Immigration Restrictions:
Another Wave of Discrimination

JEF-Europe Press Release

, by JEF Europe

Immigration Restrictions: Another Wave of Discrimination

The Young European Federalists (JEF) strongly oppose the position of the British Government to continue immigration restrictions for Romanian and Bulgarian citizens entering the UK. British Government officials plan to announce that the limits will be extended for another year. “European citizens are paying the price of British electoral opportunism” stated Toni Giugliano, Vice President of JEF Europe.

In the first six months of this year, 7,775 citizens from the two new Member States entered the UK as self-employed workers, 1,095 with work permits, 75 under a special programme for the highly-skilled, and 6,405 applied to a seasonal scheme for agricultural workers. Fears that these numbers will increase have urged Ministers to maintain strict quotas.

“Internal movement of European citizens should never be in question" affirmed Toni Giugliano. "Discriminating against Romanian and Bulgarian nationals would give a clear signal that not all European citizens are equal. It not only contradicts the solidarity principle of the European Union but also the free movement of persons – one of the key benefits of EU membership”.

In many western countries like Germany and Italy where birth rates continue to fall and life expectancy is on the rise, immigration is the only viable solution for maintaining demographically balanced societies. "Countries like the UK need the presence of immigrants to fill low paid jobs that western nationals would otherwise not take on. Immigration is fundamental in an open economy”. commented Michaela Mateva, President of JEF Bulgaria.

Immigration is fundamental in an open economy.

Hostilities towards European immigrants from countries of the 2004 accession such as Poland are still evident and likely to create further fears in future enlargements. “By fixing immigration quotas on European citizens we not only give a louder voice to the extreme right forces, but we undermine the key principles of European unity. It is not by restricting immigrants that we combat cultural and racial discrimination in our societies - only through social inclusion and the promotion of a multicultural and diverse Europe can we ease pressures” Giugliano claims.

During the next two years, JEF Europe will lead a campaign against discrimination and racism to promote enlargement and the benefits of multiculturalism and diversity in Europe

Image: HB 1804 in effect by oklanica, source: Flickr

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