Looking for a specific product?

Make a search for products & suppliers, articles & news.

In times of crisis, we must safeguard free movement

Sir, Free movement of persons is the essence of European citizenship. All EU and European Economic Area citizens have and must have the right to move freely across the EU and EEA countries as tourists, for business, to study – or to seek work.

In times of economic crisis, we must safeguard free movement. The European Council has repeatedly pointed to the importance of labour mobility for boosting growth in Europe. We need to make sure that we use the full potential of a continent of half a billion people.

For almost 60 years, citizens of the Nordic countries have enjoyed the benefits of free movement and an open labour market. Many people find work in another Nordic country every year. Today we continue working to promote more mobility.

In times of increased global competition, access to the entire EU and EEA population is an asset for European companies. Employees and their families must therefore be able to move to other countries. Some countries are screaming for more labour as their exports are at an all-time high. Others face high youth unemployment. Many young people could seek work abroad and eventually return with new skills. When competitiveness is uneven, we need to facilitate mobility – not constrain it. EU legislation is in place ensuring that the free movement principle works in practice and that workers are properly covered by benefit and insurance schemes.

We are concerned about claims that people move across Europe for “welfare tourism”, merely to exploit other countries’ benefits systems, despite a European Commission report showing that EU migrants are not a burden for their host countries. In fact, mobile EU citizens in most states are net contributors to the welfare system. The report underlines that for the EU15 countries, gross domestic product is estimated to have increased by almost 1 per cent in the long term as a result of post-enlargement mobility (2004-09). Furthermore, mobile EU citizens help the host country’s economy to function better by alleviating skills shortages and labour market bottlenecks.

As the report suggests, it seems that the only actual problem is the “widespread belief that EU migrants are a burden”.

Prejudiced arguments have no place in political debate. EU migrants who work and contribute financially to building our societies should not be made scapegoats for loopholes in national benefit schemes. We consider the free movement principle to be fundamental for European integration and a part of the solution to the economic crisis.

Birgitta Ohlsson, Minister for EU Affairs, Sweden
Alexander Stubb, Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade, Finland
Vidar Helgesen, Minister for EEA and EU Affairs, Norway

 

Related news

Latest news

Midtnorsk Havbruk chooses concrete barge from Steinsvik

The barge is the fourth in the Steinsvik’s concrete barge series.

New technical trainee blogpost: Furnaces, pumps and robots

Adam has just finished his second trainee rotation in Kristiansand

The Norwegian network of United Nations Global Compact launched today

Lise Kingo, CEO and Executive Director of the UNGC,

DNV GL and Goldwind join forces on development of digital certification tools

MyCertificate is the first digital certification solution for wind turbines,

DNV GL leads consortium to update Carbon Trust Floating LiDAR Roadmap

DNV GL, the world’s largest resource of independent energy experts and certification body,

PRESS RELEASE: Servogear to propel Asian built windfarm vessels

The contract with Cheoy Lee Shipyards was signed in Q2 2018.

SERVICEBULLETIN: Grease filling of the propeller system

SERVICEBULLETIN 180921: Grease filling of the propeller system

FILM: The world´s first HD220 gearbox returns for an overhauling

The gearbox has been operating flawlessly for more than 20.000 hours...

Øveraasen delivers machine number 66 to New York

Totally over the last ten years,