PN161105F

STRICTLY EMBARGOED UNTIL 00.01

WEDNESDAY 16 NOVEMBER 2005

MEMBER STATES SHOULD MANAGE ECONOMIC MIGRATION: THE EU HAS ONLY A LIMITED ROLE TO PLAY

The House of Lords EU Committee today publishes a report on the Commission's Green Paper which invited views on the management of economic migration. The report concludes that Member States are best placed to assess their labour market needs and to decide on the level of economic migration to their countries.

Lord Wright of Richmond, who chaired the inquiry, said:

"Because economic conditions vary so greatly between Member States, we concluded that it would be a mistake to attempt to manage economic migration on an EU-wide basis."

"Current unemployment rates vary from 4.6% in the UK to 9.8% in France and Germany, with a high of 18.1% in Poland. There is also enormous variation between the needs of the labour markets. Each country is therefore best placed to assess its own policies."

"We concluded, however, that there is an important role for the EU to play in ensuring a basic level of rights for migrant workers right across the EU. The EU must make sure that workers get a fair deal and are not exploited."

The report contains 22 specific conclusions and recommendations, including, in addition to the above:

  • Migration to the UK has helped economic growth, without prejudicing employment opportunities or depressing wages;

  • The Government was right to allow nationals of the new Member States full free movement rights from the date of their accession to the EU;

  • The restrictions on movement imposed by other Member States should be lifted as soon as possible;

  • The United Kingdom should participate fully in EU immigration and asylum policies;

  • The Government should sign up to the Long-term Residents Directive, otherwise third country nationals who have lived here legally for five years will not be able to move freely around the EU, unlike their counterparts in other Member States;

  • The Government should commission research into the likely costs of acceding to the UN Convention on the Protection of Migrant Workers

  • It should also reconsider the case for acceding to the Council of Europe Convention on Migrant Workers.

NOTES FOR EDITORS:

1. The inquiry was undertaken by Sub-Committee F (Home Affairs) of the House of Lords European Union Committee. The current Members of the Sub-Committee are:

Lord Avebury

Baroness Bonham-Carter

Earl of Caithness

Lord Corbett of Castle Vale

Lord Dubs

Baroness Henig

Earl of Listowel

Lord Marlesford

Viscount Ullswater

Lord Wright of Richmond (Chairman)

2. The report is published by The Stationery Office: Economic migration to the EU, House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union, 14th Report, Session 2005-06, HL Paper 58, ISBN 0 10 400756 7, price £23.00. The full text of the report will be available on the internet via www.parliament.uk shortly after publication.

3.  The Commission's Green Paper, An EU approach to managing economic migration, was published in January 2005 (Document 5436/05).

Further information from:

Michael Collon

Clerk to the Committee, on 020 7219 8650 ( [email protected])

Jillian Bailey

Press and Publicity Officer (Committees), on 020 7219 8659 ( [email protected])

[ENDS]