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Goodbye, Erasmus

erasmus phixrThe future of the Erasmus scholarships is an uncertain future. Even though, of course, this only depends on who are we asking to. As we all know, the Secretary of Education, José Ignacio Wert, announced only two weeks ago the withdraw without previous notice of the state assistance for this year to all the students who weren’t beneficiaries of a general scholarship, measure that had to be abandoned after the strong protests and the opposition on behalf of the educational sector, the Autonomous Communities and the European Committee.



UAB Delegation participates in the Euranet Debate in Brussels

Politicians and citizens from all over Europe met on June 19th in the European Parliament in Brussels for the official launch of Euranet Plus, the radio and Internet network for EU news. Among those present were the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schultz, three Vice Presidents of the European Parliament, and Juana Lahousse-Juárez, the highest ranking Spanish civil servant in the EU.



Feminine sport in the shadow of the mass media

patinatge vs futbol phixrThe feminine team of artistic skating Club Patí Olot celebrated in November their seventh gold medal in world championships that they succeeded in Chinese Taipei. The following day of the victory, 15th November, some Catalan media mentioned that new but it’s a well known fact that, compared with the male sportive events, women sports still being in second plane. Almost everybody knows the German club who won the football champions league last year, but only a few of them know that there is a Catalan skating team who wins world championships since 2006.


Melilla: The EU southern guardian

The responsibility of safeguarding the frontier of the whole EU, alone

28th March, 2014. 214 people make "the jump". That consists of 'passing over the Melilla fence', popularly named. Those 214 people come from southern Africa, did it from Morocco and achieve their European goal. It was the most massive 'assault', that has been officially named.

Since the year began, 4.000 people attempted 'the jump' and more than 600 succeeded. The European dream is set in most African souls. It moves thousands of lives from the south to the north, even when in the north we all think that our economic reality is, to make it short, bad. Sub-Saharan people spend months walking through over 7.000 kilometres. How are we, the Europeans, going to manage that situation?

Schengen resolutions for a better world

Let's do a flashback to give some legal framework: Schengen Agreement. 25th June 1991. Spain signs the adhesion to the Schengen Area. Consequences: On the one hand, the abolition of internal border controls; on the other hand, the reinforcement of external frontiers.

EU States commit to join forces 'to attain the dual objective of improving security through more efficient external border controls, while facilitating access of those having a legitimate interest to enter the EU territory'. Harmonising rules and procedures, increasing efficiency and transparency... Those were the administration goals, but, furthermore, Melilla needed logistic help.

Crude reality

There are 1.300 people in a space designed for 480 at the harbor. Melilla's CETI (Centre for Temporal Staying for Immigrants,) exceed 4 times its capacity. These are just numbers, but a revealingly statistic.

There are huge consequences: first, no space. Campaign tents have been arranged. Secondly, there was no economic prevision to give food, clothes, blankets, etcetera to all this demand. Third, workers collapsed: a few civil servants, social workers, doctors... not enough to attend all the new arrivals.

CETI's, CIE's and NGO's

Came back to the past another time, 1999. Authorities start to realize that the immigration from Africa to Spain was alarmingly increasing.  The result was the building of the first CETI's in Melilla and Ceuta. Their function is to provide emergency support. Some NGO's, like ACNUR, come to the aid of those recently arrived.

As they don't know how long it will take them to get out of the CETI, the social services have developed a kind of fellowship in itself. As far as they resources can go, they have medical care, dining halls, communitarian bathrooms and even schools. People who live there (because they are living for a long period) do have freedom of movement. But they don't have anywhere to go.

CETI's are very different to the CIE's, despite the similarity of names. CIE means Internment Centre of Foreigners, in other words, where immigrants are arrested while they wait for their situation solving: they could be expulsed or they could receive political asylum. In time, the ones who are in the CETI's are shared out to CIE's. People there can only spend 40 days of retainement. CIE's are not jails, but the people are under judicial control and their freedom of movement is restricted.

Help needed

The Colonel of the Guardia Civil explains that they detected a group of 2.000 people in Gurugu Mountain, just waiting for the appropriate moment to perform 'the jump'. Spanish Police by its own are expected to clamp down.

Effectively, there are collaboration agreements. For example, Frontex, this European Union Agency "promotes, coordinates and develops European border management in line with the EU fundamental rights". But, many sources close to the work at the frontier, confess that they have never seen any Frontex member in 10 years. One source, closely related to the police, adds that time by time, they appear briefly, to commit a determinate mission with rapidly results, like an anti- drugs traffic operation. They do it in some days and automatically disappear of Melilla.

The European goal

An amount of problems mix: the drama problem that those people had, in order to decide to pass through thousands kilometres of desert with any kind of guarantee. The difficult position left for of Melilla City, with 80.000 habitants, is that it is receiving the pressure of those thousands who want to come. We cannot close our eyes and expect that it will be solved. The solution is not to close absolutely the frontiers, but what would happen if the frontier would be absolutely open?

Many factors are involved. Juan Jose Imbroda, Melilla's autonomous city president claims for help to the EU. "It's a matter of Europe. They don't come to achieve Melilla, they come for the European goal".

The solution is far from being easy to find. But at the same time something is clear: first of all, it's essential to make the European society (over the locals who live in border towns) awareness of such a global emergency. Then, the multiple European conferences, summits, meetings and etceteras must start to provide solid content to EU policies in the governance of migration fluxes, and so on to implement systems to ensure that the agreements are going to apply. It's an inalienable duty for the EU, and a peremptory humanly claim to deal with.



MILID Journalists

Chido Onumah: “Young people: it’s their world, they own it”

Chido-Onumah-1Chido Onumah is a Nigerian journalist and coordinator of the African Centre for Media & Information Literacy, and member of the Global Alliance for Partnerships on Media and Information Literacy. Onumah’s passion for media education has led him to travel all over the world as a reporter and an expert in media training for professional journalists as well as promoting media and information literacy for students and youth in Africa. Follow Chido Onumah’s ideas on this interview with Young Journalists.



Growth this year will be higher than initially forecast. The unemployment rate, whilst still much too high, has stopped increasing

Jose Manuel Barroso