Above: Caritas Europa's executive board meeting in Brussels this week.
Brussels, 16 March 2012 - Caritas Europa is asking the European Union in an open letter to make it easier for immigrants to bring their families to Europe.
Its executive board, which met in Brussels earlier this week, wants the EU ‘to guarantee respect for the right to family life for non-EU nationals and their families’.
Board members, who include Caritas leaders from nine member organisations, say they want a better implementation of the current EU directive on family reunification, a legislative act that will make it easier for immigrants to bring their families to Europe.
They have already responded to the European Commission’s Green Paper on the directive.
They want the EU ´to guarantee equal treatment and non-discrimination of non-EU nationals and their family members in the labour market, education and training, ´ says the charity in its open letter.
'The EU should ensure their independent residence status for reunited family members as early as possible.'
The executive board is the governing body of 49 member organisations of the Caritas Europa network.
They say the goal of the EU directive is to promote immigrants' family life in the EU.
To achieve these goals, the executive board wants a better implementation of the current directive.
“We raised our concerns over current practices in some EU member states that prevent migrants and refugees from being reunited with their families,” said secretary general Jorge Nuño Mayer.
“We also believe the right to family life must be ensured and respected at EU level with regards to third country nationals,” he added.
Caritas Europa had earlier delivered a detailed contribution to the Green Paper. The main points that Caritas Europa is advocating are:
- Ensuring that the right to family life is upheld and respected at the EU level with regards to third country nationals.
- The goal of the Directive to facilitate and enable family life of third country nationals in the EU to be met and the unnecessary conditions that can prevent family life to be removed.
- Ensuring equal treatment and non-discrimination of third country nationals and their family members with regards to access to labour market, education and training.
- Access to independent residence status for reunited family members as early as possible.
Caritas Europa also joined a common position of European Christian organisations together with CCME, COMECE Secretariat, Eurodiaconia, ICMC, JRS Europe and the Quaker Council on European Affairs. Read the group's comments here.
Read the full text of the statement from Caritas Europa’s Executive Board here.
Deutsche Caritasverband and Diakonische Werk der EKD also made a statement on family reunification. You can read their common position here.
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