International Migrants Day

By the EESC's Workers Group

International Migrants Day on 18 December provides an opportunity to present new reflections, based on the understanding of migration as a normal factor in any human society.

According to a recent ILO report, there are 164 million migrant workers in the world, about 87% of whom belong to the most productive age group. This suggests that some countries of origin are losing the most productive part of their labour force.

The Workers' Group shares the ILO's reflection that international labour migration is a political priority: global action is required to respond in the interests of the countries of origin, the destination countries, and particularly those of the migrant workers themselves. It therefore welcomes the recent signing of the UN Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.

The Workers' Group expresses its concern about the growing hostility towards migrants. Civil society actors who have often been first in filling the gaps left by governments by providing support and facilitating the integration of migrants, now face mounting interference in a growing number of Member States.

The Workers' Group is worried about the electoral rise of far-right political forces. They frame a discourse of hate for migrants, based on often demagogic, racist and xenophobic language.

We call on EU and national policy-makers to address the real concerns of citizens by tackling inequality with policies that lead to quality jobs, decent wages and more social justice. We must be ready to prevent the dissemination of hate speech during the upcoming national and European elections by confronting such views through dialogue based on our fundamental values.

During the December plenary, the EESC adopted a very relevant opinion on The cost of non-immigration which stresses that without migration there would be no economic and social growth, which would have a negative impact on Member States' economies. (José Antonio Moreno Díaz is author of the present article and co-rapporteur of the opinion). (mg)