Sharing territories, sharing duties and rights
Nowadays the term social citizenship refers to the progressive extension of rights and duties even to those who reside for various reasons in the country without being citizens in the formal sense. Often migrations are considered in a negative meaning for both countries involved in these processes. The emigration country is a place from where people are escaping, where nobody wants to live, where there's a lack of opportunities, a low quality of life, poverty. For the immigration country, immigrants are always portrayed in a problematic way: they are a cost for the government, they ask for rights without having any title to do it. Although the reasons to move from our own country are various. At the same time, due to globalisation, migration flows are expanding everywhere and they affect the whole world that is always more connected. If we take a look to my country, the migratory flow towards Italy has been increasing steadily since 2001 and it is one of the highest between the OCSE countries (“Jobs for immigrants - Vol. 4 - : Labour market integration in Italy”, OECD, 2014). Another significant fact relates to the number of births to non-Italian parents: in 2012 they represented 15% of all new-borns in Italy (“XXIII Rapporto Immigrazione” Caritas e Migrantes, 2013).
Furthermore, the link “citizenship-nationality”is weakening: we have a greater number ofmixed families, more people living as citizens of a country even if they don't have the citizenship, fewer borders, more multinational agencies and also the progress of European unification’s project contributes to it. The traditional concept of citizenship seems to require an adaptation to the contemporary situation and be expanded to include new rights. In other words, it needs to be revised and reformulated. We would like to do it using a social approach instead of a political one. A social citizenship involves having access to public services, participating in the community life, carrying weight in matters concerning our daily life and therefore choosing to contribute to the growth of the community and the country in which we live. Being aware of the access to social rights gives meaning and expression to the multiple dimensions that shape the citizen as a person who possesses an intrinsic dignity; because as stated in the “Constitution of the World Health Organization” in 1946: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”.
There’s a concern that the eclipse of traditional citizenship will impede the solidarity and social cohesion which are fundamental elements of each national community. To avoid it, I strongly believe it's important to consider how we could redefine the concept of citizenship including also those coming from a different cultural background, but with whom we share the same territory. And young people can and must play a role in this context! YEU envisions to develop the critical analysis and thinking of European youth, who faces up this reality on a daily base, as actor of change to achieve an equal society and to contribute to the creation of a more open and cohesive community. Raise awareness about the topic of social citizenship and of the access to social rights of non-citizens can on one hand increase young people's social inclusion and well-being, according to the priorities pursued by the Erasmus+. And on the other hand it can tackle the marginalization and the risk factors often associated with second-generation immigrants avoiding the proliferation of the well-known Parisian banlieues.
As Einstein was used to describe himself as a “citizen of the world” who sees himself first as a member of mankind and looks at the human community as a whole we can all take this approach and be “world citizens”!