Brussels, we are still studying the details.”
The main points of change, Moritz said, involved speeding up asylum procedures and also looking at stronger protection of certain groups. “To be honest, a lot of these things we have heard before,” he said. “Member states have not really invested a lot of money in making asylum procedures faster.”
A relatively new addition to the proposed pact is a requirement that migrants will go through a pre-screening and an individual assessment of their claims.
Moritz also outlines what concerns faith-based organizations the most: “You can express solidarity as a member state by helping to send people back, which for us is worrying,” he said.
The Churches' Commission for Migrants in Europe was among a dozen global and regional religious organizations that released an advocacy statement on the situation of migrants and refugees in Europe that defines their calling as Christians to “welcome the stranger,” and urges the creation of a world in which “we become human together.”
This unity in advocacy is unprecedented, said Moritz. “On the eve of the presentation of the pact it was a dozen organizations that got together—global, regional, national—and we are pretty happy with that cooperation.”
The statement is co-signed by the ACT Alliance, the Anglican Communion, the Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe, the Conference of European Churches, the European Region of the World Association for Christian Communication, the Evangelical Church of Greece, the Integration Center for Migrant Workers – Ecumenical Refugee Program, Non Profit Organisation of the Church of Greece, the Lutheran World Federation, the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity , the World Communion of Reformed Churches, the World Communion of Reformed Churches (European Region), the World Council of Churches and the World Methodist Council.