Lodz – ESI at the Freedom Games 2022

15 October 2022
Video:Liberté! Talks

ESI’s Gerald Knaus was invited to speak at the Freedom Games 2022 at the panel on a “New EU response for war refugees.”

In his presentation, Gerald spoke about the current common EU policy at its borders and how through the normalisation of pushbacks it has been able to control irregular migration. This inhumane practice has led to a drop in the number of people entering the EU.

In contrast to this, Gerald argued that the EU has shown a humane policy towards Ukrainian refugees, who had visa free travel to the EU since 2017. When the war began, they were given the possibility to apply for Temporary Protection Status (TPS) where they wanted. He added that no EU country would have suggested or demanded to deny Ukrainians visa free travel. So far, over 4 million Ukrainians have applied for TPS in the EU and 1 million of them have done so in Germany.

Gerald warned that even though Ukrainians have the freedom of choice of where to apply for TPS, this has caused an unequal distribution of refugees, where many of Ukraine’s neighbouring countries have taken in most refugees. Therefore, countries like France, Spain, and Italy, who have low numbers of Ukrainian refugees, should work towards attracting more refugees to their countries. This will become crucial in the coming winter when 2-3 million more refugees might flee to the EU.

Gerald was joined by Nataliya Melnyk – Executive Director of Bendukidze Free Market Center (BFMC), Janina Ochojska – MEP, humanitarian activist, founder of the Polish Humanitarian Action. The panel was moderated by Piotr Kozanecki, Head of Onet News.