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

Benefits of rural migration effect often overlooked, new UN report suggests

Politicization of migrant ‘crisis’ in Hungary making them scapegoats, independent UN human rights expert warns

What do the economic woes of Turkey, Argentina and Indonesia have in common?

Latvian economy is thriving, but boosting productivity, improving social protection and transitioning to a low-carbon productive model are vital for sustainable and inclusive growth

EU elections: The louder the threats and the doomsaying the heavier the weight of the vote

Bundestag kick starts the next episode of the Greek tragedy

The Europe we want: Just, Sustainable, Democratic and Inclusive

Blockchain can change the face of renewable energy in Africa. Here’s how

FROM THE FIELD: Weather reports come to aid of Uganda’s farmers

Concern rising over fate of Rohingya refugees sent home by India: UNHCR

The MWC14 Sting Special Edition

We don’t need to ban plastic. We just need to start using it properly

Huawei answers allegations about its selling prices

How telehealth can get healthcare to more people

Eurozone stuck in a high risk deflation area; Draghi expects further price plunge

EU-Japan trade agreement enters into force

UN agency chief calls Ethiopia’s revised refugee law ‘one of most progressive’ in Africa

Digital transformation and the rise of the ‘superjob’

The next Google in biotech: will it be Chinese?

DR Congo: efforts to control Ebola epidemic continue, UN food relief agency doubles assistance to affected people

Amsterdam is getting a 3D-printed bridge

I cycled over 6,000km across the United States to document climate change. Here’s what I learned

3 ways to fight stress at work

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

We all have a ‘hierarchy of needs’. But is technology meeting them?

Technology can help us end the scourge of modern slavery. Here’s how

Saudi Arabia, China, among 14 nations under UN human rights spotlight: what you need to know

European Parliament and Eurovision sign partnership for European Elections

France is building a village for people with Alzheimer’s

Greece’s last Eurogroup or the beginning of a new solid European Union?

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

Gender equality and medicine in the 21st century

“Leaked” TTIP document breaks post 8th negotiations round silence and opens door to critics

‘Crippling to our credibility’ that number of women peacekeepers is so low: UN chief

Women must be at ‘centre of peacekeeping decision-making’, UN chief tells Security Council

This app lets you plant trees to fight deforestation

Africa Forum aims to boost business, reduce costs, help countries trade out of poverty

EU–US: What is the real exchange in a Free Trade Agreement?

Eurozone: Even good statistics mean deeper recession

The EU Commission vies to screen Chinese investment in Europe

With security improving in DR Congo’s Kasai, thousands of refugees head home from Angola

Partnerships key to taking landlocked countries out of poverty: UN Chief

These are the world’s 20 most dynamic cities

Biggest London City Banks ready to move core European operations to Frankfurt or Dublin?

New Erasmus: more opportunities for disadvantaged youth

What is digital equality? An interview with Nanjira Sambuli

‘Race against time’ to help women who bore brunt of Cyclone Idai: UN reproductive health agency

At UN, Cuba slams US ‘criminal’ practices undermining country’s development

UN chief hopes for new agreement after Israel concludes international observation mission

Migrant workers sent more money to India than any other country last year

Security Council condemns ‘heinous and cowardly’ attack in Iran

Opening – Parliament expresses support for victims of Fuego volcano in Guatemala

Kenya wants to run entirely on green energy by 2020

A Sting Exclusive: “The Digital Economy and Industry are no longer opposing terms”, Commissioner Oettinger underlines live from European Business Summit 2015

Can Obama attract Iran close to the US sphere of influence?

This is what the world’s CEOs really think of AI

COP21 Breaking News: “We must accelerate the process”, Laurent Fabius cries out from Paris

Migrant caravan: UN agency helping ‘exhausted’ people home

European Citizens’ Initiative: Commission registers ‘Mandatory food labelling Non-Vegetarian / Vegetarian / Vegan’ initiative’

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