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2004-10-05

Emergency curbs on Turkish emigration? 

While Jose Barroso is advocating referendums to let the populations of existing EU-members decide about eventual Turkish membership, Günter Verheugen has joined the fray of high-ranking EU officials trying to appease the sceptics with questionnable concessions.

As the FT reports, Verheugen has hinted at a system of 'emergency curbs' in an interview with German ZDF television. Such a system should be in place permanently after a Turkish entry. Curbs on Turkish emigration to other EU countries could be activated if Turkish migrants caused "instability" in labour markets, "to limit and control migration at any time".

If this is a serious policy proposal by the EU commission, I have to say I find it horrible and discriminatory. It would be way worse than the transition rules imposed in the latest round of enlargement. Of course the migration issue is a central one, and the prospect of a national referendum in Austria on Turkish EU-membership is not a bright one if conditions at the time were to be similar to the current ones.

If a referendum needs to be won everywhere in the EU, some new migration management mechanism might be necessary, but it should be smarter and less offensive than what was proposed here by Verheugen. For a less discriminating system, I still reluctantly identify with the proposal I made here in August.

UPDATE: It seems that the UK heroically shares my view of Verheugen's proposal (TheGuardian, via Edward in a comment at afoe). Maybe I should emigrate there after all.


2 comments:

Nice idea but I think it misses one vital point.

One of the most critical problems that will be associated with Turkish migration will be unregistered workers. By forcing legitimately employed Turks (or others) to pay, you create an extra incentive for them to enter the black market. The fee would have to be payable by the unemployed as well to overcome this.
 

OTOH, if the fee has to be paid irrespective of employment, it would be an incentive to leave family members back in the country of origin. This was the policy in the 70s here. That was not only inhuman, because families were split apart, but also contributed to less integration of the guest workers, who had their key life interests in their home country with their wives and kids. Little integration meant ghettoisation, which is the cause of many of the social problems caused by immigration in Vienna. I'm aware of the black-market incentive, but I believe it would have to be countered by other means.
 
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