President. The next item is the report (A6-0210/2006) by Mrs Carlotti, on behalf of the Committee on Development, on development and migration (2005/2244(INI)).
Marie-Arlette Carlotti (PSE), rapporteur. – (FR) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, there are 175 million migrants in the world and that figure has almost tripled over the last 40 years. This is not a new phenomenon, but it has become particularly widespread within the context of globalisation and above all it is bringing us face to face with human dramas. Each day poverty and despair bring dozens and dozens of Africans to the northern shores of the Mediterranean or to the Canary Islands, and the European States’ only response is to increase the controls and patrols that force the people trying to come here to take even more risks.
This migration policy on the part of the Union is based on an illusion, however! The illusion that we can make our borders impregnable, which stems from an essentially defensive and securitarian approach and which means that all the responsibility is placed on the States of the South. Even the Euro-African conference in Rabat, which will take place on 10 July, will also deal with the issue from the point of view of enforcement and border control, and we will still not hear Africa's voice. This unilateral and self-centred approach is reflected today in the arguments put forward and in the policies of ‘selective immigration’ which are all the rage in Europe. ‘Selective’ immigration for the North, but rather ‘suffered’ by the South, and from now on, therefore, a different approach must prevail in Europe. It is entirely in that spirit that I have drawn up my report. It is along those lines that I wish to propose a new approach, new instruments and to turn migration into a lever for development.
First of all we must make better use of the existing tools, but above all we must maintain our commitments in the field of development aid, and, as we know, the initial phase of development will involve an intensification of migration rather than a slow-down. Of course, increasing aid is not a solution in itself. It is a necessary condition, but in itself it is not enough.
I would like us next to turn attention properly to the AENEAS programme with a view to reorienting it purely towards the development aspect, and also the programme that will succeed it in 2007, but that is far away! At the moment, that programme is above all used for actions aimed at protecting the borders of the North. In 2005, for example, just seven of the thirty-nine projects funded related to countries of the South. Furthermore, if we are to establish one new financial instrument, I believe that we should create a fund to guarantee the continuity of microprojects in the poor countries.
The European Union must also act in the places where migrants are located, in the places where migration begins. It is easy to target the main regions of immigration – they are often the poorest regions – and to fund the establishment of infrastructures there through targeted budgetary support: drinking water, electricity, roads, health centres and schools, in order to dissuade resourceless populations from leaving.
It is also easy to identify the migration poles. We know them: they are the States or large cities with modern means of transport and communication and which are both points of reception and points of departure towards the great migration routes, from the Sahel towards the North for example. Once they are identified, we will be able to implement more actions there than we do today aimed at supporting the populations – particularly the most vulnerable, who are women and children – and help them to achieve autonomy, by means other than by mobility. An information programme on these areas aimed at migrants could also be established.
I believe that Europe must also look to the potential of migrant communities in the rich countries, in terms of what they can do for the development of their countries of origin. I believe that this is a promising route which has the potential to turn migrants into agents of development, in the name of solidarity and mutual aid. This is what is known as co-development. Within this context, we must promote the transfer of funds towards countries of origin, make them more transparent, less expensive, and consider a new financial product that could take the form of a ‘development savings plan’.
The Union, but in particular its Member States, must adopt innovative polices such as assuming responsibility for salary differentials for certain migrants who wish to return to their countries of origin, or systems of dual bases for researchers or doctors, within the framework of institutional partnerships amongst research institutes, universities and hospitals.
We must also encourage circular migration to allow migrants to come and go, in cooperation with countries of origin, of course, and ensuring the transfer of social provision. I believe that this kind of measure will make it possible to replace the current brain drain with a circulation of brains. We are very well aware that, for many Southern countries, migration means the departure of the most skilled and enterprising citizens. This has dramatic effects for the poor countries, since this phenomenon often has an impact on essential sectors such as health and education. From this point of view, I am delighted that the Commission is putting forward proposals aimed at dealing with these challenges.
What I want to see more generally, however, is for Europe to entirely change its thinking and for that thinking to be defended. We have an opportunity, since in September the UN will deal with the issue of migration and development for the first time.
I would like to thank the honourable Members who have supported me in the drawing up of this report.
Louis Michel, Member of the Commission. (FR) Mr President, rapporteur, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to congratulate the Committee on Development, and in particular Mrs Carlotti, on its work.
I can assure you that the Commission attaches great importance to this very topical issue of the links between immigration and development, and I can also assure you that the Commission will take your suggestions very seriously. This is a highly detailed report that deals with a very wide range of subjects. Given the time restraints, I shall therefore focus on two very important series of issues.
The first series of issues relates to the coherence of the Community’s actions. I would like to remind you that, for the first time, the Commission has established a very clear link between migration and development. It wanted to send a very clear message about the added value that can be obtained by improving the interaction between migratory phenomena and development. As your report quite rightly points out, there are two dimensions to this interaction.
On the one hand, development policy can play an important role in terms of migratory flows. Last year, the European Union firmly reiterated its commitment to an ambitious development policy, which is aimed at promoting economic and social development and good governance. This policy can thereby contribute to tackling the underlying causes of migration. This is clearly a long-term project and we cannot expect to see results in the short term. I have seen that your report contains some interesting suggestions in this field and we shall look carefully at a number of them. The integration of migration issues into country strategy papers, for example, is something that the Commission has already implemented.
On the other hand, certain phenomena linked to migration may make an effective contribution to the development of countries of origin. That is what the Commission pointed out last year in its communication on immigration and development. That document proposes guidelines which may be used in our relations with the countries of origin in question and which may be eligible for Community financial support.
I particularly welcome your recommendation in the field of co-development, an area which the Commission is also examining. I quote, ‘the priority objective must be to promote the “circulation” of brains in order to compensate for the negative effects of the brain drain. One of the most promising means for doing this are “dual base” systems, which would allow researchers, teachers and medical staff from the South to spend half of their time working in an establishment in their own country’. This seems to me to be an extremely interesting recommendation. I consider this particular recommendation in the report, which relates to how to involve migrant populations in the development of countries of origin, to be a very important suggestion.
In this field, Mrs Carlotti’s report offers real added value. The report’s position is clear: it relies very much on experience of co-development. The Commission has very little experience in this field and I am entirely prepared to base the Commission’s considerations on the experiences and examples of best practices developed by certain Member States.
The report proposes the creation of two funds – I am talking about recommendation 15 – the first intended to fund co-development, the second dedicated to a mechanism for guaranteeing the continuity of microprojects. If I have understood correctly, your idea is to create these funds under the new thematic strategies on migration. I personally would be in favour of creating two items of this type within the thematic programme. Nevertheless, I have yet to discuss this with my colleagues Mr Frattini and Mrs Ferrero-Waldner.
I must also thank you, on behalf of the Commission, for your report’s backing for most of the guidelines contained in the Commission’s communication on migration and development, including the transfer of migrants, the role of migrant populations as factors in the development of countries of origin and the promotion of circular migration and other forms of ‘circulation’ of brains. I must however stipulate that the Commission can only consider actions in this field in strict accordance with the principle of voluntary agreement on the part of migrants and of the independent nature of that agreement. In a similar vein, the money transferred by migrants clearly cannot be seen as a replacement for public development aid, which is more necessary than ever, and to the increase in which the European Union is firmly committed.
I would like finally to confirm that the Commission attaches great importance to policies aimed at alleviating the effects of the brain drain. In this regard, I would like to remind you that last December the Commission adopted a communication on the human resources crisis in the health sectors of developing countries. That communication also contains extremely precise and specific guidelines.
The Commission has established a very ambitious working programme which it intends to implement in close coordination with the Member States, some of which have also launched their own initiatives. All of these initiatives are being carried out, or will be carried out, in partnership with the countries of origin.
The second series of issues that I would like briefly to discuss with you – and this will be no surprise to you – is the very special place that Africa has in this reflection. This point is made very clear in your report. Problems such as the brain drain, the high cost of transfers of money and the weakness of the financial infrastructure on the ground are of very particular significance in Sub-Saharan Africa. It is perhaps in this field that the involvement of migrant populations, if certain conditions are in place, would be most likely to make a difference.
In its conclusions of last December, the European Council pointed out clearly that the two complementary dimensions of improving the links between migration and development that I have just mentioned must be given a special place in the partnership that we are in the process of building with Africa in the migratory field, at all levels of discussion. The links between migration and development will therefore be central to the agenda of the Rabat conference that will bring together representatives from Europe, the Maghreb and countries of Central and West Africa next week to discuss the issue of migration.
The links between migration and development are also one of the key elements of the dialogue that the Commission is developing with a number of Sub-Saharan African countries on the basis of Article 13 of the Cotonou Agreement. The Commission believes that these discussions offer an opportunity to hold a dialogue on the specific support that the Community can give to its African partners to help them better to manage migratory flows and in particular to make better use of the links between migration and development. Finally, these links are also central to our dialogue with the African Union. This should lead to a ministerial conference that will bring together representatives from the European Union and the whole of Africa.
It is therefore by creating more channels of communication that the Commission is endeavouring to develop what we intend to be an exemplary partnership with Africa in the field of migration. There is no question that in this way the European Union can make an important contribution to the high-level dialogue on migration and development that the United Nations is holding in New York in September. In a few days’ time, the Commission will adopt a communication which will constitute its written contribution to that event.
Ioannis Kasoulides (PPE-DE), draftsman of the opinion of the Committee on Foreign Affairs. – Mr President, I would like first of all to thank Mrs Carlotti. I congratulate her for her report and I thank her for taking up the opinion of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, on behalf of which I am speaking today, in particular noting that the link between immigration and development is an integral part of the foreign policy agenda of the European Union. It has been so from the time that the Barcelona Process was instituted, but it has continued in all other issues of our relations with the countries of origin and transit. It is very important to tackle the issue of immigration, to manage migratory flows when we achieve the understanding and the cooperation of the countries of origin and transit.
As has been said by the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, remittances around the world to developing countries amount to USD 232 billion per year, which is double the size of foreign aid to developing countries by everybody else. Therefore, this is the significance of facilitating remittances, facilitating the issue of circular migration, thus gaining the confidence of the countries we want to cooperate with. We are not aiming at the brain-drain that they are so afraid of; we do not talk only about illegal immigration, but we know how to take best advantage of immigration in view of our ageing population and the need that lies ahead.
I would like to conclude by saying that by putting order in the financial institutions, as regards both the sending and receiving side, we can also deal with the issue of terrorist financing that has been thought to come via charity organisations and so on in Europe.
Ona Juknevičienė (ALDE), draftsman of the opinion of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs. – (LT) I would like to congratulate Mrs Carlotti on preparing this report and I would like to thank colleagues from my committee for preparing our opinion.
I also spoke on this matter yesterday evening, but I did not touch on one important thing – the question of qualified migrants or the brain-drain, which can have a negative impact on the development of a country. However, I do not believe that we need to stop this process, but strive for reciprocal benefits. Thus, I would like to stress that, in my opinion, it is very important to introduce a clear and as simple as possible procedure for recognising qualifications. We also need to introduce an equivalent of the USA's Green Card, which would stimulate circular migration. We need to recognise that, without appropriate conditions for integration, migration is harmful to both sides.
Colleagues, yesterday, the French won – I congratulate them, and in particular the fact that the honour of France was largely defended by players who are themselves or whose parents were migrants. Now they are French. This is a perfect example of integration. Congratulations.
Feleknas Uca (GUE/NGL), draftsman of the opinion of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality. – (DE) Mr President, I would like to express my deepest thanks to Mrs Carlotti for her fine report which has my full support.
The phenomenon that is migration is as old as mankind itself. Since time immemorial, we have been searching for a place to call home, along with security and peace. Certain individuals leave their homeland voluntarily but most men, women and children flee from violence, hunger, poverty and persecution. Poverty is an overwhelming driving force. We can build walls around Europe but these will not stop people who are seeking a better life far from home.
According to the United Nations, there are approximately 191 million migrants worldwide. Half of these are women. Female migrants and refugees live with the enormous risk of becoming the victims of sexual exploitation and violence. The correlations between migration and the slave trade in this regard must, above all, be examined from a gender perspective. When calling for a guarantee fund for microprojects involving migrants, gender-specific projects must receive special attention.
I ask myself how we can be proud of a European Union where women who have fled their homelands on account of poverty and violence become the victims of discrimination and exploitation. Migrants make an enormous contribution to the development of their homelands. Every year, EUR 150 billion are transferred via banks. This is three times the development aid offered worldwide. On top of this, a further EUR 300 billion is received through other channels. In this regard, I am particularly calling for more transparency and aid as regards financial transfers to the countries of origin.
In September, for the first time, the UN would like to deal with the theme of migration and development in the context of a high level dialogue. Through its delegation, the European Parliament should demonstrate that this silent human rights crisis, as Mr Kofi Annan termed it, puts us to shame and that we want to stand up for a more just situation for migrants and refugees.
Fernando Fernández Martín, on behalf of the PPE-DE Group. – (ES) Mr President, I would like to thank Mrs Carlotti for the excellent cooperation between us when negotiating the amendments that are going to allow the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) and European Democrats to back this report.
Nevertheless, we have been talking about this issue for a long time – the Commissioner has reminded us of the many times we have dealt with it – but very little has been achieved so far. This is a clear example of the paralysis we are suffering from and illustrates the current situation of European politics in relation to one of our most serious problems.
The Council has not been able to reach a common position, and it does not appear that it is going to do so, while each Member State adopts unilateral measures, which are often contradictory, and then asks the Council for help, as if the Council had nothing to do with them.
The Commission says – as the Commissioner who is here today said a fortnight ago in Vienna – that it does what it can but that this is a competence of the Member States, and it is absolutely right. Furthermore, it currently lacks an operational and sufficient budget; we are working with the extension of a budget that expired almost a year ago now. Meanwhile, thousands of illegal immigrants are crossing our borders and in certain countries this happens on a daily basis.
There is no doubt that we can do many things, as Mrs Carlotti’s report indicates. Money sent by immigrants triple — not double, as has been said — the total volume of official development aid throughout the world, but these investments do not represent an economically productive income in the countries of origin.
There is little, and sometimes no, application of the Cotonou Agreement in the majority of cases. Article 42 of the European Union Treaty would allow for the adoption of measures to combat people trafficking; after three years, the Commission also told us a fortnight ago in Vienna that it is assessing the issue and will make proposals in the future.
I could carry on giving examples, but those will suffice. I believe that the time has come to act and leave statements of intent for later and for less serious issues.
Margrietus van den Berg, on behalf of the PSE Group. – (NL) Mr President, migration is an international phenomenon. Europe concerns itself with visas, with coastal surveillance, with customs policy, with combating people-trafficking, with labour market policy, and with integration: that, putting it in broad terms, is what Commissioner Frattini is doing with AENEAS. We believe that the security arrangements, which are often anti-immigrant or intended to curtail immigration, must be paid for from their own independent budget, rather than by stealing from development funds.
Our concern today, then, is in fact with the other side of the coin – the development aspects of migration: migration from one part of the South to another, migration as a cause of under-development and instability. The issues here are education, health care, and Mrs Carlotti’s practical and good proposals; the migrants who are driven from one country to another, those who are refugees within their own country, ECHO, the coordination of UNCHR, NGOs, regional organisations, preventing ethnic groups from being persecuted or isolated, whether this be in Asia, Latin America or Africa; uprooted populations, vulnerable groups, among them primarily women and children.
The Commissioner was right to say that these issues fit outstandingly well into development policy, being the typical things that official development aid is spent on, but all those things that have to do with migration policy, on the basis of Europe’s perfectly legitimate interest in it being well-managed and safe, certainly go further than official development aid and are not primarily aimed at dealing with poverty. We must look after our own interests, but must not arrange our own affairs or pay for this at the cost of poor countries in unstable regions, for that affects the fundamental causes of poverty.
The intention of the Carlotti report is that the new geographical and thematic development instrument should address precisely these underlying causes. From India to Bangladesh, from Bolivia to Ecuador, the new instrument can be the means whereby Europe can make a good contribution. That is why it is relevant that, of the 17 billions that we will be spending over the next six years, we are setting aside at least 50% for those celebrated Millennium Development Goals, while redoubling our efforts in favour of basic education and health care by bringing the amount allocated to them up to 20%. As Bono would say: ‘Put your money where your mouth is; make poverty history’. I think the Commissioner has no intention of doing anything else.
Danutė Budreikaitė, on behalf of the ALDE Group. – (LT) Migration, especially economic migration, has a history of more than three centuries. But today, the countries of the developed world are encouraging the migration of qualified labour forces from developing countries. We are trying to solve the problem of an ageing population and a shortage of labour in our own countries at the expense of third countries. We hope to satisfy the anticipated demand for labour in the future not by fostering innovations more actively – one of the most important means of increasing work productivity, but through migration.
On the one hand, the European Union is supporting the growth of qualified labour forces in developing countries by implementing development policy and providing developing countries with over 55 per cent of world aid. On the other hand however, it is striving to entice the best workers in order to solve its economic problems. Very often, these workers acquired their qualifications in Europe or with European Union funds.
Thus, part of the EU funds set aside for development aid are used to finance the labour market of the EU itself. Migrants support their families with money earned in the EU, but their contribution to the development of their countries of origin would be far greater if they worked and created wealth not abroad, but in their own countries.
Migration policy is not just an EU matter. Agreements with third countries and the establishment of migration policy, above all in third countries, is one of the prerequisites of the economic growth of developing countries.
As well as migration policy, the priorities for developing countries themselves should be strategies for the establishment and expansion of their economy and the creation of jobs for their labour forces. Meanwhile, the European Union must help implement those strategies, or else developing countries will forever be poor.
Marie-Hélène Aubert, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. – (FR) Mr President, I too would like to thank Mrs Carlotti for this report, which proposes many interesting initiatives, though, as the Commissioner has pointed out, there appears to be a lack of coherence amongst the different policies of the European Union. During this part-session we have dealt with a number of reports on issues such as asylum, immigration and development which in some cases take us in contradictory directions.
We must acknowledge that today, in our countries, the prevailing tendency is towards securitarianism. There is an excessive tendency to link immigration and security, and the policies adopted are essentially aimed at sending immigrants back to their countries of origin, particularly illegal immigrants. The impression is that people only show any real interest in immigrants when they want to go home: this effectively means not recognising the freedom of those people who wish to settle and live in a country other than the one from which they originate.
As you know, subsidiarity is also very important in this field, and the Member States implement policies which are their own and which vary from country to country. In France, the government's current policy is aimed at expulsion and at sending illegal immigrants home; just today, in front of the European Parliament, there is a demonstration in support of school children threatened with expulsion. This kind of policy has not been adopted in Spain or other places, and in some countries, how to react to illegal immigration is being considered. Subsidiarity is therefore much too important in this field.
While co-development seems an interesting idea, I do not believe that it can replace the necessary European Union public policies, which are extremely strong, in the field of promoting the rule of law and democracy.
Going beyond any difficulties we may face, that is the aim of the Union’s actions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which places the emphasis on public policies in the fields of health, education and the environment, but this has regrettably been jeopardised over recent years by other policies on the part of the Union and the Member States, particularly in the economic and commercial fields.
We therefore need coherence and a global approach, so that we can link immigration to sustainable development issues and not treat it as simply a security issue.
Gabriele Zimmer, on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group. – (DE) Mr President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, two points of view are always wrestled with as regards the topic of migration. On the one hand, the libertarian perspective, which focuses on human rights and the Millennium Development Goals; on the other, the point of view adopted by Interior Ministers, who instead view an external threat, predominates. In view of the growing and current dramas associated with migration, the EU debate is dominated, unfortunately, by Commissioner Frattini and the Ministers for the Interior. Border protection facilities and intervention teams form part of this picture. Yet your very fine report, Mrs Carlotti, analyses the causes and status of migration in the 21st century in much greater depth and also proposes a whole raft of very sensible measures which I am unable to reflect on here in the two minutes I have available, however.
Your call for controlled migration should not mean though that in future, for instance, the EU turns Lampedusa into Ellis Island or perhaps something even more terrible, namely that there are combined EU refugee and recruitment camps in the Libyan desert and which also therefore operate outside EU legal standards.
Naturally, I also regret the lack of proposals for resolving the situation of migrants who live outside official legal status in the EU. The crux of the entire migration policy remains the growing economic and social disparity between the European Union and those regions of Africa that are becoming impoverished, and the EU is itself contributing to this impoverishment with its aim of competing for leadership in the global economy.
Please take the fair trade report to be debated here later in Parliament seriously if you wish to reduce migration out of economic necessity. Combat the contribution Europe is making to the migration of war refugees through its arms exports and reduce the emissions output of Europe and its trading partners if your desire is to reduce migration which is primarily the result of climate change and the spread of deserts.
Alessandro Battilocchio (NI). – (IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I speak on behalf of the new Italian Socialist Party. I am grateful to the Commission and to the rapporteur for having addressed this issue.
The strategies proposed, which are primarily designed to facilitate financial transactions and the transfer of pension rights, constitute two measures that are feasible in practice and that would have a significant impact on the precarious resources of many immigrants. However, the proposal to channel the income generated into measures designed to promote development in the country of origin also seems extremely important and reasonable to me.
If it is true, as the report claims, that better management of migration promotes development, then it is in fact also true that we should ensure that the most competent human resources do at any rate find attractive opportunities in their countries of origin and are encouraged to take the resources they have accumulated, together with their wealth of experience, back to those countries, for the benefit of their communities. I am referring in particular to doctors, professionals, teachers and researchers.
It is in fact rather idealistic in this day and age to believe that, after years of studying and working in Europe, a citizen of a third country might spontaneously decide to return to a country lacking in adequate social structures and systems.
With this in mind, we therefore need to pay extremely close attention to the management of any funds that may be generated, so that the efforts of individuals and of the international community are not wasted.
Zbigniew Zaleski (PPE-DE). – (PL) Mr President, as well as thanking Mrs Carlotti for her thorough work, I would like to draw your attention to three points. Globalisation also involves people breaking down barriers in their search for normal living conditions. However, differences in levels of economic development and political models impede the free movement of people. If, within the framework of the WTO, we cannot agree to the free movement of goods, it seems that agreeing to the free movement of people is an even more difficult task, although these two issues are worlds apart.
Although we lack such an agreement, people do migrate, in particular to richer countries. The European Union, as a destination for migrants, will be increasingly obliged to draw up solutions to this issue. Currently, we face the problem of Malta. Another problematic issue is the phenomenon of selective immigration, which mainly benefits rich countries. We are talking about the brain drain, which is immoral with respect to poor countries. We need a good policy to prevent the situation deteriorating in places such as Africa due to the exodus of educated people, and we need instead to help these countries to develop. Examples of such a policy are reintegration projects, which I had the pleasure of discussing with Commissioner Luis Michel.
As we already have immigrants in the European Union, in countries such as Scotland, which are already an attractive destination for Poles and Slovaks and are likely to become all the more attractive for citizens of countries such as Togo or Jamaica, we have to create an educational, social and legal programme to integrate immigrants as rapidly as possible into their host countries. The immigrants have indeed adapted. The period of integration is both a psychological factor and an economic one. The shorter and more sensible this period is, the better the outcome will be for both sides: for the immigrants and for the hosts. As a result of these actions, we will be able to avoid the phenomenon of ‘brain waste’, namely a loss of skills. Finally, I would just like to add that the problem of mainly economic immigration does not only affect France, Sweden or Malta. It is a common, serious problem facing the 25 Member States of the European Union.
Elena Valenciano Martínez-Orozco (PSE). – (ES) Mr President, I would like to begin by congratulating my friend and colleague Mrs Carlotti for the work she has done, above all because I believe that it brings development policy to the fore within the Union's foreign policy when we are dealing with the phenomenon of migration too.
There is no question that in the future we will not so much have to slow down migration, but rather regulate it, so that today’s movements of people benefit countries of origin, transit and destination, as they have always done.
The States know that their objective and interests can be better served if there is cooperation and if their actions are coordinated. The Euro-African Summit on migration will take place next week in Rabat. Development cooperation is a priority on its agenda.
We would ask that this opportunity be taken to establish concrete measures aimed at the development of African countries and we call upon the Union to make a decisive commitment to democracy, peace and security in the countries of origin of migration, leaving behind the all-too-frequent realpolitik approach.
Perhaps what we should do is promote education, which always brings freedom and development. We must improve and increase the Union’s presence at political and institutional levels.
The right to development is multi-faceted however and it means economic exchange, cultural exchange, conflict management, combating terrorism, environmental protection and policies to promote gender equality.
There is no doubt that migration brings benefits, but the benefits of international migration, not just for migrants but also for the societies receiving them, will only be possible if we maintain respect for the rights of workers, which are the universal guarantee against exploitation. The rights of all workers must be protected, whether they be legal or not.
The measures we provide for must fully respect the rights of people coming to our borders, including the right to asylum. In this regard, the European Union must ensure that asylum seekers are not denied the international protection they require.
As we all know, Mr President, migration and movements of people cannot be stopped. Let us guarantee respect for the rights of migrants.
Jan Jerzy Kułakowski (ALDE). – (PL) Mr President, the fact that the European Parliament is discussing development in relation to the question of migration shows that we are open to the problems of developing countries. We want migration to become a part of the development process. Unfortunately, at the moment, this is merely a pious desire. If this desire is to become a reality, certain conditions must be fulfilled. I will mention two of them. Firstly, migration needs to become cyclical in order to avoid the ‘brain drain’ phenomenon as much as possible. Secondly, the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers needs to be ratified by all Member States.
Finally, the issue of migration and development significantly affects relations between the European Union and the ACP countries. That is why the EU-ACP Joint Parliamentary Assembly, of which I am a member, must seriously investigate this matter.
To end my speech, I would like to extend my warm thanks and congratulations to my colleague Mrs Carlotti.
Miguel Portas (GUE/NGL). – (PT) The Carlotti report is a step in the right direction. Development aid is necessary, but is not in itself sufficient. New instruments and measures have been proposed that will enhance the lives of immigrants and their relationship with their countries of origin. This is a fair, intelligent approach, which replaces the current policy focused on border controls with a two-way migratory flow strategy.
Fortress Europe has been condemned, with its inevitable cost of death in the Mediterranean. All that is lacking now is commitment, and a clear position on detention centres, which are unacceptable. The rapporteur also recognises that on one side of an invisible border are the citizens and on the other people with no papers who are forced into resorting to illegal methods. What is the upshot of this? Immigrants without papers? No. Temporary authorisations for seeking work? Yes. This is where the principle of citizenship takes us.
Koenraad Dillen (NI). – (NL) Ladies and gentlemen, even while this report was being considered in the Committee on Development Cooperation, I realised what the main thing was about it that I found disappointing. I find the same thing here in this debate in this Chamber. Nowhere, it appears, is anyone stopping to consider the inevitable social consequences of migration for the countries of the EU, which are already wrestling with the problems presented by the formation of ghettos, criminality, rootlessness and Islamism. After what happened in the French suburbs last autumn, I would have expected some reflection on this from a French rapporteur in particular.
We must not, in this debate, point an accusing finger at the people who flee their countries of origin in search of a better life. They are doing only what anyone would do, but Michel Rocard, incidentally the former chairman of this House’s Committee on Development Cooperation, and a member of the same party as the rapporteur, got the measure of the situation when he, as the Socialist Prime Minister of France, said that ‘France cannot take upon herself all the miseries of the world’ – and nor, for that matter, can Europe do so.
It is, moreover, primarily the weakest people in the countries of origin in Africa, the ones who do not have the means or the clout to get themselves out, who are the victims of the immigration flows, the victims of open borders, for they are left behind, poorer than ever. Such ideas as the mobility of brainpower and circular migration may be appealing, but they are unrealistic and do nothing to change the situation. More immigration into our own countries, then, means more misery in the developing world, contrary to what the report suggests.
What Europe needs is for immigration to be stopped outright; what the developing countries need is effective aid on the ground.
Rodi Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou (PPE-DE). – (EL) Mr President, Commissioner, in these works by plenary, we have in particular debated issues relating to migration. We have referred to numerous dimensions and aspects which relate mainly to the management of migration flows at our borders and within the Member States.
The report by Mrs Carlotti gives us a new and very important dimension and I thank her for that. It is the dimension, it is the relationship between migration and development, the relationship between the European Union and the developing world countries which are mainly countries of origin of immigrants and political refugees.
Our external action at Community and national level gives us many opportunities to create conditions of sustainable development in countries and communities which suffer from absolute poverty, to create jobs, democratic institutions and structures and protection for human and social rights. These conditions will give hope to the local populace and prospects for a better life at home.
The regional funds, European cooperation, stability agreements, our development action within the framework of the United Nations, the good neighbourhood policy and everything else already referred to are exceptional tools, but they are tools we must make better use of, with better coordination and serious and proper evaluation of our policies and our objectives, both by our central services and our representations, which have enhanced, decentralised responsibilities and better knowledge of local needs.
We also need to achieve better cooperation with local factors at all levels. In addition, Commissioner, at the level of transparency and terms of good governance, our control mechanisms must put before their responsibilities both national and local administrators in beneficiary countries.
On behalf of the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality, I should like to stress the importance of adding the gender dimension to all our policies, because women are the most serious victims of all forms of discrimination in developing countries and the first victims of illegal immigration when they arrive in our communities.
Marie-Line Reynaud (PSE). – (FR) Mr President, I too would like to congratulate Mrs Carlotti on her excellent work.
As draftsman of the opinion of the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality, I was very pleased to see that the majority of our proposals have been incorporated into the final text, in particular the protection of migrant women against discrimination and violence, and improving their access to health services, to education and to employment, as well as the need to pay special attention to the children of these female migrants, and the situation of women displaced as a result of conflicts.
My only regret is that one of my proposals aimed at allowing migrant women in illegal situations access to health care and to legal and psychological support has not been included. These women in illegal situations represent a particularly vulnerable category whose fundamental rights must be protected, just like those of people with legal status. I hope that this point can be dealt with within the context of the report by Mrs Kratsa, which is specifically dedicated to the situation of migrant women.
Toomas Savi (ALDE). – (ET) Mr President, Mrs Carlotti, Commissioner. Migration, especially illegal migration, has until now been a problem of colonial or mother countries, leading to the introduction of strict visa requirements and making necessary laws on migration and international discussion of the topic. The complexity of the problem is vividly demonstrated by the present situation, in which 60 000 people are waiting on the northern coast of Africa for the opportunity to come to Spain. In connection with globalisation, the issue of migration will likely also reach the new Member States.
Mr President, Europe has a moral obligation to help at least a few migrants reach the countries of the developed world so that they may break out of their current conditions and find a decent life, enabling them to acquire an education and profession and later return to their country of origin, thereby bringing about circular migration.
In order to implement the above-mentioned suggestions, it will be necessary to update and reform the immigration policy of the Member States of the European Union. The channelling of legal immigration will require long-term cooperation between countries of origin and target countries, but the latter proposal will demand increased funding.
Thus, Mr President, it is not impossible that we will soon have to speak of the European Union’s common migration policy, so as not to find ourselves in the same complicated position we face today in connection with the European Union’s common energy policy.
Ryszard Czarnecki (NI). – (PL) Mr President, I would like to thank the rapporteur for her work on this report and for the clear conclusions drawn in it. These include the admission that the European Union has still not found a common, cohesive solution to the issue of immigration. It is a worthy challenge on a large scale: 3% of the world’s population, namely 175 million people, are migrants, and 40% of these people live in developing countries.
The European Union is sometimes criticised for earmarking too few resources for the integration of immigrants and refugees. Over the last seven years, EUR 15 million has been spent. This amounts to half a euro per immigrant. However, it also seems that using these resources efficiently is no less of a problem. We have seen many worrying signs of this and we hear reports of wastefulness and corruption in the distribution of funds.
Aid for immigrants has a moral and also a political dimension, as we need to work out a new, transparent European Union policy in this field. The fact is that, over the last 10 years, the European Union’s migration policy has been rather more restrictive than it was before. Let us also not fool ourselves into thinking that this policy will become less restrictive in the coming years. The opposite is more likely to be the case.
Libor Rouček (PSE). – (CS) Ladies and gentlemen, around the world there are currently almost 10 million refugees and 25 million people displaced within their countries, mainly in the countries of the South. Given that I was once a refugee myself and passed through the refugee system – a refugee camp – I should like to devote this speech to the situation of migrants in refugee and transit areas. There is no doubt in my mind that the living conditions of migrants in host and transit countries, especially in the Sahel countries, must be improved. The time has come to build a variety of information centres, foreign aid centres and legal aid centres. Programmes aimed at preventing and treating various diseases including sexually transmitted diseases and AIDS should be put forward. The most vulnerable sections of society, including women and children, should be the main focus of assistance. I would therefore urge the Commission to develop an integrated strategy aimed at supporting host and transit countries. The capacity of these southern countries needs to be bolstered and the right of such countries to pursue their own independent migration policy should be respected.
Francesco Enrico Speroni (NI). – (IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I should like to highlight the incompleteness of the report, which talks about immigrants’ rights without, however, referring to their obligations. It also says nothing whatsoever about the danger that certain forms of extreme religious beliefs bring to our Europe.
I cannot overlook the fact that people have been murdered – the last of whom being Theo Van Gogh – and that, due to certain attitudes of immigrants, our freedom has been significantly restricted, so much so that it has become downright dangerous or impossible to wear a satirical t-shirt like the one that I have with me here. No reference is made to this issue in the report.
Kader Arif (PSE). – (FR) Mr President, I would like to begin by warmly thanking Mrs Carlotti for her excellent work, the approach of which I support fully.
In the South, migration too often means the departure of the best-trained citizens, a real haemorrhage of skills, depriving those countries of revenue and jeopardising the provision and quality of essential services, which are crucial to their true development.
Let us make no mistake: this brain drain is encouraged by the policies of selective admission of migrants implemented in the North, under the name ‘selective migration’ or ‘selective immigration’. Selective immigration in the North always means immigration suffered in the South, a policy which effectively deprives the South of any right to development.
In opposition to this approach which has such harmful results, the general philosophy and the concrete measures proposed in this report, such as circular immigration as an alternative to the brain drain, the ‘circulation’ of brains, seem to me to be interesting. We have here the notion of shared immigration, of each party enriching the other. We are talking about promoting co-development, of enshrining it in European texts, without forgetting the funding it requires, of thereby recognising and supporting the role of migrants in the development of their countries of origin. The true intention would be to turn immigration into a lever for development and for mutual aid amongst peoples.
I hope that this essential solidarity will dominate the discussions at the forthcoming Euro-African Conference in Rabat. We are all aware of the history of walls being erected in the illusion that they will protect people from each other. They are always destined to be breached and ultimately destroyed.
Panagiotis Beglitis (PSE). – (EL) Mr President, I too should like to take my turn in congratulating Mrs Carlotti on her report, because it really has come at the right time, in view of the fact that the UN General Assembly is due to meet in September and will examine the relationship between migration and development.
I believe that the time has now come from us to move from words and wishes to deeds. We all talk about achieving the Millennium Development Goals, but nowhere is there any express reference to the problem of migration. I believe that the UN assembly in September will be a good opportunity to explicitly link development objectives to migration and, more importantly, for the response to this global problem to be a quantifiable objective within the framework of a specific timetable.
The European Union must speed up the incorporation of migration into all external actions and foreign policy and, more importantly, we must examine ways of incorporating it into the new strategy for development cooperation, the new European neighbourhood strategy.
I believe that the Euro-African summit will be an opportunity to discuss all these problems, but what we need above all is an integrated and cohesive European Union strategy.
Justas Vincas Paleckis (PSE). – Mr President, I should like to congratulate the rapporteur and to draw attention to one aspect of development and migration that increases the wealth and intellectual potential of already prosperous states and bleeds developing countries dry. I am talking about the brain drain.
Development policies will not yield results unless this process at least slows down. At the moment the EU offers help to developing countries with one hand, which is visible, and takes it away with the other, which is invisible. First, I suggest we tidy things up at home in the European Union, where we are seeing a similar brain drain from the new to the old countries. The process is even more painful, since internal borders and barriers are diminishing and disappearing. The EU must create a special fund to regulate the brain drain and soften its impact.
After sorting out the situation at home, we could use that as a basis for cooperation with the developing countries and with the USA, which profits greatly from the brain drain.
Louis Michel, Member of the Commission. (FR) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I naturally agree with the thrust of what has been said. In the short time available to me, I should like to mention a few points that will help me to set out my position clearly on a number of issues and proposals.
I should first like to reassure Mr van den Burg regarding his extremely important question on the need to make a clear distinction between security-related and development-related spending. It is obviously not a matter of using development resources to finance security measures. The development budget should not be funding these measures. From this point of view, you can be reassured by the Commission.
The second point that I consider important is the old chestnut of the ‘brain drain’. As Commissioner for development, I should like there to be no doubt as to my commitment on this issue. I am opposed to the policies of some Member States, which actually call for, and tempt people with, selective immigration. In my view, selective immigration is a cynical concept of development and I do not accept it. In this regard, I am suspicious of suggestions and ideas revolving around the notion of the ‘green card’. I feel it is very dangerous to play with ideas that clearly tie in with ‘selective immigration’. I do not like this approach and I feel it is right to make this point clearly.
I must say, Mrs Aubert, that I warmly welcome your call for investment in public policies. You speak of the EU’s public policies, but one should really focus principally on the public policies of the partner states and of developing countries. This is one of my obsessions because it forms the very foundations of reconstruction and development. It is extremely difficult to encourage citizens from developing countries who live without prospects, who feel that they have no prospects, who live without access to the basic services that any normal society should provide, to stay at home and contribute to their countries.
In other words, everything that revolves around the states’ ability to guarantee basic services – namely access to education, health, administration, justice, culture, basic goods – should form a central part of our development strategies. There is no doubt in my mind that therein lie the ultimate answers to the phenomenon of immigration. The essential functions of the State, so dear to those like me who believe in the primacy of the secular nature of States, must be developed. This is something I consider important.
I should like to commend all of the speakers without mentioning all of them by name. I agree entirely with Mr Kulakowski, who placed the accent on extremely close ties between migration and development. The proper response to migration is development, purely and simply. The answer is not to close the borders, to send people back or ‘selective immigration’. The proper response lies in development projects aimed at strengthening, improving or rebuilding the countries concerned. In a number of developing countries, one can say that there is no longer a State and I would urge the EU, our institutions and the ACP countries particularly affected to come together around the negotiating table.
Lastly, I should like to say to Mr Dillen that he has quoted Mr Rocard totally out of context. Of course Europe cannot absorb all of the world’s misery. I should like to tell him, however, that the wealthy world could do so comfortably, so there is no excuse.
That, Mr Dillen, is simply a matter of political will. I know that in this area you have none.