S&D Euro MPs today called for equal treatment and rights for migrant workers as one of the core pillars of European migration policy, during a seminar organised in the European Parliament. Alongside experts and stakeholders, they addressed issues such as the opportunities and challenges that come with the arrival of new migrants in Europe and how to ensure they are fully included in the labour market and in our society without any discrimination or double standards.
The experts included representatives from the European Commission, International Labour Organization, Eurofound, the European Trade Union Confederation and the European Council on Refugees and Exiles, as well as migrants themselves.
S&D vice-president responsible for economic and social affairs Udo Bullmann said:
"Migrants come to the EU for various reasons, economic or humanitarian. We reject any efforts by populists to spread hatred, xenophobia and racism among European citizens. Besides the sense of solidarity and an obligation to help people in need, progressives see migration and the integration of migrants as an opportunity for our economies and societies.
"Migration can be helpful in tackling skills shortages in key segments of our labour market and supports the positive development of our workforce. Migrants contribute more in taxes and social contributions than they receive in benefits. Statistics clearly indicate that they have higher labour force participation rates than non-migrants. All this clearly shows that, when fairly managed, migration brings many more opportunities than risks and can be an absolute success story, both economically and socially. But to make this happen, we need to ensure that migrants are treated equally to host country citizens and that applicable legislation does not allow for any exploitation, precarious employment or social dumping."
S&D Euro MP and rapporteur on labour migration and integration Brando Benifei added:
"The European Union needs more and better labour mobility. At the same time, its citizens must be free to work wherever in the EU and be treated equally, regardless of their country of origin. As Socialists and Democrats we are working to establish a true European system which makes the best out of its most valuable capital: its citizens.
"For this reason, the EU needs to shape a labour migration policy, which protects the highest social standards and individual freedoms, protects those who are most excluded, fights unemployment and establishes rules which are fair for all. Europe created a single market, but labour markets and social rights remain highly segmented across its states. This causes profound unbalances in the social fabric of our society, a problem that urgently needs to be addressed.
"While lacking a true legal migration policy at EU level, some important legislative proposals have been put forward today by the Commission: it is our job to make sure that all new tools manage to achieve the goal of creating high-quality and better-paid employment. The resolution on a pillar of social rights adopted by the European Parliament provides good guidance on how this should be achieved!"