In response to the migration crisis in the EU, the Committee has made a decision to send 3-person teams to 11 member states most affected by the influx of refugees – Hungary, Poland, Greece, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Switzerland, Sweden, Italy, Croatian and Malta, as well to Turkey. The aim of these missions is a.o. to check the refugees’ living conditions, assess their chances of integrating and look for ways to resolve the impasse in EU immigration policy. Vicepresident of Employers of Poland Janusz Pietkiewicz participated in a mission to Hungary on December 17-18th.
Delegates met with representatives of civil society engage in migrant and refugee issues, as well as refugees themselves. The Committee is of the opinion that migrants have exactly the same rights as EU citizens – rights which have to be respected regardless of a given individual’s legal status. EESC is concerned with the swell of intolerance, racism and xenophobia towards migrants in Europe.
The objective of the missions is to elaborate a strategy for a thorough, systemic, common European immigration policy. EU aims to create a unified, long-term strategy to deal with the recent migration wave efficiently and with respect for human dignity. Both the immigrants and EU citizens will benefit. In order to meet this goal European society has to demonstrate solidarity and engagement. Moreover, a harmonized immigration policy may have long-term advantages. Given the current demographic situation in the EU, the aging of society and the condition of the labour market, legal immigration of employees and their families may be one of the ways to deal with workforce shortages.
Renata Karwowska, Foreign Affairs Specialist