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Our politicians like to consider themselves leaders of “The Free World” and to praise the “free market”. But WHO is really “free”??? What is freedom if not the right to go where you want to be? And what is a migrant if not a one-man corporation that wants to do business abroad??? The “free market” exists only for the rich. They can do business wherever they want, whereas common people are tied to their nation states like medieval serfs to the land of their lords… We have a global market, but not everyone has access to it. In Europe we use resources from all over the world – from oil and coffee to brilliant minds and cheap labour. We actually want engineers from Bangladesh to come to Europe and help our high-tech industries maintain their leading position in the market. But textile workers from Bangladesh are supposed to stay in their country and produce cheap clothes for us. THAT is anyhting but fair. If we want free access to the markets of the world for ourselves, we should also grant free access to our market to the whole world – meaning, YES, also free access to the labour market for “one-man corporations” selling simply the work of the CEO’s own two hands!
The S&D Group is committed to a positive approach on the issues of legal migration and integration. We strongly believe that the EU cannot remain silent and watch as tragedies unfold on the high seas in the Mediterranean but must ensure co-operation and solidarity define our policy people in distress receive the protection they need. We have been reiterating our call for the EU to adopt a holistic approach to migration which covers all of the interlinked elements — from solidarity and sharing responsibility fairly between countries, to tackling criminal traffickers and smugglers, and the role of Frontex and EASO (the European Asylum Support Office). We want to see the EU: • develop safe lawful access routes into the EU for asylum seekers and refugees • ensure the Common European Asylum System is fully and properly implemented • strengthen and enhance the Common Resettlement policy • bring a consistent approach to our migration, visa, international development and foreign affairs policies towards non-EU countries • ensure that money spent on migration is money well spent.
Despite the comprehensive and agreeable rhetoric of the EU Agenda on Migration, the discrepancy in national implementation processes is perilously damaging both the chances of success of such policy and the very same European project. Migration is indeed a controversial issue and it lends itself to both easy manipulation and vicious narratives. However, the European Union was built on the respect for human dignity, liberty, democracy, equality, the rule of law and on the respect for human rights. And it is these values that the Union should uphold when confronted with seemingly insurmountable challenges. A proactive, and not merely reactive, migration policy should be implemented, also by taking the lead in promoting multilateral cooperation to tackle this issue. Protection has to be the focus of any response, rather than securitization to the detriment of human rights and the integrity of a democratic society. How does the Union justify the hotspot approach and the absence of an effective relocation system when both measures have been deemed failures by the vast majority of experts and observers? Why are best practices hardly collected and shared? There is more than can and should be done and the European Union could become a leader in the global debate.