EU labour mobility: Inconvenient truths for everybody

Visit by László Andor, Member of the European Commission in charge of Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, to Bristol, UK. (EC Audiovisual Services, 10/2/2014).

Visit by László Andor, Member of the European Commission in charge of Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, to Bristol, UK. (EC Audiovisual Services, 10/2/2014).

With a memorable lecture at the University of Bristol, entitled “Labour Mobility in the European Union – The Inconvenient Truth”, the European Commissioner László Andor, overturned all and every argument raised by Europe’s xenophobic vote mongers who oppose the internal labour mobility in the EU. Speaking in Britain though, he proved that immigrant workers in the UK work more than the natives having an employment rate of 77% in relation to 71% and they claim 2.1% of social benefits while representing 4.6% of the working population. Yet the UKIP xenophobic political party of Nigel Farage, scores very high in opinion polls, even claiming the first position in voting intentions in view of the forthcoming European election of 22-25 May. It was exactly this contradiction that the Commissioner failed to explain as it will be shown here below.

In any case, Andor started from the basics which are the four principles/freedoms on which the European Union has developed into a unique paradigm in the world. He reminded everybody, and especially to its British audience, that those liberties cannot be served ‘a la carte’. For example Britain cannot continue being a member of the single EU market selling its products and services without any restriction, and at the same time, block the entrance of EU citizens in the UK. Speaking on Monday he didn’t make any references to the referendum of Sunday 9 February, in which the Swiss voted with the razor-thin margin of 50.3% to keep out the EU citizens. Andor left to others the task to remind the Swiss that they cannot cherry pick their relations with the EU. It’s either the whole thing or nothing.

The four freedoms

Probably for historic reasons he choose to refer to those four principles one by one. Obviously the first point is that free movement for workers within the EU does not stand alone. He stressed that “Labour mobility is just one of the four freedoms on which the EU’s Single Market is based, along with free movement of goods, capital and services. These fundamental principles have been written into the EU’s Treaties since its foundation and as such have been ratified on numerous occasions by the parliaments of all EU countries…”.

The Commissioner then noted that of course there are rules governing the presence of other EU citizens presence in a different member state than their own. For example a job seeker is entitled to look for work in another EU country for up to six months, or even longer, on condition that he or she continue to seek employment in the host country and have a “genuine chance” of getting work. He then clarified that “job seekers are entitled to unemployment benefit from the EU country where they last worked (usually their home Member State), if they were registered as unemployed in the Member State of last employment. Just to be clear, host countries do not have to pay unemployment benefits to job seekers arriving from another EU country from day one. However, the EU rules for people who are not working, or genuinely looking for work, are more restrictive”.

The inconvenient truths

This paragraph tells a large part of the story. There is no doubt that all Union member states have the powers and the EU provided legal means to contain any attempts for abuse of their social security systems. Consequently, the rise of the xenophobic political parties and the extreme groups is an issue that cannot be explained by the presence of citizens from other EU countries. There must be something else that has made ordinary democratic voters to prefer extremists.

However, the good Commissioner didn’t try to elaborate on this question. He avoided to criticize the labour market conditions that have led a large part of the working population to live in third world conditions, in the heart of Europe. The ‘mini jobs’ in Germany and the lack of a mandatory minimum wage in Britain, have deprived a good part of the labour force from the ability to support, not a decent, but the barest minimum of living standards. Not to say anything about the unemployment in the south of Eurozone, that has reached unheard of before highs. At the same time the Eurozone member states have spent €4.5 trillion during the past four years to support the failing banking industry.

In any case, Andor went on and proved in detail that mobile workers within the EU are an asset for their host country and a loss for their own member state. This is particularly true for the south of Eurozone, where even highly specialized people like doctors and engineers are obliged to look for a job in the north. It’s hideously expensive for the state and the family to educate and train a doctor. If this person then leaves his country, the society that paid for his education receives nothing in return.

 

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

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

EU mobilises €9 million to tackle the food crisis in Haiti

How the inventor of the internet plans to make it safe and accessible for everyone

The sad plight of fledging doctors

Why businesses are nothing without strong human rights

Half of all mental illness begins by the age of 14

Insurer CEOs Reveal Marketing Strategies that Communicate the True Value of Insurance Products & Services to the Customer

This new way of understanding disease is changing medicine

World cannot be transformed without ‘ingenuity of the countries of the South’: UN Chief

How bad is the Eurozone economy? The ECB thinks too bad

“Decisions taken in the coming weeks will shape Europe’s experience of the internet”, Joe Mcnamee from EDRi says live from European Business Summit 2015

Plastic waste from Western countries is poisoning Indonesia

Civil society organisations disenchanted with “Youth Guarantee”

A Sting Exclusive: Paris Climate Change Summit, a defining moment for humanity, by Ulf Björnholm Head of UNEP Brussels

Tax reforms accelerating with push to lower corporate tax rates

How robotics can help humanitarians bridge the digital divide

EU accused of being too nice with Gazprom in the infamous antitrust case

Berlin and Paris pursue the financial fragmentation of Eurozone

How the Irish people were robbed by banks, the Commission and their own government

EU report: Implementation of reforms continues to bring EU and Ukraine closer together

Young? You should work out the entrepreneurial heart before the mind

Take medical use of cannabis seriously, say MEPs

Libyan authorities must shoulder the burden to support country’s ‘vulnerable’ south

Chart of the day: These countries have the highest share of electric vehicles

‘Refrain from violence’ UN chief urges, as presidential election result is announced in DR Congo

Aid teams respond to escalating southwest Syria conflict: 750,000 civilians are at risk

Island nations on climate crisis frontline ‘not sitting idly by’

How blockchain can manage the future electricity grid

EU–Canada Summit: strengthening the rules-based international order

UN ‘prioritizing needs’, ramping up aid, as Hurricane Dorian continues to batter the Bahamas

Venezuela: Parliament calls for urgent EU help for people fleeing the country

Amid ‘volatile’ environment, UN mission chief urges Iraqi leaders to ‘listen to the voice of the people’

‘Much more’ can be done to raise awareness about the plight of persons with albinism: UN chief

Syria war: executions condemned as violence continues ‘on both sides’ of border with Turkey

OECD Steel Committee concerned about excess capacity in steel sector

A day in the life of a Rohingya refugee

The EU learns about fishing and banking from tiny Iceland

ECB is about to lend trillions to banks

OECD, BSR and Danone launch 3-year initiative to strengthen inclusive growth through public-private collaboration

Quality Internships: Towards a Toolkit for Employers

Bosnia and Herzegovina: MEPs concerned by slow progress in EU-related reforms

Trump’s Syrian hit the softest option vis-a-vis Russia

Lagarde: Keep feeding the banks cut down wages and food subsidies

This is how Britain saved some of its most precious wildlife from the threat of extinction

IMF: All you want to know about Argentina

Sahel States need international support ‘now more than ever’– UN peacekeeping chief

ECB readies itself for extraordinary monetary measures defying Germany

Who is to pay the dearest price in a global slowdown?

The US banks drive the developing world to a catastrophe

No agreement in sight on EU budget

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is redefining the economy as we know it

Why financial services can kickstart Africa’s digital economy

At last Germany to negotiate the costs for a really cohesive Eurozone

EU: Huge surplus in the trade of services with the rest of the world

The succesful cooperation

It’s a frenzied clash between moderates and no-deal Brexiteers

LGBTQI+ and medicine

India can soar in the robot age. This is how

10th ASEM in Milan and the importance of being one: EU’s big challenge on the way to China

‘From farm to plate’, first-ever World Food Safety Day demonstrates the need to take unsafe food off the menu

Respond to ‘legitimate grievances’ of Sudanese people, UN human rights experts urge, following protests

More Stings?

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