GUE/NGL
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Free movement of workers

Brussels, 16/01/2014 (Agence Europe) – Following their debate on the subject the previous day, MEPs adopted a joint resolution by the EPP, S&D, ALDE, Greens/EFA and GUE/NGL Groups on Thursday 16 January, calling on a number of EU leaders to lower the tone when it comes to the free movement of workers, mainly those from Romania and Bulgaria, who are fully entitled to freedom of movement since 1 January this year.

Coming within a barrage of criticism of free movement from London and also Berlin, the non-binding EP resolution calls on member states to comply with the provisions of the treaty relating to freedom of movement and to refrain from taking measures running counter to that principle. Member states must, the EP states, reject the proposals aimed at limiting the number of EU migrants, as such proposals run counter to the treaty.

The resolution also notes that, as European elections draw near, freedom of movement is a campaign theme of certain political parties and that this debate may lead to a rise in racism and xenophobia. MEPs underline, but do not give names, that some high-level political leaders have recently made several declarations aimed at undermining freedom of movement. On Wednesday, during the debate on this issue, the name of David Cameron could frequently be heard in Parliament, uttered by all political groups.

The resolution points out that mobility is beneficial for the European economies and that mobile workers are net contributors to the economies and to the budgets of the host countries, even though only 2.8% of all EU citizens live in a member state that is not their own. A further request made by MEPs concerns tackling the alleged abused of social security, but without discrimination of any kind and without targeting migrants alone. They “remind the member states of their social responsibility to tackle misuse of their social welfare systems, regardless of whether it is committed by their own citizens or by citizens of other member states”.