Social and economic partners sign deal on integration of refugees

Today, 20 December, the social and economic partners took part in the signing ceremony of a partnership agreement with the European Commission on integrating refugees into EU labour markets.

“We aim to combine our efforts with those of each Member State in alleviating the migration crisis,” said Luca Visentini, General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation. “It is vital to ensure inclusive paths and equal treatment for refugees and asylum-seekers in the labour market and society.

“The ETUC is appalled by the quarrelling between European institutions about migration policy, at a time when millions of people are left without protection within the EU even if international law entitles them to it.

“Cooperation, in solidarity, among Member States, and the implementation of the quota system for protecting asylum-seekers are enshrined in primary and secondary EU law. Donald Tusk, as President of an EU institution, should be encouraging Member States to respect the letter and spirit of the law. The ETUC is grateful to Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos for having responded correctly to Mr Tusk’s intervention.

“The challenges that migration poses to the EU can only be addressed if Member States are united in implementing a genuine common migration and asylum policy. The external borders of the EU are borders for all the Member States and they all share the same responsibility to help those who seek international protection. Mr Tusk is right when he says that the quota system is not well implemented. But the solution is better implementation, not reinforcing national self-interest.”