Press Release: Office of Jean Lambert MEP

5th September 2006

 

TWO TIER APPROACH TO EU CITIZENSHIP FAILS BOTH NEW AND OLD MEMBER STATES

Commenting on the findings of a report by the European Citizens Action Service (ECAS) on mobility rights in the EU {1}, presented in the European Parliament today, UK Green MEP Jean Lambert, who hosted the presentation, stated:

"The findings of the ECAS report add to the body of evidence confirming the positive impact of enlargement and workers mobility, which should dispel the unfounded fears still held by EU Member States. The concerns used by many Member States to justify the imposition of restrictions have proved unfounded - there has been no flood of migrants, welfare or otherwise.

"Those Member States that opened their labour markets to EU citizens from the new Member States have benefited economically, socially and culturally. In those countries in which no restrictions were applied, workers from the new Member States played an important role in increasing output, with economic growth also being reflected in soaring employment rates. If this is to continue to be a positive experience, those going to work in another country need to be fully prepared for the fact that there are still differences, not least in the cost of living.


"Despite this year being the European Year of Workers Mobility, we are in the ironic situation where Member States are again preparing to batten down the hatches of their labour markets in advance of the forthcoming accessions of Bulgaria and Romania. Instead of learning from the positive experience in those Member States that did not impose restrictions, politicians and the media are stoking baseless fears. Denying full rights to EU citizens merely increases the incentives for undeclared work, with the consequences this can have for exploitation of workers. National governments and politicians must end the two-tier approach to EU citizenship and communicate to their citizens the proven positive effects of labour mobility within the EU."


ENDS

For more information please contact:
Morwenna Holland, Media Officer
tel: 020 7407 6280 or 07813149812
email: media@jeanlambertmep.org.uk
www.jeanlambertmep.org.uk

Notes to editors:
Jean Lambert: In October 2005 Jean was named MEP 2005 for Justice and Human Rights. Jean was first elected Green Party Member of the European Parliament for London in the 1999 European elections. She was re-elected in 2004. She is one of nine MEPs representing London and one of two UK Green representatives in the European Parliament.

Full report available on http://www.ecas.org/

From May 2004 to end-August 2006, the UK had around 450,000 applications from new Member States. Workers from the new Member States have made a crucial contribution to economic output, while less than 0.2% applied for social welfare. There will be a continuing demand for workers with labour shortages in a number of sectors and employment at its highest level in 35 years. (UK pp18-20)

The Irish workforce now exceeds 2 million and migrant workers have continued to play a vital role in filling gaps in the labour market. Projected increases in output will lead to a continued demand for migrant workers. In the first two years after enlargement, 200,000 citizens from 8 new CEE Member States registered to work in Ireland. The employment rate of EU-10 nationals in Ireland is 85%, compared to just 65% among Irish nationals. (Ireland pp 15-17)