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Stop Embarrassing and Endangering Us!

This petition had 1,211 supporters

We, citizens and residents of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia (V4), are calling upon our governments to respect our dignity and the dignity of the people who knock at our doors as they flee from danger and seek better lives.

We are not the incapable, irresponsible and inhuman people that our politicians have made us look like. We are tired of watching the V4 ‘statesmen’ telling the world that our countries are unattractive, inhospitable places for people to move to and to live in. We are fed up with our politicians looking for reasons ‘why we can’t’ help instead of looking for what we can and should do. We are embarrassed by their cowardly and scandalous statements. We are horrified to see a fence erected at the region’s southern frontier and passport controls reintroduced at our borders.    

This approach has to change! Refugees depend on that - and so do we.

Central Europeans know what its like to live behind fences and struggled to end that exclusion. We fought to join the EU and to gain the benefits of the Schengen system. Now we have to fight to defend the EU and the European values that we signed up to and which are endangered by the approach of our politicians. They risk our place in the world and all that we have gained in the last 25 years. We must defend refugees’ dignity to defend our own.

We belong to the world’s most prosperous and democratic countries and our governments have to stop behaving destructively and start acting like patriots, like Europeans. Instead of spreading fear and passing the buck, we need to take our share of the responsibilities that come with the benefits that we enjoy from being in the EU and Schengen. We need to take pride in the strength of our values, our societies and our capacity to help deal with the greatest European crisis in recent times

We therefore demand that V4 governments come up with a clear plan. This plan must commit to:

·       protecting the rights of asylum seekers and upholding our responsibilities;

·       protecting citizens who help migrants in distress;

·       ending the fear mongering;

·       starting a constructive dialogue grounded in facts and European values;

·       becoming a part of a European solution, not an obstacle to it.

 The challenge we are facing today is comparable to 1989. Like then, we need to be able to look ourselves in the eye in this defining moment in our history.


Lucia Najšlová, Editor-in-Chief, V4 Revue, Czech Republic.

Benjamin Tallis, Research Fellow & Editor-in-Chief, New Perspectives, IIR Prague, Czech Republic.


Initial Signatories:

Adam Balcer, Policy Analyst, Poland

Adéla Dražanová, Reporter, Reporter Magazine, Czech Republic

Agnieszka Łada, Head of European Programme, Institute of Public Affairs, Poland

Andrej Findor, Sociologist, Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia

Attila Mong, Journalist, Hungary

Béla Greskovits, Professor, Central European University, Hungary

Dániel Hegedüs, Visiting Lecturer, Free University, Berlin, Hungary

Dorothee Bohle, Professor, Central European University, Hungary

Elena Gallová Kriglerová, Director, Center for Research of Ethnicity and Culture, Slovakia

Emil Aslan Souleimanov, Faculty of Social Sciences, Czech Republic

Erich Mistrík, professor, Faculty of Pedagogics, Comenius University, Slovakia

Eva Mihočková, Journalist, Plus 7 Dni, Slovakia

Ewa Kulik-Bielińska, Director of Stefan Batory Foundation, Poland

Gábor Egry, Head of Research Department, Institute of Political History, Budapest, Hungary

Grzegorz Gromadzki, Expert, Stefan Batory Foundation, Poland

Hana Fábry, journalist and activist, Slovakia

Hayden Berry, Artist, Poland 

Henry Majer, English Teacher & Cellist, Czech Republic

Jacek Kucharczyk, Director of Institute of Public Affairs, Poland

Jakub Patočka, Editor-in-Chief, Denik Referendum, Czech Republic

Jan Daniel, Research Fellow, IIR Prague, Czech Republic

Ján Orlovský, co-organiser of Plea for Humanity, Slovakia

Jana Smiggels Kavková, Director, Fórum 50 %, Czech Republic

Kateřina Procházková, Journalist, Czech Television, Czech Republic 

Laszlo Bruszt, Professor, Central European University, Hungary

Lucia Štasselová, co-organiser of Plea for Humanity, Slovakia

Łukasz Stanek, Lecturer, University of Manchester, Poland

Marek Hojsík, policy analyst, program manager at Otevřená společnost, Czech Republic

Martin Dubéci, co-organiser of Plea for Humanity, Slovakia

Martin Michelot, Director of Global Europe Programme, EUROPEUM, Czech Republic

Michal Hvorecký, Novelist, Slovakia

Michal Kořan, Deputy Director, IIR Prague, Czech Republic

Mikuláš Křen, Filmmaker, Czech Republic

Miroslav Kollár, Mayor of Hlohovec, Slovakia

Nora Beňáková, Head of One World Film Festival, People in Peril, Slovakia

Oľga Gyárfášová, sociologist, Comenius University and Institute for Public Affairs, Slovakia

Pavel Barša, Professor, Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic

Tomáš Bendl, Marketing & PR Specialist, Anglo-American University, Czech Republic

Tomáš Profant, Lecturer, Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia

Tomáš Weiss, Chair of the Academic Senate of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University, Czech Republic

Tonya Graves, Singer, Czech Republic

Václav Kříž, Chairman of Young Citizens, Czech Republic

Věra Řiháčková, Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum, Czech Republic

Vera Schulmann, Teacher, Slovakia

Vladimír Bartovic, Director, EUROPEUM, Czech Republic

William Eddlestone, Chair of History Dept, Anglo-American University, Czech Republic

Wojciech Przybylski, Editor-in-Chief of Res Publica Nowa and Visegrad Insight, Poland

Zsuzsanna Végh, Research Fellow, CEU, Budapest, Hungary

Zuzana Bargerová, Lawyer, Slovakia

Zuzana Stuchlíková, Deputy Chair, Young Citizens, Czech Republic

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