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Proċedura : 2010/0210(COD)
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Ċiklu relatat mad-dokument : A7-0428/2013

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PV 05/02/2014 - 6
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L-Erbgħa, 5 ta' Frar 2014 - Strasburgu Edizzjoni riveduta

6. Il-kundizzjonijiet għad-dħul u r-residenza ta' ċittadini ta' pajjiżi terzi għall-iskop ta' impjieg staġonali (dibattitu)
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  Der Präsident. - Als nächster Punkt der Tagesordnung folgt die Aussprache über den Bericht von Claude Moraes im Namen des Ausschusses für bürgerliche Freiheiten, Justiz und Inneres über den Vorschlag für eine Richtlinie des Europäischen Parlaments und des Rates über die Bedingungen für die Einreise und den Aufenthalt von Drittstaatsangehörigen zwecks Ausübung einer saisonalen Beschäftigung (COM(2010)0379 – C7-0180/2010 – 2010/0210(COD)) (A7-0428/2013).


  Claude Moraes, rapporteur. - Mr President, all over the European Union today, seasonal workers will be carrying out essential tasks to keep our industries and our economy alive, yet there will be a gap in the regulation and the treatment of seasonal workers. It is very important that since the Treaty of Lisbon we have had the new legal powers to deal with that gap. That is the dry justification for what we are doing today.

Colleagues will remember, however, that three years ago the stimulus for the legislation that we are carrying out today was not just our legal obligations to fill this very important regulatory gap, but the scenes that we saw in Rosarno in Italy where we saw riots, and where we saw cardboard cities of very vulnerable exploited seasonal workers. If we look at those memories – not just in that one country but across Europe, north and south – we have to understand that there are many good employers of seasonal workers who are not exploited, but there are many vulnerable exploited seasonal workers.

So it is with great pride that I can tell you that many in this Chamber today – my colleagues who worked with me as shadows on this dossier within the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), and my co-rapporteurs in the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, Sergio Cofferati first and here Alejandro Cercas Alonso, as well as the Commission, the Council, the Greek, Lithuanian and Irish Presidencies – all did a really important piece of work to ensure that since the Treaty of Lisbon we have the first legal migration dossier as part of that package. We should be proud of that, because although it will not cure all the problems of vulnerable seasonal workers and exploitation that we see repeatedly across the European Union, we have broken a barrier, and we have done it with great consensus – an almost unanimous vote in the LIBE Committee, across the political spectrum.

What have we tried to do? We have tried to say to the good employers of seasonal workers: carry on doing what you are doing. But we have said to bad employers: you must have minimum standards to protect seasonal workers but also to increase productivity and to harmonise the communities in which you live.

So this report – which has been praised even by the UN, which noted with optimism that the Seasonal Workers Directive could have a positive effect in tackling the exploitation of seasonal workers – will have some very important wins that we had in our trialogues and in our negotiations: the right of seasonal workers to adequate accommodation at affordable costs and according to national procedures and practices. This means an end to the cardboard cities that we saw in Rosarno for those who enter under this Directive.

All seasonal workers will be entitled to a change of employer at least once during their stay. Now, these are rights given to seasonal workers which mean that they are not just paper rights, but actually give some flexibility which many have said is essential for workers to be treated not just as commodities but as human beings with some flexibility. There is a strong article on equal treatment that builds and improves upon the text of the Single Permit Directive. In particular, there is new text providing protection against dismissal or adverse treatment as a result of a complaint being made against the employer. Again, this is about lifting our standards to what we expect within the European Union for decent work and building on the good work which came before us.

Where an employer has been found to exploit seasonal workers we have introduced a new article on sanctions, including the right to compensation for the seasonal worker if his or her permit is withdrawn due to the actions of the employer. Employers will be permitted to extend the contract of a seasonal worker once within the maximum duration permitted. All of these measures were fought for very hard in an area which is very sensitive – immigration – at a time of austerity. We – and all of my colleagues here in the Chamber today who worked with me very hard – understand that decent work is something which is inextricably linked to the values of the European Union and to our values within the European Union. That is why I consider this to be a very important measure today.

Sensible and fair rights for workers and a piece of legislation focusing on managing migration is a refreshing change. I hope, with the vote on this piece of legislation, that it will not be the end of our migration journey. I hope that when we talk about illegal immigration and the negative stories that we look at seasonal workers’ protection and that we understand that working together we can improve the lives of migrants, as well as the lives of the EU workers they are working with, and we can improve the local communities they are working within.

Decent work improves lives for all of us within the European Union because civilised standards are the values that we live for within the European Union. That is why we are here and that is why this is one small step forward for all of us within the European Union.


  Cecilia Malmström, Member of the Commission. - Mr President, we know that seasonal migrant workers are needed in Europe every year to fill vacancies in sectors such as agriculture and tourism during the busiest months. Employers need them because there are simply not enough EU workers available for these types of work during the season. This is true even in difficult times like the present.

However, as the rapporteur said, migrant seasonal work is not regulated and it is often associated with abuses. Mr Moraes mentioned the horrible scenes from Rosarno, and there are many other examples of migrant workers being particularly vulnerable and in need of protection to prevent exploitation. Such situations are often related, too, to irregular migration.

Taking account of both the economic perspective and the protection perspective, the Commission brought forward a proposal for a directive regulating the entry, stay and rights of seasonal workers as long ago as 2010. It has been a long journey since then, and I want to thank the rapporteur, Claude Moraes, and co-rapporteurs Sergio Gaetano Cofferati and Alejandro Cercas, for their work, as well as the eight Council Presidencies who have worked on this – from the Belgians through to the current Greek Presidency.

This directive will establish a fast-track procedure for the admission of non-EU seasonal workers. Seasonal employment will be defined in the same way throughout the EU: it will concern activities that depend on the passage of the seasons and there will be a maximum time of stay. Seasonal workers will now enjoy equal treatment with nationals in the host Member States in terms of social security, employment and working conditions. Member States are, of course, competent to determine on economic grounds how many migrants they admit, and they are also allowed to carry out labour market tests. This will ensure that third-country migrants fill real gaps in the labour market that cannot be filled by EU citizens and migrants who already reside legally in Europe.

We consider this to be a balanced compromise. We need harmonisation, and it would not have made any sense for all the Member States to retain parallel schemes for seasonal employment. Seasonal workers coming for periods of less than three months will also be covered by the Directive and will have the same rights as seasonal workers staying a bit longer.

The Directive is also a tool for circular migration. It addresses the case of those migrants who come to the EU for a short period and then return to their country of origin at the end of the contract. Facilitation to permit the re-entry of bona fide migrants is a good thing: we are helping to establish a good relationship between those who come to work and the employers who then know that they can trust these people.

Member State authorities can check that seasonal workers have access to appropriate accommodation. This is necessary, as we saw in Rosarno, to prevent exploitation.

In the end, what we have here is a good text, which was massively supported by the relevant committees in this House. It will protect vulnerable migrants from exploitation; it will increase transparency in sectors where irregular migration and exploitation have traditionally been too frequent; and it will clarify the procedures for employers who need workers during their busy seasons.

A further important dimension is the fact that we are opening new avenues of legal migration to the EU. We know that it is very difficult to reach the EU in a legal way. With this Directive, we are setting a good example of a legal channel, giving migrants an opportunity to seek and obtain work in a lawful manner. We can be proud of the work we have done. Once again, I want to thank everybody involved.



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