In this edition of Brussels, My Love?, we discuss the recent French protests and ask if Europe is really doing all it can to promote integration and inclusion.
This week we were joined by Emmanuel Achiri, a policy expert on policing and migration at the European Network Against Racism (ENAR), Abir Al-Sahlani, a Swedish MEP from Renew Europe, and Matteo Albania, communications director at Must & Partners, a Brussels-based public relations firm.
This panel discussed integration and inclusion in light of recent events in France.
Albania said that integration, as a whole, does not exist in Europe. “There is no European integration model. There is a France model, there is a Germany model, there is a Spain model, but there is not really one European model."
French protesters quickly sprang into action after a teen was shot dead during a traffic control, in Nanterre, near Paris. However, these protests quickly degenerated into looting, street fires and led to thousands of arrests.
But human rights advocate Emmanuel Achiri believes this reaction goes deeper than the week-long protests.
“This is systemic. This is not about Nahel. This is not about raising the child correctly. This is about racial profiling. And this is about the French state refusing to recognise that it is promoting racism within society,” he said.
He was not alone in this belief, MEP Al-Sahlani said France needs a reform to start the integration process properly.
“If you don't take the mirror as a society and look at yourself with open eyes, thinking of perspectives, then you will not be representing everyone and then you will be representing just a certain group,” she said. “This is what the French society has to do as a whole. Take a mirror and have a good look and invite everyone to participate in the discussion to improve society.”
Panelists also dove into the rule of law situation across the bloc and phone addiction.
Watch ‘Brussels, My Love?’ in the player above for more.