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

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

Britain, EU take edgy steps to unlock Brexit talks as the war of words rages

VW diesel scandal and climate change: can increased independent car checks lead to cleaner mobility?

How to survive and thrive in our age of uncertainty

UN commission agrees roadmap on ensuring women’s social protection, mobility, safety, and access to economic opportunities

We generate 125,000 jumbo jets worth of e-waste every year. Here’s how we can tackle the problem

Joint EU-U.S. statement following the EU-U.S. Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Meeting

Tuesday’s Daily Brief: Guterres calls for restraint in Venezuela, Jazz Day, the importance of breastfeeding, and updates from Libya, Iran and Mozambique

European Commission calls on national political parties to join efforts to ensure free and fair elections in Europe

This is how companies are working together to create a world without waste

Pharmaceuticals in the environment: Commission defines actions to address risks and challenges

Opening Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Yang Yanyi, Head of the Chinese Mission to the EU at the Chinese Fashion Night

The EU parliamentary elections, explained

From DIY editing to matchmaking by DNA: how human genomics is changing society

China by numbers: 10 facts to help you understand the superpower today

Switzerland to favour EU citizens in immigration quotas as the risk of a new referendum looms

Trump’s blasting win causes uncertainty and turbulence to the global financial markets

5 things you need to know about creativity

Intel, Almunia and 1 billion euros for unfair potatoes

Refugee crisis update: Commission still in panic while Turkey is to be added in the equation

Cambodia’s schools are the new frontline in the battle against climate change

Most US students aren’t learning about climate change. Parents and teachers think they should

UNICEF delivers medical supplies to Gaza in wake of deadly protests

Food choices today, impact health of both ‘people and planet’ tomorrow

Can indoor farming feed the world?

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

UN chief calls for Security Council to work with Myanmar to end ‘horrendous suffering’ of Rohingya refugees

4 ways blockchain will transform the mining and metals industry

Boris ‘single-handed’ threatens mainland Europe; can he afford a no-deal Brexit?

Finland must focus on integrating migrant women and their children to boost their contribution to the economy and society

We can build a carbon-neutral world by 2050. Here’s how

Dozens of children at risk as clashes in Hudaydah near hospital – UNICEF

EU security and defence industry prepares positions for ‘producers’ and ‘customers’

International community agrees on a road map for resolving the tax challenges arising from digitalisation of the economy

Deal on tightening the rules to stop terrorists from using homemade explosives

Primary Healthcare: Back to the Basics

Chart of the day: These countries have the largest carbon footprints

Egypt urged to free prominent couple jailed arbitrarily since last June: UN rights office

Europe might not avoid new partitioning on Ukrainian crisis

Governments adopt UN global migration pact to help ‘prevent suffering and chaos’

Protecting European consumers: toys and cars on top of the list of dangerous products

VW emissions scandal: EU unable to protect its consumers against large multinationals

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte: “Europe must listen to the people”

Brexit talks started with a London handicap and Brussels’ sternness

To meet development goals, UN agriculture agency ‘cannot only focus on tackling hunger anymore’

Algorithms could give the world its first ‘born digital’ free trade agreement in Africa

The 10 most common types of plastic choking Europe’s rivers

Innovating together: connectivity that matters at ITU Telecom World 2019 – in association with The European Sting

Health: The neglected aspect of climate change

Millions at risk if Syria’s war moves to last redoubt of Idlib, warns senior aid official

We have the tools to beat climate change. Now we need to legislate

Schengen: MEPs adopt their position on temporary checks at national borders

Youth unemployment: think out of the box

A day that Berlin and Brussels would remember for a long time

Reject passivity and embrace ‘responsibility for our future,’ Lithuania’s President tells UN Assembly

Eurostat confirms a dangerously fast falling inflation in Eurozone

Why banks escape from competition rules but not pharmaceutical firms

Eurobarometer: Not a single answer about what the Banking Union will cost to citizens

The world to teach Germans to…un-German

“Airbnb and YouTube are two great examples of a crowd based capitalism”, key stakeholders outline the boundaries of the 4th Industrial Revolution in Davos

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

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