Asking for more restriction on intra EU immigration: Unproductive and politically dangerous

Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, went to Helsinki where she participated in a debate about the future of Europe. Discussions focused on Economy, the euro, Banking Union, Data Protection, Net neutrality, Labour mobility/Free Movement and other issues. (EC Audiovisual Services, 24/09/2013).

Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, went to Helsinki where she participated in a debate about the future of Europe. Discussions focused on Economy, the euro, Banking Union, Data Protection, Net neutrality, Labour mobility/Free Movement and other issues. (EC Audiovisual Services, 24/09/2013).

For the average EU citizen, the right of free movement within the Union’s borders, is the most important and visible attainment in the sixty year history of the European Union. Very few Europeans are in a position to appreciate the advantages of the free movement of capital and goods, while everybody understands and benefits from free movement of people. Yet even this visible to all achievement of free movement, and undoubtedly an existential justification of the EU, seems to be in peril in our modern times of flourishing inward looking extreme ideologies. Some core Union countries, the most wealthy and chauvinist of them, are demanding now to restrict this fundamental right, because they erroneously think, that their social benefit schemes are exploited by other EU nationals.

There are Press reports and newspaper articles in those countries, complaining even about hearing people speaking in the streets with foreign accents. It’s a shame even to discuss such issues. In reality though, countries like Britain, the Netherlands, Sweden and other wealthy nations are asking the EU to create more disincentives on the free movement right, aimed at discouraging other Union nationals to immigrate to those member states and probably look for a job.

Moving for jobs; is it a crime?

This is a completely unreasonable demand however, because there are already in place so many restrictions on possible ‘welfare tourism’ practiced by some individuals, that the possibility of taking advantage of another country’s social welfare schemes is almost nil. Not to forget that two years ago, France used the legal restriction of the three month free stay right in another EU country without having a job, to drive out a number of Roma families coming from other Union countries.

Yesterday in Luxembourg EU home Affairs ministers discussed common measures on migration and refugees. Despite the fact that their overloaded agenda was full with the 500 dead bodies off the coasts of Lampedusa, they found the opportunity and the unfeelingness, at least some of them, to speak about the introduction of new impediments to the right of free movement within the EU.

The willing Lithuanians

The Lithuanian Presidency of the Council didn’t forget to mention this possibility in the Press release issued after the meeting. The relevant quote goes “The Council has also returned to the issue of free movement, already discussed in June. It took note of the interim report of the Commission on the free movement of persons and the related internal and social security problems. Council will discuss the final report after it is presented”.

The whole issue has seemingly acquired unbelievable dimensions in the Brussels corridors of power. Already the Commission’s Employment department has commissioned a study on this subject, bits and pieces of which have being leaked to the Press. Vivian Reding, Vice-President of the European Commission and EU Commissioner for Justice has received data from 19 member states on this issue. While addressing yesterday the Justice and Home Affairs Council, she appeared rather acquiescent with the idea, at least at the beginning of her intervention, and tried to offer well founded arguments against any new measures to further restrict the free movement right.

No need for more restrictions

She pointed out that “evidence suggests that the main motivation for EU citizens to make use of free movement is work-related”. Only this observation should have been enough to altogether forget this affair. The reason for that is that the European Union is spending a lot of money to increase the mobility of the Union’s labour force. All studies on this matter suggest that increasing workers mobility within the union will greatly increase competitiveness and productivity.

Reding, after arguing about the huge economic merits of labour mobility, she raised the tone and started posing rhetoric questions to ministers, at least some of them. “Who are the mobile EU citizens?” She asked. “Let’s look at the bigger picture: the vast majority of these persons move to work. Figures provided by Member States show that they are more likely to be of working age, more likely to be economically active and more likely to be in employment than nationals. This means that they contribute their share to national social security schemes. When you walk through your high streets and hear people talking with a foreign accent, it is very likely that these persons are net contributors and not ‘welfare tourists’. The share of those who are economically inactive is small. This gives a sense of proportion to the debate”.

Looking for petty political gains

In this way she exposed the real motives of the ‘interested’ ministers in Britain, the Netherlands, Sweden and elsewhere. Unfortunately chauvinist rhetoric sells well, and politicians, belonging mainly in the right, not necessarily good, side of the spectrum are prone to this dangerous game. In Greece it was revealed that the most xenophobic political hodgepodge is a fascist gang, not really a political party but rather a criminal organisation specialising in money laundering, extortion and illegal arm and drugs trafficking.

Reding closed her intervention after reminding ministers that there are a lot of legal means currently in force to confront ‘welfare tourists’. No need for more impediments to free movement. Last but not least she pointed that, “EU rules do not harmonise either national security nor social assistance schemes. Member States can freely decide which benefits they want to set up, under which conditions they are going to pay, how much and for how long”.

Despite all that, it’s more than certain that the issue has not ended there. For as long as there is an audience for illogical chauvinistic discourse, there will be politicians to voice it.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

German stock market is not affected by the Greek debt revolution while Athens is running out of time

Merkel had it her way with the refugees & immigrants but can Greece and Turkey deliver?

Summer pause gives time to rethink Eurozone’s problems

UN and partners appeal for $920 million to meet ‘dire needs’ of Rohingya refugees

Future fit: 3 ways fashion can be more sustainable

Better ID card security to curb document fraud

Monday’s Daily Brief: biodiversity and forests, labour and road safety, women’s rights, and fallen UN staff remembered

The European Parliament hemicycle in Strasbourg (Copyright: European Union, 2017 / Source: EC - Audiovisual Service / Photo: Mauro Bottaro)

EU Parliament sends controversial copyright law reform back to discussion

Industrial products: Lifting the last impediments in the EU single market

EU and New Zealand launch trade negotiations

Four major resources for new European young entrepreneurs

Digital development: technology-enabled, but human-centric

This is what the gender pay gap looks like in eight countries

The Stray

Why people with disabilities are your company’s untapped resource

What brands get wrong about China – and how to put it right

Global Talent – Professional Internships

It’s just electronic cigarette, don’t worry?

What next for Europe? Three (completely) different Davos views

UN chief welcomes re-opening of key Gaza border crossing

A silent killer: the impact of a changing climate on health

Japan should reform retirement policies to meet challenge of ageing workforce

Facts and prejudices about work

“No labels for entrepreneurs!”, a young business leader from Italy cries out

Electronic Cigarettes: Are they really as safe as we think?

TTIP’s 11th round major takeaways and the usual “leaked” document

Germany’s strong anti-bribery enforcement against individuals needs to be matched by comparably strong enforcement against companies

UN rights chief slams ‘unconscionable’ US border policy of separating migrant children from parents

Why this city is paying people to move there

The remote doctor, can it ever work?

This new form of currency could transform the way we see money

These are the fastest trains in the world

1 in 4 Africans had to pay a bribe to access public services last year

Antitrust: Commission fines Google €1.49 billion for abusive practices in online advertising

On International Youth Day the European Youth Forum calls for true youth participation

Want a fairer society? This economist says he has the answer

Permanent structured cooperation (PESCO) on the table of NATO Defense Ministers amid US concerns

Close to final agreement on the EU Banking Union

3 things to know about India’s space programme

Rising insecurity in Central Africa Republic threatens wider region, Security Council told

EU and Australia launch talks for a broad trade agreement

A Sting Exclusive: “Paris is the moment for climate justice”, Swedish MEP Linnéa Engström claims from Brussels

Parliament toughens its position on banking union

UNICEF warns of ‘lost generation’ of Rohingya youth, one year after Myanmar exodus

Central banking in times of complexity

Climate change: ‘A moral, ethical and economic imperative’ to slow global warming say UN leaders, calling for more action

Draghi’s 2018 compromise: enough money printing to revive inflation and check euro ascent

Nordic noir: The unhappiness epidemic affecting young people in the world’s happiest countries

Trump blocks US warmongers from bombing Iran

Trump ostracized by his party and world elites but still remains in course; how can he do it?

Capital Markets Union: Making it easier for smaller businesses to get financing through capital markets

Further reforms can foster more inclusive labour markets in The Netherlands

Afghanistan: UN ‘unequivocally condemns’ attack in Kabul

MEPs criticise “America first” policy

An economist explains why women are paid less

Madagascar: UN chief commends leaders, State institutions following ‘historic milestone’ election

There is a forgotten solution to climate change that we must invest in – nature

Job vacancy data reveal better prospects for Britain, stagnation in Eurozone

Commission adopts €4 billion investment package for infrastructure projects across 10 Member States

EU fundamental rights under threat in several member states

More Stings?

Comments

  1. Its like you read my thoughts! You seem to understand so much approximately this, such as you wrote the e book in it or something.
    I feel that you simply can do with some % to force the message home a
    bit, however instead of that, that is great blog.
    A fantastic read. I’ll certainly be back.

  2. Howdy! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a collection of volunteers and starting a new project in a
    community in the same niche. Your blog provided us beneficial information to work on.
    You have done a outstanding job!

  3. Excellent blog here! Also your website loads up very fast!
    What host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host?
    I wish my website loaded up as quickly as yours lol

  4. My partner and I stumbled over here by a different web
    address and thought I may as well check things out.
    I like what I see so i am just following you. Look forward to looking into
    your web page yet again.

  5. You have made some good points there. I checked on the net for
    more info about the issue and found most individuals will go
    along with your views on this web site.

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s