"A global perspective to solve the refugee crisis!"
On 22 October 2015, Daniel Schily, executive manager of Democracy International, welcomed the audience of the event "What can the world learn from Europe's refugee crisis?" that took place in Berlin with the following words.
"Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen,
I warmly welcome you here in Berlin. Also a warm welcome to the people who listen to us in New York and the United States.
I am addressing you on behalf of Democracy International. Democracy International is an organisation of citizens who deeply care about democracy. We want strong democracies and people to have a say when fundamental decisions are made internationally. Our ideal is the political self-empowered individual.
These days, thousands of people are fleeing from Syria. Many more people are fleeing from war-torn and economically troubled countries. This fact makes us talk in Europe about the “refugee crisis”. With people arriving on our doorsteps, we suddenly feel pressured to find solutions. While we do not have any yet, we call the phenomenon a “crisis”.
Yet we need to change perspective! We need to adopt a global one: These millions of people are also leaving their homes as they seek the kind of life we Europeans and Americans have been enjoying for decades. They want a life that is safe and prosperous and that allows everybody to participate in politics. They quest a life that pluralistic democracies enable.
During the Arab Revolution people demanded better lives and democratic rights. On 10th December, Tunisian people will be awarded with the Nobel Prize for Peace. And back in 2011, also many Syrians had joined pro-democracy protests. It is absolutely sad that this country today is in civil war whose consequences we face today.
So when there is one of the many lessons to learn, then it is this one: We need to find solutions that enable every single person of this world a good life. We need to discuss the principles of social justice from a global perspective. Merely national or European solutions are not enough! They will backfire to us.
In this view, Democracy International feels very honoured to host this event together with Zócalo Public Square, the ideas exchange that has profound experience with organising deep and detailed debate. I look forward to starting this debate with all of you now!"
Ahead of the event, Cora Pfafferott had interviewed Joe Mathews, a US journalist and board member of Democracy International, on Europe's refugee crisis and its democratic dimension.