May 1996 Volume 3 Number 5
EU--Illegal and Internal Migration
Europol has declared "organized illegal immigration" to be the police organization's "greatest concern." In several countries, officials who were assigned to go after alien smugglers have been accused of protecting them, including several French immigration officers at Orly airport, and immigration officials in Hamburg.
Europol blames the corruption on the amount of money that can be collected from aliens who want to enter Western Europe. Local police can also earn a payoff from the criminal activities--such as prostitution and drug dealing--that many of the foreigners can be induced to engage in once they arrive.
A push by the Netherlands for a collective visa, asylum and immigration policy and a wider role for the European Court of Justices has the support of 14 of the EU member states--all but Britain. An EU immigration policy was on the agenda for the first of a series EU's Inter-Governmental Conferences in Turin, Italy. The IGC will seek to reform EU institutions and revise the 1991 Maastricht treaty.
After five years of debate, EU employment ministers on March 29 agreed on the rights of EU nationals sent by their firms to work in another EU nation. So-called "posted workers" are different from workers who cross borders on their own to seek jobs, as e.g. Italians who migrate to Germany to seek work at BMW, and also different from self-employed persons such as accountants who want to offer their services in another EU nation.
Under the freedom of services clause of the EU treaty, many German construction firms established subsidiaries or relationships with firms in the UK and Portugal, hired workers there, and "posted" them to Berlin, Europe's largest construction site, at wages that were one-fourth of prevailing German wages.
Under the EU directive, EU workers posted in another EU country must usually be paid the same wages as local workers from the first day of their employment abroad, although countries can permit lower wages for the first month. Postings that last less than eight days would be exempt. EU member nations have two years to approve national implementing legislation.
The European Court of Justice ruled that unemployed persons who take cash settlements when they are laid off, can still collect family benefits. The ruling came as the result of a case in which a Spanish worker who had lived and worked in Germany for 26 years, took a lump sum payment when he was laid off, and lost his unemployment benefits.
The court ruled that community law on social security benefits does not distinguish between those receiving monthly unemployment benefits from those who take a lump sum, and are therefore considered temporarily suspended from receiving unemployment benefits by their national governments.
The EU labor force of 2010 is projected to rise to 180 million, and employment to 166 million, leaving 14 million unemployed.
Sam King, "Tangled web of human smuggling" The European, April 11-17, 1996; "Most EU States Support NL on the Future of Europe," ANP English News Bulletin, April 4, 1996. EU Labor Ministers Set Wage Floor for Foreign Workers," The Week in Germany, April 5, 1996. "Court says cash settlements do not cut off family benefits," Reuters, March 29, 1996.