Friday, April 28, 2006

Spain to let in workers from new EU states :: Gulf News

I congratulate the Gulf News for bringing this AP-Reuters report to its readers. The GCC has issues as a labor-receiving region, and so does Western Europe. Understanding the issues there enhances one's ability to assess of the situation here - despite the obvious differences. Some quotes:
Today, Spain has become wealthy enough to lure foreign workers rather than drive away its own jobless. And on Monday it will take a step that confirms that status: lifting restrictions on the entry of workers from eight poorer new members of the European Union.
. . .
Spain needs foreigners to cover work force shortages in certain sectors and keep the retirement pension system alive, offsetting one of the world's lowest birth rates, said Jose Ramon Pi, a professor of management at the IESE Business School in Madrid. "Either we let in 15,000 Poles or we let in 15,000 sub-Saharan Africans," Pi said, alluding to the waves of destitute Africans who try to sneak into Spain every year by sailing to the mainland or the Canary Islands in overcrowded boats.

EU officials say lifting the curbs is essential to the bloc's ambition of becoming a seamless economic dynamo that can compete with the United States and emerging Asian powers.

. . .
French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy yesterday rejected charges his new immigration Bill was a xenophobic drive for far-right votes ahead of 2007 presidential elections, saying it was a bulwark against racism. The Bill aims to attract a new generation of skilled workers who would embrace French values and traditions, thus improving race relations that hit the headlines during last autumn's riots in poor French suburbs, he said. . . . " Selective immigration is practised by almost all democracies in the world. And in those countries, racism and the extreme right are less strong than here. In short, it is a bulwark against racism," Sarkozy said.
The emphasis is mine.

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