Meanwhile, in Europe

Immigration and social policies

The Swedish EU Presidency’s proposal for the 5-year programme for freedom, security and justice, most notably the Stockholm Programme, has raised divergent opinions by the Members of the European Parliament. Mr. Albrecht from Greens considered that the Programme contains more and more preventive measures when Mr. Borghezio claimed that the programme “lacked a judicial response to terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism”. Of course, you cannot expect a smart opinion from someone who, every time he takes the floor, shouts at Muslim invasions of our white societies and used to disinfect public transports’ seats used by non-Europeans. However, this partially shows that every time we discuss about the area of freedom, security and justice, emphasis is given to security and, consequently, immigration becomes merely a security problem.

10 years have passed since the adoption of the Tampere Programme and social policy still does not have his appropriate place in immigration policies. We assisted to a development in linking migration and development and maybe, as Commissioner Spidla suggested at the last European Round Table on Poverty and Social Exclusion held in Stockholm, we will progressively see a stronger linkage between migration policies and implementation of the upcoming renewed Lisbon Strategy.

The proposed Stockholm Programme does not seem to go in that direction. In 2004, the Hague Programme stated that legal migration would have played “an important role in enhancing the knowledge-based economy in Europe, in advancing economic development, and thus contributing to the implementation of the Lisbon Strategy”. In 2009, the Stockholm Programme “invites the Commission to explore procedures that to a greater extent link the development of migration policy to the implementation of the Lisbon Strategy for growth and employment”.

Which measures will be actually proposed by the Commission? A concrete debate has to be opened on this issue and the social dimension of migration addressed to every relevant stakeholders. Or, more likely, we will just stand by for other 5 years waiting for the 2014 Rome Programme (maybe proposed by a government where Borghezio will be the Home Secretary). Meanwhile, the absence of a legal framework will keep in a precarious status tens of millions of migrant workers and legal channels for third country nationals to enter into the European market labour will be missing with an increasing pressure to the European borders of irregular migrants. This will call for more preventive measures, even more because of integration’s failure.

And another 5-year programme will raise divergent positions.

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  1. I completely agree with you here. What is needed is a serious and concerted coordinated strategy. Otherwise, the problems associated with mismanagement of migrant and immigrant issues, like trafficking and poor or non-existent integration measures, respectively, will continue to escalate across and within borders. The longer the situation is allowed to spiral out of control, the greater the rise of anti-immigrant sentiments–sentiments that cultivate disharmonious and socially, economically, and politically dysfunctional communities. I wrote a post partly along this vein shortly after the Calais affair. But I also wanted to share with you that the European Policy Center just held a panel discussion on “new European” entrepreneurs and their valuable impact on the European economy. More information can be found on the EPC website event report at If you would like more information, I’d be happy to share the notes I took.

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