What are people saying about the EU Blue Card?
What the MEP's are saying on the European Blue Card
EU Commission President José Manuel Barroso:
"Labour migration into Europe boosts our competitiveness and therefore our economic growth. It also helps tackle demographic problems resulting from our ageing population. This is particularly the case for highly skilled labour. With today's proposal for an EU Blue Card we send a clear signal: highly skilled migrants are welcome in the EU! We are also proposing is to give a clear set of rights to all third country nationals who legally reside in the EU. This will protect EU citizens from unfair competition in the labour market and promote the integration of migrants into our societies."
EU Vice-President Franco Frattini:
"Europe's ability to attract highly skilled migrants is a measure of its international strength. We want Europe to become at least as attractive as favourite migration destinations such as Australia, Canada and the USA. We have to make highly skilled workers change their perception of Europe's labour market governed as they are by inconsistent admission procedures. Failing this, Europe will continue to receive low-skilled and medium-skilled migrants only. A new vision and new tools are indispensable for reversing this trend. We will also minimise the risk of brain drain from developing countries. This is what we are proposing today.” He went on to add that "the second proposal ensures that ALL migrants who come to reside and work legally in the EU should enjoy basic, work-related socio-economic rights. There can be no balanced and fair labour migration policy unless Europe is ready and willing to defend the most vulnerable third-country workers".
French MEP Jean-Marie Cavada:
"At a time when the EU is experiencing an ageing of its active population and a penury of skilled labour in certain key sectors [...] we shall examine carefully the provisions of these two directives, and notably the safeguards they provide to limit the brain drain from developing countries, for socio-economic rights and for the right of family members to join these skilled workers."
German MEP Manfred Weber:
"Europe is not attractive enough for highly-qualified workers. The European Union needs these mostly young people - they contribute to innovation and thus help create jobs. However, the question is what criteria will be applied to select these highly-qualified immigrants. The proposed threshold of three times the minimum wage is too low."
Italian Socialist MEP Claudio Fava:
"The Socialist Group positively welcomes the European Commission proposal on the Blue Card for highly-skilled workers, but at the same time, it believes that the final text should be braver. In addition to the legal channels of immigration, there should be true and effective free movement of workers on all of the European territory. Limiting this mobility would signify a myopic approach, influenced by national interests and against the idea of an open, economically and competitively advanced Europe."
UK MEP Jean Lambert:
"The proposed Blue Card [...] is supposed to make the EU more attractive as a destination in the global 'talent war' but the Commission risks undermining its own goal. It is a serious source of regret that the Commission is proposing restrictions on mobility within the EU to accompany the card. Mobility is one of the fundamental freedoms in the EU and restrictions for one group of EU residents smacks of double standards. The linking of the 'Blue Card' initiative with the presentation of a general directive on minimum rights for migrant workers is certainly welcome and reflects the need for a comprehensive approach to migration policy. The debate on migration at EU-level has been far too preoccupied with irrational crackdowns on illegal immigration but the reality is that the possibility of legal immigration is crucial to a coherent approach to the issue."
What the others are saying about the EU Blue Card
John Monks, general secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC):
"Immigration cannot be an easy solution for dealing with labour market shortages and demographic change. The social partners must be involved in assessing real labour market needs and investment in training of unemployed workers – including those from a migrant or minority ethnic background – is a first priority. We will also have to make jobs in sectors where there are shortages more attractive to the locally unemployed in terms of wages and working conditions."
Sergio Carrera of the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS):
"The proposed directive could lead to the application of different rights and its sectoral approach could give rise to discrimination."
Sverker Rudeberg, of Business Europe argued that "this proposal must not prevent Member States from having more favourable rules" and that they must remain free "to determine the number of admissions" in the light of their needs. "A swift and transparent procedure that allows family unification" is imperative if the attractiveness of the European labour markets is to be secured. Mr Rudeberg opposed setting a minimum wage level "that was far too high and would exclude some people from jobs without any reason".