Tuesday

19th Jun 2018

African states fear brain drain through EU blue card

The EU should make sure its "blue card" scheme for skilled migrants respects ethical principles and does not cause a brain drain in the developing world, health ministers from African countries have warned.

"We cannot afford schemes that seek to cream the very limited health skills we still have in developing countries," said South Africa health minister Manto Tshabalala- Msimang, according to Sapa news agency.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... our join as a group

  • African states worry the EU could undermine their health systems by attracting local doctors (Photo: European Commission)

Speaking at the ministerial session of 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific countries (ACP) held in Belgium on Friday (26 October), the ministers were referring to recently-announced EU incentives and fast track procedures for attracting the best brains from around the globe, including doctors.

The project was proposed by the European Commission last week as a tool for EU member states to boost legal migration, with Europe expected to suffer severe labour shortages in the coming years due to its ageing population and low birth-rates.

But the South African minister pointed out at the meeting that "Many developing countries are already struggling with the challenge of migration of health workers," and urged the EU not to add to this pressure.

"The EU member states need to address the issue of the recruitment of health workers from the ACP Group of States, and give consideration to the development of a code on the ethical recruitment of health workers," she said.

Some experts have expressed even harsher criticism for the blue card scheme, introduced by EU justice commissioner Franco Frattini.

"This is a new form of colonisation, of discrimination, and it will be very hard to find support for it among southern countries," Moroccan international economic law professor Tajeddine El Husseini was quoted as saying by Reuters.

"They spend a lot of money educating and training technical students and then in the end the northern countries will cream off the best ... it is a big mistake and a criminal act of the north to drain the south of its brainpower."

For its part, Brussels says that it will "minimise" the danger of brain drain from poor countries, mainly Africa, as part of EU's blue card scheme.

It says that its proposals suggests "ethical recruitment standards" to limit or ban active recruitments by EU countries in developing countries already suffering from serious brain drain.

It has made much of its proposal for circular migration which would allow those with a blue card to go back to their native country but return again to Europe in the future if they wanted, without having to undergo the whole application procedure again.

Brussels says that by keeping the door open for a return, skilled workers are more likely to go back to their home countries to work.

Analysis

Trump befriends Conte, depresses EU

Most EU leaders found US president Donald Trump "depressing" at the G7, but one of them - Italy's Giuseppe Conte - made a new friend.

Feature

EU and Turkey fight for 'lost generation'

Some 300,000 school-age Syrian children in Turkey are not enrolled in classes. Fears they may end up in sweatshops or forced to beg have triggered efforts by the EU, Unicef, and the Turkish government to keep them in school.

Opinion

Europe could lose out in North Korean bonanza

South Korean businesses including Hyundai and Samsung are already scoping investment opportunities. Will North Korea become a 'new Vietnam' opportunity - or more like Myanmar, where slow Brussels policy-making meant EU exporters lost out.

News in Brief

  1. Report: Audi CEO arrested over Dieselgate
  2. EU-Australia trade talks kick off in Brussels next month
  3. France and Germany moving closer to eurozone reform
  4. Merkel to meet Conte to find migration compromise
  5. Seehofer gives Merkel time to strike EU migration deal
  6. Schroeder and Sarkozy appear with Putin at World Cup
  7. Tennis champ and 'EU diplomat' claims immunity
  8. Italy threatens to ditch EU-Canada free trade deal

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMHRMI Launches Lawsuits Against Individuals and Countries Involved in Changing Macedonia's Name
  2. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  3. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  5. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  8. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  9. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network
  11. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future
  12. ACCAEmpowering Businesses to Engage with Sustainable Finance and the SDGs

Latest News

  1. Orban to EPP: turn 'Christian democratic' or face challenge
  2. Is EU retail sector equipped for 21st century?
  3. Tear gas bodes ill for Macedonia name deal
  4. EU asylum claims drop, Germany registers most
  5. EU summit: migrants get a 'vote' too
  6. Basque threat of 'second front' for independence
  7. Progressive regulation needed now for 21st century finance
  8. Greece and Merkel's fate top This WEEK

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us