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Elections for Members of European Parliament (MEPs) are being held on May 23 through 26! For this occasion, the European Web Site on Integration is publishing a series on what national political parties are saying about migrant and refugee integration in the EU.

The Netherlands will elect 26 MEPs for these European Parliament elections. This number, however, will increase to 29 after Brexit takes place. Just a few of the Dutch political parties made a notable emphasis on the integration of migrants and refugees in their programmes for these elections, while the programmes of all the parties had standpoints on asylum and migration policies.

Until now, the ‘established’ Dutch parties have delivered most of the MEPs. These parties are already numerous and include Democrats 66 (D66), Christian Democrats (CDA), People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), Labour Party (PvdA), Socialist Party (SP), GreenLeft (GroenLinks), Christian Union and Reformed Political Party (ChristenUnie-SGP), Party for the Animals (Partij voor de Dieren) and Party for Freedom (PVV). The new party Forum for Democracy is expected to make a strong showing for these elections, joining the current parties.

Other parties which have recently performed well nationally, such as the GreenLeft, are also expected to gain seats. Two of the leading parties from the 2014 elections, Democrats 66 and the Christian Democrats, may lose seats.

Although few parties mention integration measures targeted directly at migrants and refugees, many parties do discuss social issues relevant to integration such as anti-discrimination, which was the most commonly mentioned topic in integration.

DIVERSITY & SOCIAL COHESION

Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA)

Original Text

“Wat ieders geslacht, afkomst, geaardheid of geloof ook is: in Europa kan iedereen rekenen op een gelijke behandeling en een bescherming van zijn elementaire mensenrechten.” (Pagina 68)

Unofficial Translation

Whatever anyone’s gender, origin, orientation or belief is: in Europe everyone can count on equal treatment and protection of their basic human rights. (Page 68)

Democrats 66 (D66)

Original Text

“Europa kan meer doen om minderheden te beschermen. Europa moet de rechten van mensen actief waarborgen. Als mensen dreigen in gevaar te komen door hun religie, seksuele voorkeur, etniciteit, handicap of geslacht, moet Europa ingrijpen.” (Pagina 20)

Unofficial Translation

Europe can do more to protect minorities. Europe must actively guarantee human rights. If people are endangered due to their religion, sexual preference, ethnicity, disability or gender, Europe must intervene. (Page 20)

GreenLeft (GroenLinks)

Original Text

“Europese regels tegen discriminatie moeten beter gehandhaafd worden, bijvoorbeeld door een laagdrempelige klachtenregeling.” (Pagina 25)

Unofficial Translation

European rules against discrimination must be better enforced, for example through an easily accessible complaints procedure. (Page 25)

Labour Party (PvdA)

Original Text

“Strengere naleving van de wet tegen discriminatie op de arbeidsmarkt. De nieuwe Europese Arbeidsinspectie krijgt voldoende capaciteit om discriminatie tegen te gaan.” (Pagina 7)

“Extreemrechtse partijen bedreigen de rechten van minderheden en antisemitisme en moslimhaat nemen toe. Vluchtelingen worden gecriminaliseerd en op basis van hun geloof geweigerd. Dat is onvoorstelbaar en mag niet gebeuren… De Europese anti-discriminatierichtlijn eindelijk in te voeren. Nederland moet het initiatief nemen om de impasse te doorbreken die al sinds 2008 bestaat, omdat sommige lidstaten dwarsliggen. Dan kan er harder worden opgetreden tegen elke vorm van discriminatie.” (Pagina 8)

Unofficial Translation

Stricter compliance with the law against discrimination on the labour market. The new European Labour Inspectorate should have sufficient capacity to combat discrimination. (Page 7)

Extreme right-wing parties threaten the rights of minorities and anti-Semitism and Muslim hatred are increasing. Refugees are criminalized and refused based on their beliefs. That is unimaginable and must not happen… To finally introduce the European anti-discrimination directive. The Netherlands must take the initiative to break the deadlock that has existed since 2008, because some Member States are obstructing. Then stronger action can be taken against any form of discrimination. (Page 8)

Party for the Animals (Partij voor de Dieren)

Original Text

“De Europese Unie staat voor gelijke rechten van alle burgers in haar lidstaten. Discriminatie is onacceptabel, op welke grond dan ook.” (Pagina 29)

“Landen in de EU bestrijden alle vormen van discriminatie op basis van etniciteit, geslacht, overtuiging of geaardheid.” (Pagina 30)

Unofficial Translation

The European Union stands for the equal rights of all citizens in its Member States. Discrimination is unacceptable, for whatever reason. (Page 29)

EU countries should combat all forms of discrimination based on ethnicity, gender, belief or orientation. (Page 30)

 

Some of the parties also believe that the EU has an important role to play in anti-discrimination.

EU’S ROLE IN INTEGRATION

Democrats 66 (D66)

Original Text

“Europa kan meer doen om minderheden te beschermen. Europa moet de rechten van mensen actief waarborgen. Als mensen dreigen in gevaar te komen door hun religie, seksuele voorkeur, etniciteit, handicap of geslacht, moet Europa ingrijpen… Het voorstel voor een EU-brede antidiscriminatiewet moeten… opnieuw op tafel komen bij de Europese Raad.” (Pagina 20)

Unofficial Translation

Europe can do more to protect minorities. Europe must actively guarantee human rights. If people are endangered due to their religion, sexual preference, ethnicity, disability or gender, Europe must intervene... The proposal for an EU-wide anti-discrimination law must… be discussed again at the European Council. (Page 20)

GreenLeft (GroenLinks)

Original Text

“De Europese Commissie dient lidstaten die weigeren hun burgers te beschermen tegen discriminatie desnoods voor het Hof van Justitie te dagen.” (Pagina 25)

Unofficial Translation

The European Commission should, if necessary, sue Member States that refuse to protect their citizens against discrimination before the Court of Justice. (Page 25)

Labour Party (PvdA)

Original Text

“De nieuwe Europese Arbeidsinspectie krijgt voldoende capaciteit om discriminatie tegen te gaan.” (Pagina 7)

“Zich inzetten om racisme en etnische discrimina-tie op Europees niveau te agenderen en serieuze beleidsmaatregelen te ontwikkelen om een meer tolerante samenwerking tussen de verschillende mensen in Europa te bevorderen. Op dit moment zijn racisme en etnische discriminatie in Europa nog steeds onaangenaam aanwezig, zowel in het dagelijkse leven als op de arbeidsmarkt. ” (Pagina 20)

Unofficial Translation

The new European Labour Inspectorate should have sufficient capacity to combat discrimination. (Page 7)

Commit to putting racism and ethnic discrimination on the agenda at the European level and develop serious policies to promote more tolerant cooperation between the different people in Europe. At present, racism and ethnic discrimination are still unpleasant in Europe, both in daily life and in the labour market. (Page 20)

Party for the Animals (Partij voor de Dieren)

Original Text

“De EU stimuleert het wegwerken van verschillen tussen vrouwen en mannen op de arbeidsmarkt. Ze geeft zelf het goede voorbeeld door te zorgen voor een betere vertegenwoordiging van vrouwen en minderheden in Europese topfuncties.” (Pagina 30)

Unofficial Translation

The EU encourages the elimination of differences between women and men in the labour market. It would set a good example itself by ensuring better representation of women and minorities in top European positions. (Page 30)

 

When it comes to specific integration measures directed at migrants and refugees, language learning is the most prevalent theme.

LANGUAGE

GreenLeft (GroenLinks)

Original Text

“Al voor het besluit over hun asielverzoek is genomen, moeten asielzoekers de mogelijkheid hebben de taal te leren en zichzelf nuttig te maken.” (Pagina 29)

“GEZINSVORMING: … Van de buitenlandse partner wordt verlangd dat deze bereid is na overkomst de taal te leren en te integreren.” (Pagina 71)

Unofficial Translation

Even before the decision on their asylum application has been made, asylum seekers must have the opportunity to learn the language and make themselves useful. (Page 29)

FAMILY FORMATION: ... The foreign partner is expected upon arrival to be willing to learn the language and to integrate. (Page 71)

Labour Party (PvdA)

Original Text

“De PvdA wil: … Dat lidstaten aan nieuwkomers ruime mogelijkheden bieden voor taalonderwijs...” (Pagina 72)

Unofficial Translation

The PvdA wants: … That Member States offer newcomers ample opportunities for language learning... (Page 20)

Socialist Party (SP)

Original Text

“Van vluchtelingen die asiel hebben gekregen verwachten we dat ze meedoen in onze samenleving en organiseren we dat dit mogelijk is. Dat is beter voor iedereen. In Nederland zorgen we voor goed taalonderwijs, zodat iedereen Nederlands leert.” (Pagina 32)

Unofficial Translation

We expect refugees who have been granted asylum to participate in our society and we organise to make this possible. That's better for everyone. In the Netherlands we ensure good language education, so that everyone learns Dutch. (Page 32)

 

Employment, health, education and housing also feature occasionally.

EMPLOYMENT

GreenLeft (GroenLinks)

Original Text

“RECHT OP VRIJ VERKEER: Migranten verkrijgen na twee jaar het recht op vrij verkeer van werknemers binnen de EU als ze in hun eigen levensonderhoud kunnen voorzien.” (Pagina 72)

Unofficial Translation

RIGHT OF FREE MOVEMENT: Migrants will have the right to free movement as workers within the EU after two years if they can provide for themselves. (Page 72)

Labour Party (PvdA)

Original Text

“De PvdA wil: … Dat lidstaten aan nieuwkomers ruime mogelijkheden bieden voor… snelle en doeltreffende accreditatie van elders genoten opleidingen, en praktische educatie om integratie te stimuleren.” (Pagina 20)

Unofficial Translation

The PvdA wants: … That Member States offer newcomers ample opportunities for… rapid and effective accreditation of training received elsewhere, and practical education to foster integration. (Page 20)

 

HEALTH

Party for the Animals (Partij voor de Dieren)

Original Text

“Grondrechten, zoals toegang tot medische zorg, gelden ook voor mensen zonder verblijfsvergunning.” (Pagina 26)

Unofficial Translation

Fundamental rights, such as access to medical care, should also apply to people without residence permits. (Page 26)

Labour Party (PvdA)

Original Text

“Vluchtelingen in afwachting van al dan niet een verblijfsstatus, moeten zeker zijn van een veilige opvang waar naast een dak, eten, onderwijs en zorg ook hygiëne en voldoende ruimte aanwezig zijn.” (Pagina 19)

Unofficial Translation

Refugees awaiting residence status or not, must be sure of a safe reception where, in addition to a roof, food, education and care, there is also hygiene and sufficient space. (Page 19)

 

EDUCATION

GreenLeft (GroenLinks)

Original Text

“[Kinderen van asielzoekers] moeten natuurlijk naar school kunnen.” (Pagina 29)

Unofficial Translation

[Asylum seekers’] children must, of course, be able to go to school. (Page 29)

Labour Party (PvdA)

Original Text

“De PvdA wil: … Dat lidstaten aan nieuwkomers ruime mogelijkheden bieden voor… snelle en doeltreffende accreditatie van elders genoten opleidingen, en praktische educatie om integratie te stimuleren.” (Pagina 20)

Unofficial Translation

The PvdA wants: … That Member States offer newcomers ample opportunities for… rapid and effective accreditation of training received elsewhere, and practical education to foster integration. (Page 20)

 

HOUSING

GreenLeft (GroenLinks)

Original Text

“Moslims wordt in sommige Europese landen huisvesting geweigerd… Al ruim een decennium houden sommige lidstaten Europese regels tegen uitsluiting of achterstelling op het gebied van huisvesting, onderwijs of sociale voorzieningen tegen.” (Pagina 24)

Unofficial Translation

Muslims are refused housing in some European countries… For over a decade, some Member States have been blocking European rules against exclusion or disadvantage in the field of housing, education or social services. (Page 24)

Labour Party (PvdA)

Original Text

“Als je wegens geweld of andere vormen van onderdrukking huis en haard hebt verlaten, moet je zeker zijn van bescherming. Dat betekent opvang in een veilige omgeving. Waar je een dak boven je hoofd hebt, je kind naar school kan en je toegang hebt tot zorg… Overvolle kampen moeten we gezamenlijk zien te voorkomen.” (Pagina 19)

Unofficial Translation

If you have left your home because of violence or other forms of oppression, you must be sure of protection. That means shelter in a safe environment. Where you have a roof over your head, your child can go to school and you have access to care… Jointly, we must prevent overcrowded camps. (Page 19)

 

Three of parties put special emphasis on the rights and needs of migrant and refugee children.

ATTENTION TO VULNERABLE GROUPS

GreenLeft (GroenLinks)

Original Text

“MINDERJARIGE VLUCHTELINGEN: De belangen van kinderen in de asielprocedure moeten beter gewaarborgd. Ook om te voorkomen dat kinderen hier wortelen zonder te kunnen blijven. Kinderen van vluchtelingen en migranten die jonger zijn dan 12 jaar worden niet langer blootgesteld aan verhoren van overheidsinstanties, die bijvoorbeeld zijn gericht op het vaststellen van de gezinsband in het kader van gezinshereniging. Voor oudere kinderen geldt dat gesprekken die instanties met hen voeren voldoen aan de eisen die het Kinderrechtenverdrag hieraan stelt.” (Pagina 70)

Unofficial Translation

MINOR REFUGEES: The interests of children in the asylum procedure must be better safeguarded. Also to prevent children growing roots here without being able to stay. Children of refugees and migrants who are younger than 12 years old should no longer be exposed to interrogations by public authorities which, for example, are aimed at establishing family ties in the context of family reunification. For older children, the conversations that authorities have with them should meet the requirements set out in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. (Page 70)

Labour Party (PvdA)

Original Text

“Kinderen verdienen hierbij extra aandacht en zorg. Kinderlevens mogen niet jarenlang stilstaan, simpelweg omdat asielprocedures eindeloos duren.” (Pagina 19)

“Kinderrechten steviger verankeren in asielafspraken. Dit moet onder meer voorkomen dat kinderen in de cel terechtkomen.” (Pagina 20)

Unofficial Translation

Children deserve extra attention and care. Children’s lives cannot stand still for years, simply because asylum procedures last for a very long time. (Page 19)

Embed children's rights more firmly in asylum agreements. This should, among other things, prevent children from entering the [detention] cell. (Page 20)

Socialist Party (SP)

Original Text

“Er is speciale aandacht voor de positie van kinderen.” (Pagina 32)

Unofficial Translation

Special attention is given to the position of children. (Page 32)

 

Regarding residence and naturalisation, the GreenLeft emphasises the need for quick family reunification mechanisms, while Democrats 66 is opposed to the “sale of European citizenship”.

FAMILY REUNIFICATION, PERMITS & NATURALISATION

Democrats 66 (D66)

Original Text

“’Gouden visas’, oftewel het verkrijgen van een EU-paspoort of verblijfsvergunning door een finkeinvestering te doen ineen EU-land, hoort niet thuis bij de EU. De verkoop van Europees burgerschapis wat ons betreft immoreel en biedt bovendien een rode loper aan criminele elementen.” (Pagina 31)

Unofficial Translation

“Golden visas”, or obtaining an EU passport or residence permit by making a substantial investment in an EU country, does not belong in the EU. The sale of European citizenship is in our opinion immoral and also offers a red carpet to criminal elements. (Page 31)

GreenLeft (GroenLinks)

Original Text

“GEZINSHERENIGING VLUCHTELINGEN: De procedures voor gezinshereniging voor vluchtelingen moeten zo snel en soepel mogelijk zijn. Gezinshereniging telt niet mee in het hervestigingsbeleid, maar blijft een apart mechanisme.” (Page 70)

“GEZINSVORMING: De EU beschermt het recht op gezinsvorming en -hereniging. Om een partner uit het buitenland te laten overkomen, gaat de soepele inkomenstoets gelden uit de EU-richtlijn vrij verkeer en verblijf. Van de buitenlandse partner wordt verlangd dat deze bereid is na overkomst de taal te leren en te integreren.” (Pagina 71)

Unofficial Translation

FAMILY REUNIFICATION REFUGEES: The family reunification procedures for refugees must be as quick and flexible as possible. Family reunification should not count in the resettlement policy but remain a separate mechanism. (Page 70)

FAMILY FORMATION: The EU protects the right to family formation and reunification. To have a partner come over from abroad, the flexible income test will apply from the EU directive on free movement and residence. The foreign partner is expected upon arrival to be willing to learn the language and to integrate. (Page 71)

 

The GreenLeft also states several objectives related to the rights of migrants and refugees, asylum-seeking or not. Democrats 66 advocate for the protection of human rights for refugees. The Christian Democrats (CDA) also mention the protection of basic human rights for people of all origins.

RIGHTS & POLITICAL PARTICIPATION

Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA)

Original Text

“Wat ieders geslacht, afkomst, geaardheid of geloof ook is: in Europa kan iedereen rekenen op een gelijke behandeling en een bescherming van zijn elementaire mensenrechten.” (Pagina 68)

Unofficial Translation

Whatever anyone’s gender, origin, orientation or belief is: in Europe everyone can count on equal treatment and protection of their basic human rights. (Page 68)

Democrats 66 (D66)

Original Text

“Het Europese continent moet een welkome plek zijn voor mensen op de vlucht voor geweld en oorlog. Vluchtelingen vinden hier een humaan onderkomen. D66 vindt het belangrijk dat vluchtelingen in de hele EU dezelfde humane behandeling krijgen. Het gaat om mensen, om de menselijke waardigheid en om de bescherming van mensenrechten. Daarop doen we geen concessies.” (Pagina 28)

Unofficial Translation

The European continent must be a welcome place for people fleeing violence and war. Refugees find humane accommodation here. D66 believes it is important that refugees receive the same humane treatment throughout the EU. It is about people, human dignity and the protection of human rights. We do not make any concessions on this. (Page 28)

GreenLeft (GroenLinks)

Original Text

“Mensen die wij toelaten, moeten de kans krijgen om te integreren. Asielzoekers hebben recht op goede voorzieningen, waaronder toegang tot juridische ondersteuning. Asielzoekers stoppen we niet weg in een detentiecentra.” (Pagina 29)

“RECHTEN MIGRANTEN: Legale migranten krijgen na vijf jaar verblijf dezelfde rechten als EU-burgers, waaronder kiesrecht.” (Pagina 72)

“RECHT OP VRIJ VERKEER: Migranten verkrijgen na twee jaar het recht op vrij verkeer van werknemers binnen de EU als ze in hun eigen levensonderhoud kunnen voorzien.” (Pagina 72)

Unofficial Translation

People we admit must have the opportunity to integrate. Asylum seekers are entitled to good facilities, including access to legal support. We do not put asylum seekers away in detention centers. (Page 29)

RIGHTS MIGRANTS: After five years of residence, legal migrants receive the same rights as EU citizens, including the right to vote. (Page 72)

RIGHT OF FREE MOVEMENT: Migrants will have the right to free movement as workers within the EU after two years if they can provide for themselves. (Page 72)

 

Finally, one of the parties, the Forum for Democracy, states its belief that immigrants have failed to integrate. Its proposed solutions are related to restriction of immigration, rather than proposals to improve integration.

OTHER

Forum for Democracy (FvD)

Original Text

“Doordat immigranten nauwelijks toetreden tot de arbeidsmarkt, zorgt massale immigratie juist voor méér mensen die een beroep doen op sociale voorzieningen, terwijl hun leerachterstanden het onderwijs onevenredig belasten en hun oververtegenwoordiging in de criminaliteit ons maatschappelijk bestel onder grote druk zetten.” (Pagina 3)

Unofficial Translation

Because immigrants barely enter the labour market, massive immigration causes more people to turn to social services, while their educational disadvantages are disproportionately burdening education and their overrepresentation in crime puts great pressure on our social system. (Page 3)

 

See the party programmes: Forum for Democracy, People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), GreenLeft (GroenLinks), Christian Democrats (CDA), Labour Party (PvdA), Democrats 66 (D66), Christian Union and Reformed Political Party (ChristenUnie-SGP), Socialist Party (SP), Party for the Animals (Partij voor de Dieren), Party for Freedom (PVV).


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Elections for Members of European Parliament (MEPs) are being held on May 23 through 26! For this occasion, the European Web Site on Integration is publishing a series on what national political parties are saying about migrant and refugee integration in the EU.

In the new European Parliament, Portugal will have 21 MEPs, who are likely to come from five parties: the Socialist Party (PS), the Social Democrats (PSD/PPD), the Unitary Democratic Coalition (CDU) of the Greens and the Communist Party, the Left Bloc (BE) and the People’s Party (CDS-PP). The integration of migrants and/or refugees received relatively little attention from these parties, while issues concerning migration and asylum policy got more attention.

The Socialist Party currently has eight MEPs in the European Parliament and is expected to gain one more. The Social Democrats and the People’s Party are expected to win eight seats in total, one more than in 2014, when they ran in a coalition. The long-standing CDU coalition of the Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) and the Greens (Verdes) may lose one MEP, going from three seats to two, while the Left Bloc is expected to gain an additional seat for a total of two seats. 

Migration and integration-related topics are generally not featured in the debates broadcast on the main television channels, but they are mentioned in the manifestos of some parties. Two of the parties—the Greens and the Socialist Party—mention the fight against xenophobia and discrimination. The Left Bloc highlights the contribution of immigrants to social and cultural diversity.

DIVERSITY & SOCIAL COHESION

Greens

Original Text

“Os Verdes assumem-se frontalmente contra as violações dos direitos humanos e contra qualquer tipo de discriminação, seja devido a deficiência, género, raça, origem social ou étnica, língua, religião, idade, orientação sexual ou outra.”

Unofficial Translation

The Greens take a stand against violations of human rights and against any discrimination based on disability, gender, race, social or ethnic origin, language, religion, age, sexual orientation or other motive.

Left Bloc

Original Text

“A larga maioria destes imigrantes permanece em solo europeu, dando um contributo inestimável para a diversidade social e cultural, para o equilíbrio do saldo demográfico e para a sustentabilidade dos sistemas de segurança social.” (Page 5)

Official Translation

The vast majority of these immigrants remain on European soil, making an invaluable contribution to social and cultural diversity, balancing the demographic balance and ensuring the sustainability of social security systems. (Page 5)

Socialist Party

Original Text

“Preconizamos, por outro lado, uma política integrada para as migrações, que... assegure vias legais para uma gestão controlada das migrações, acompanhada de um investimento sério na integração social dos imigrantes e no combate ao racismo, à xenofobia e a todas as formas de discriminação.” (Page 5)

Official Translation

We also advocate an integrated migration policy... It should also provide legal avenues for the controlled management of migration, accompanied by serious investment in the social integration of immigrants and in combatting racism, xenophobia and all forms of discrimination. (Page 5)

 

The coalition of the Greens and the Portuguese Communist Party emphasises the protection of the rights of migrants and refugees.

RIGHTS & POLITICAL PARTICIPATION

Communist Party

Original Text

“Por uma Europa assente na elevação dos direitos laborais e sociais... O respeito pelos direitos dos migrantes e dos refugiados” (Page 22)

Unofficial Translation

For a Europe based on the elevation of labour and social rights… Respect for the rights of migrants and refugees (Page 22)

Greens

Original Text

“É fundamental defender uma política de migração e de apoio aos refugiados, baseada no respeito pelos direitos humanos, na solidariedade, no combate às causas da imigração em massa e no respeito pela independência e autodeterminação dos povos.”

Unofficial Translation

It is fundamental to defend a policy of migration and support to refugees based on the respect for human rights, solidarity, the fight against the causes of mass immigration and on the respect for the independence and self-determination of peoples.

 

Though it does not outline specific investments to be made, the Socialist Party does mention that there should be “serious investments” in the social integration of immigrants.

BUDGET, CAPACITY & RESEARCH

Socialist Party

Original Text

“Preconizamos, por outro lado, uma política integrada para as migrações, que... assegure vias legais para uma gestão controlada das migrações, acompanhada de um investimento sério na integração social dos imigrantes e no combate ao racismo, à xenofobia e a todas as formas de discriminação.” (Page 5)

Unofficial Translation

We also advocate an integrated migration policy... It should also provide legal avenues for the controlled management of migration, accompanied by serious investment in the social integration of immigrants and in combating racism, xenophobia and all forms of discrimination. (Page 5)

 

The People’s Party refers to ‘humanism in integration’ but does not specify what this means.

OTHER

People’s Party

Original Text

“O CDS defende maiores investimentos em centros de acolhimento e hotspots capazes de, à entrada, distinguirem cada caso, assegurando rigor na entrada e humanismo na integração.” (p.36)

Unofficial Translation

The CDS advocates greater investments in reception centres and hotspots capable of, at entry, distinguishing each case, ensuring rigor in entry and humanism in integration. (p.36)

 

Voting is optional for Portuguese citizens and for EU citizens who have registered to vote in Portugal. Turnout for the 2014 elections was 33.67%.

See the party programmes: Socialist Party, Social Democrats, Unitary Democratic Coalition of the Greens and the Communist Party, Left Bloc (in Portuguese and English), People’s Party


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Elections for Members of European Parliament (MEPs) are being held on May 23 through 26! For this occasion, the European Web Site on Integration is publishing a series on what national political parties are saying about migrant and refugee integration in the EU. 

The United Kingdom is participating in the upcoming European Parliament elections and will elect 73 MEPs. Of the parties that published programmes for the European Parliament elections, five parties mentioned the integration of migrants or refugees in some way. These parties were the Green Party, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Change UK and Plaid Cymru.

The debate in the UK has been dominated by Brexit, with most party manifestos for these elections discussing migration and integration mainly in terms of European Union membership and reciprocal citizen’s rights. When it comes to the integration of third-country nationals, the parties most frequently mention upholding common values of anti-discrimination and equality as well as access to rights.

The 73 MEPs are likely to come primarily from the Brexit Party, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Conservatives and Greens. There are several other parties that could win at least one seat: Change UK,  UK Independence Party, Plaid Cymru (Wales only), Scottish National Party (Scotland only), Democratic Unionist Party (Northern Ireland only), Sinn Fein (Northern Ireland only) and the Ulster Unionist Party (Northern Ireland only). Following Brexit, all 73 MEPs will leave the European Parliament, and their seats will be partially redistributed to other EU Member States.

Both Change UK and the Brexit Party are newly formed parties. The Liberal Democrats are expected to increase their seats, while the Conservative Party and the UK Independence party are expected to lose seats. The Brexit Party and the Labour Party currently lead the polls.

Both the Labour Party and Liberal Democrats mention the labour dimension of migration in their programmes.

EMPLOYMENT

Labour

“Labour rejects the Government’s plan to class as ‘unskilled’ any migrant worker earning less than £30,000. This would include nurses, teachers and social care workers who we desperately need. Labour will ensure our NHS and care sector can recruit the staff needed to care for our sick and elderly now and in the future.” (Page 25)

Liberal Democrats

“All countries across the EU, including the UK, need to do more to promote better participation of… ethnic minority people in the labour market in order to benefit from their full economic potential.”

 

Labour and Plaid Cymru also call for the protection of migrants’ rights in the employment context.

RIGHTS & POLITICAL PARTICIPATION

Labour

“For too long unscrupulous employers have exploited migrant workers and undercut local wages. At UK level, Labour would strengthen trade union rights, increase the minimum wage to a real living wage, fund proper enforcement, and give trade unions access to workplaces. We will ban the overseas-only advertising of jobs in the UK, and ensure every worker has the same basic rights from day one in the job.” (Page 17)

“Labour will continue to call for the UK to play a bigger role to support fair asylum and migration policies based on shared responsibility and solidarity between nations and people, respecting the rights of, and our duties to, refugees.” (Page 25)

Plaid Cymru

“It is crucial that all migrants are treated with dignity and regard for their basic human rights. We want to protect the rights of migrant workers and combat all forms of labour exploitation and forced labour in Europe.”

 

Four of the parties are concerned about xenophobia, racism, discrimination and/or hate crimes. Labour stresses the positive benefits of immigration and diversity.

DIVERSITY & SOCIAL COHESION

Labour

“Labour believes that immigration has positive benefits for our communities and economy. Greater diversity and inward investment enriches our culture and enables the new skills and dynamism needed to create economic growth.” (Page 22)

“Labour will lead the fight against racism at home and across Europe, wherever and however it arises. Labour wants to bring our country back together.” (Page 25)

Greens

“We are proud that Europe is diverse and colourful. We strongly condemn and fight any kind of discrimination and hate crimes on the basis of – but not limited to – gender and sexual identity, class, colour, ethnicity and their intersections. We want all policies and services to recognise the true diversity of people and their families – and the contribution they make to our societies.”

“Green ambition for 2019-2024: … Ensure that all EU and national Equality bodies have the powers to promote equality and tackle discrimination – including through appropriate legal processes and court.”

“The 2016 referendum unleashed a torrent of hatred, fear and division across our country. We’ll work with our neighbours to combat such hatred and welcome refugees and celebrate freedom of movement.”

Liberal Democrats

“While progress has been made towards equality for women, ethnic minorities, disabled people and LGBT+ people, there are many challenges still to overcome. There is increasing hostility towards women and minority groups – especially online – and reports of hate crimes are on the rise… We are committed to combatting this type of discrimination, promoting equality and tackling hate crime.”

Plaid Cymru

“In Wales, Plaid Cymru will work with Police and Crime Commissioners to ensure that all hate crime, including homophobic, racist and anti-disability hate crime, is treated as a serious offence by Welsh police forces and investigated appropriately so that victims can feel confident and secure in reporting incidents.”

 

The Greens want EU support for integration of migrants and refugees but do not specify what kind of support or to what extent. The Liberal Democrats want sanctions against states that fail to protect against discrimination based on race or other categories.

EU’S ROLE IN INTEGRATION

Greens

“We want the European Union to support countries, regions, cities and communities integrating refugees or migrants.”

Liberal Democrats

“The EU sets a minimum standard for protection against discrimination on the grounds of gender, gender identity, race, disability and sexuality. States that violate these protections must face sanctions.”

 

Change UK makes a reference to support for local authorities in dealing with the challenges of immigration, but the party does not specify the kinds of support.

LOCAL & REGIONAL INTEGRATION

Change UK

“Immigration is a net positive for our country. Where it poses challenges to some of our communities, we need to take action; for example, central government should be properly supporting local authorities.”

 

Plaid Cymru wants to help refugees and asylum seekers integrate into Welsh society, but the party does not mention specific aspects of integration.

OTHER

Plaid Cymru

“In Wales, Plaid Cymru want Wales to be a real nation of sanctuary for refugees fleeing war and oppression and will help refugees and asylum seekers integrate into Welsh society.”

 

See the party programmes: Labour, Liberal Democrats, Greens, Scottish National Party, Change UK, Plaid Cymru, UK Independence Party, Sinn Féin.

The Conservatives, Brexit Party, Democratic Unionist Party and Ulster Unionist Party have not published programmes for these elections.


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