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Europe  must regulate legal migration

WALTER CEUPPENS,  2006

 

Legal migration will save our national social security system and prevent "delocalisation"

 

The European Union has to cope with a proportional decrease of the working population.  This results in a serious threat to the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the European Labour movement, our national social security system.  Europe has to lift the actual immigration stop in order to assure the survival of our economy and our social security system. 

 

Increasing life expectancy and declining birth rates (only 0.9 upto1.5 children a couple) are irreversible.  Europe has to start as soon as possible with legal immigration.  When legal immigrants work here on a legal base, they pay social security contributions here and finally they even will create more work as "work produces work”  However, legal migration should not prevent us from activating our own unemployed (e.g. by subsidized employment with social security assets).

 

Priority has to be given to both immigration and activation of the unemployed as well as to permanent  education/training  of working and unemployed people.  The right to work is a universal human right (art. 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights).  The idea that immigration exclusively would serve a European self-interest and that it would cause a fatal brain drain to the third world is false.

 

On the contrary, labour migration will encourage international solidarity on condition that it has been well regulated.  The economic and social advantages are mutual.  Europe has to offer opportunities to people.  To certain developing countries the brain drain will be of minor importance because they have a large surplus of skilled workers without perspectives.  All people are entitled to equitable remunerations.  Re-allow legal labour migration is a step in the right direction.  Also trade unions should contribute to realize this.  Increasing economic activity creates work.

 

  Our national  social security systems  must become solidary with the third world

 

Immigrants entering our country in order to work here on a legal basis will pay social security contributions and balance our health insurance and retirement funds, which is at the benefit of the whole population.  In addition to our national social security system we should establish a National Office for International Solidarity, which would be financed by national social security contributions (e.g. 750 million Euro, equal to 1 % of compulsory contributions in Belgium).  The purpose of this International Solidarity Institution would be twice:  a) compensate the brain drain from the third world and b) refund a part of the contributions paid in Belgium to the country of origin of the legal migrants.

 

This National Office would guarantee a partial refund of the realized surplus value of our companies towards the poor countries.  These funds ought to stimulate the foundation of trade unions, ethical undertaking, local universities, schools, approved programs of recognized NGO’s etc.  The results we are hoping for will not just support our own social security; the countries of origin will be guaranteed a positive return as well.  Employers and governments must work together with trade unions to put into practice this project. As it will receive more taxes, the government should guarantee the immigrants proper education, decent housing and equal advantages to all citizens. Those who are most prepared to migrate will integrate best.  So it was at the time when Belgians left their own land for distant countries.

 

Labour migration is a normal phenomenon

 

Also the Belgian migrants who used to emigrate escaping from poverty, contributed to the economy and social life elsewhere. This kind of migration usually turns out being not temporary.  Their children grow up in the new country and normally remain living there.

 

Between 1815 and 1915, 60 million Europeans migrated for similar reasons.  Moreover between the 16th en the 20th century Europe committed historic exploitation, slavery, colonization, genocides etc. in many countries of the third world. There is some kind of collective debt of honour towards the third world. Europe must cease its heartless and sterile global political behaviour.  Unequal opportunities and discrimination are made a standard rule and this means a structural crime against humanity.  Trade unions must defend international solidarity, also within our own social security system.

 

All men are brothers and sisters by nature.  A person meeting and appreciating a migrant on the working-floor gradually looses his prejudices.  Lawmakers must make tolerance and solidarity mandatory in order to guarantee peace in tomorrow’s world.

 

Illegal labour migration is a threat to social security and safety

 

Companies in urgent need for foreign workers should to be obliged to invest in training (education) for foreign incoming workers as well as for the problematic unemployed in our own country. Illegality makes exploitation, human trafficking and criminality rampant.  Lawlessness attracts mafia. Another ground for legalized migration.

 

Labour is always moving to places where it is needed.  A tremendous demand for new kinds of jobs exists in Europe.  Political courage is required in order to admit and regulate this demand. The rights that were claimed for migrated Belgian workers should be given to immigrants as well.  Nothing is wrong with people looking for a better life for their children and for themselves, running away from hunger, poverty, war, away from countries with authoritarian regimes and overpopulation.  Delocalisation is found unfavourable, not just in Europe but in third world countries as well.  Law must see that both highly educated employees and unskilled workers stream in and make sure they all get permanent labour contracts. Respect for different colours of skin, religions, music, food, way of life etc must get a legal basis.

 

Belgians living abroad rightly used to claim the same conditions.

 

Refusing labour migration leads on the one hand to unfavourable delocalisation on the other to false (so called ‘economical’) refugees and human trafficking.

 

When any migration is illegal, the present situation, we can expect but growing mafia, an increase of organized crime and human trafficking,. An effective tackle of these phenomena is hard and costly.  Those who make capital out of a society that turns sour of course will oppose to legal migration.

 

Yearly quota and green card lottery ?

 

In anticipation of a European regulation Belgium could take the lead.

 

Candidates should report to the Belgian Embassies or Consulates in their own countries.  Certain countries might be excluded until they declare themselves in agreement with some particular rules. My idea is: countries should be forced to accept that the funds originating from our social security are used for stimulating free trade unions, ethical enterprise, education and training etc.  Each candidate of that year receives one lottery-ticket.  Certain candidates can get more than one lottery-ticket a year, e.g. candidates staying in refugee camp, candidates with particular skills or having some special education; candidates that have a link with our country or already speak Dutch or French. Each year there would be a lottery in order to allow the legal migration of the determined quota.

 

These legal immigrants will acquire an employment contract under the supervision of the existing public employment agencies .As a result not only IT specialists, engineers, nurses,  teachers, truck drivers, construction workers, metal workers, chemists or geriatric workers will come to our country, but  also domestic workers, dishwashers and other unskilled workers.

 

By way of the to be founded National Office for International Solidarity (as a branch of our National Office for Social Security), the countries of origin as well as Belgium will take advantage of the mutual economic and social benefits caused by the guaranteed drain of a part of the realized surplus value both to Belgium and to the countries of origin in order to finance permanent training (education), ethical enterprise, local free trade unions, NGO’s etc.

 

Education and housing

 

Part of the tax surplus realized in our country would be destined to education and housing programs, as well as to the activation of the unemployed in Belgium (proper training and antidiscrimination).

Legal immigration has to go hand in hand with clear anti-discriminatory regulation concerning education and housing.

 

Obviously, legal immigration quota should be sufficiently high and should be raised gradually following the growth of both education and housing programs.  Legal migration shall generate additional employment (housing, schooling, business will increase).

 

Asylum problem is an essentially different matter

 

Right of asylum has nothing to do with legal migration.  The conventions regarding the right of asylum have to be respected in a strict way.  It is obvious that rich countries have more capacity than poor countries.  Oppressed and persecuted refugees always are entitled to compassion and human reception and support.

 

Belgians too have been refugees during the two world wars.  Belgium must cease to accuse refugees as if they themselves are to blame for the prosecution of their people, language, convictions, nature, religion, political or social activities.

 

Such reasoning must be considered as immoral as the allegation that the Jews themselves were guilt of the holocaust.  The numbers of refugees taken in by Belgium are so small for a rich country that we can learn a lot about compassion and solidarity from many poor countries.  Knockdown arguments like “Belgium is full” and “we can’t care about the misery of the whole world” are not true and obstruct new initiatives.

 

When candidate-refugees cannot be accepted following a human interpretation of the international conventions, they can only be sent back on condition that they will be secure in their own country.  Later on, they might have the possibility of integration in a to be established system of regulated labour migration, that favours refugees already speaking Dutch or French.  On regular times, illegal migrants must be regulated on humanitarian grounds or sent back effectively after consideration with the country of origin (but only if their life and integrity is secured).

 

One always has to treat refugees and illegal migrants in a humane way and every person should have his words and acts inspired by sound ethical thoughts of compassion with fellow-men.

 

Organization and regulation of free labour migration is a matter of global social justice and structural solidarity.  Governments’ regulating the free market economy is not a new idea, but this regulation has to be expanded to a larger scale now because of growing globalization. The actual migration stop is intolerable, senseless and unethical and is perverting our society. Ethical policy requires the courage to realize global solidarity by laws and structures.  Politicians will obtain this courage with our support.  This should be built up from below, for the benefit of peace.  This is the only way to defeat the feelings of insecurity of many.

 

Extract (translation) of:

“VERKLAAR DE VREDE” (pages 120-125)

 

author: WALTER CEUPPENS,  2006

 

published by:  © Halewijn nv 2006, Halewijnlaan 92, 2050 Antwerpen, Belgium

 

 

 

ADDENDUM

MIGRATION,SOCIAL SECURITY AND PEACE. By their actions, Christians want to prove their belief in a peaceful future. It is for this reason that they take all possible steps to justice as well as to overcome the threat and use of violence. In the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the contemporary World of the Second Vatican Council, peace is one of the results of working for justice. There must be justice within human communities as well as between communities in order for peace to be possible. CONSTITUTIO PASTORALIS DE ECCLESIA IN MUNDO HUIUS TEMPORIS ( GAUDIUM ET SPES ) : passim.  (83) Ad pacem aedificandam ante omnia requiritur ut eradicentur causae discordiarum inter homines, quibus bella aluntur, praesertim iniustitiae. Non paucae earum ex nimiis inaequalitatibus oeconomicis proveniunt, necnon ex necessariis remediis retardatis. (84) Ad hos fines assequendos, institutiones communitatis internationalis variis hominum necessitatibus pro sua parte providere debent, tam in vitae socialis campis ad quos pertinent victus, sanitas, educatio, labor, quam in nonnullis condicionibus particularibus quae alicubi oriri possunt, ut sunt necessitas generalis nationum progredientum incremento fovendi, aerumnis profugorum per universum mundum dispersorum occurendi, vel etiam migrantes corumque familias adiuvandi. In omnibus istis campis gaudet Ecclesia de spiritu verae fraternitatis inter christianos et non christianos florentis qui enititur ut conamina semper intensiora fiant ad ingentem miseriam sublevandam. (85) Auxilium materiale nationibus progredientibus non procurabitur, nisi consuetudines hodierni commercii in mundo profunde mutentur. Ad verum ordinem oeconomicum universalem instaurandum abolenda sunt nimia lucrorum studia, ambitiones nationales, appetitus dominationis politicae, calculi ordinis militaristici necnon machinationes ad ideologias propagandas et imponendas. (88) Ne igitur scandalo sit hominibus aliquas nationes, quarum saepius maior numerus civium christiano nomine ornatur, bonorum copia abundare, dum aliae rebus ad vitam necessariis priventur ac fame, morbis omnimodaque miseria cruciantur. Sunt enim spiritus paupertatis et caritatis gloria et testimonium Ecclesiae Christi.