Friday

26th Apr 2019

'Blue card' to attract top talent from outside EU

As part of efforts to fulfil Europe's need for highly-qualified workers, Brussels is set to issue an EU-wide work permit allowing employment to non-Europeans, in any country within the 27-nation bloc, EU home affairs commissioner Franco Frattini said in an interview with EUobserver.

The idea of an EU work permit – dubbed the 'blue card' after the colour of the European Union flag – is to be formally tabled in September.

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.

... or join as a group

  • The EU blue card idea has been inspired by the US green card programme (Photo: Notat)

Mr Frattini hopes it will make Europe a more attractive work destination than the US, Canada or Australia and cut down on the severe labour shortages facing the bloc due to its aging population and declining birth rates.

"It is up to me - up to Europe - to promote and encourage highly-skilled migrants to come, if needed and where needed", Mr Frattini said. He added he would also suggest the "possibility of intra-EU movement" under certain conditions.

Under the plan, an Indian doctor working in a Belgian hospital, for example, would be allowed to move to another EU member state after an initial period of two years, if he found legal employment there. He could subsequently move to another member state after another year.

In addition, the card will enable a specialist to return to their home country and to re-enter EU territory after four or five years, without having to start all the administrative procedures from scratch.

Brussels believes this could prevent foreign immigrants from outstaying their welcome in Europe, as well as counter the devastating effect of "brain drain" from the world's developing countries.

"The blue card is not a permanent card like the American green card", the EU commissioner said.

The card "will make it possible to encourage highly-skilled workers to come and to avoid brain draining at the same time," he added.

Until now, migration has proved to be a highly sensitive issue within the bloc, but Mr Frattini believes there may be "broad consensus" among EU capitals, as they will maintain control over their labour markets.

"I am offering a simplified procedure, facilitating the access of people who are needed...but it is up to each member state to determine how many [non-European] experts they need", he said.

"While member states are particularly reluctant concerning low-skilled or seasonal workers, they are very keen to attract highly-skilled migrants – engineers, doctors, researchers", he concluded.

According to commission estimates, labour shortages will peak by 2050 when 25 million Europeans are expected to retire from work and one-third of the population will be over 65 years of age.

EU parliament backs whistleblower law

MEPs backed an EU law to protect whistleblowers from retaliation in both the public and private sectors. EU states will have two years to transpose the directive.

EU commission to map gender recognition

The European Commission will start looking at how EU states determine genders - as part of an effort to make it easier for people to determine their own identities.

EU to propose scrapping summer time change

Based on the preliminary results of an online survey in which mostly Germans took part, the EU executive is proposing that the whole EU stops changing times in March and October.

Investigation

How to get around the EU posted workers directive

Some EU careworkers in Belgium receive around €400 a month - despite their carers paying €2,500 a month and paying for flights and accommodation. The answer lies in how firms can skirt the safeguards in the EU's posted workers directive.

News in Brief

  1. EU: Russian citizenship plan 'attacks' Ukraine sovereignty
  2. Deutsche Bank hands over Trump loan documents
  3. UN: Europe is badly prepared for new refugee crisis
  4. Macron to set out 'Yellow vest' counter measures
  5. Italy requests EU action plan for new Libya migrant wave
  6. Far-right party leaders meet in Prague
  7. Priest shames politicians at reporter's funeral in Belfast
  8. Putin offers Russian citizenship to Ukraine regions

Feature

Romania enlists priests to promote euro switchover plan

Romania is due to join the single currency in 2024 - despite currently only meeting one of the four criteria. Now the government in Bucharest is enlisting an unlikely ally to promote the euro to the public: the clergy.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  2. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  3. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  4. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  9. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  10. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan

Latest News

  1. Greens commit to air quality 'super commissioner'
  2. Far-right Facebook networks removed before Spain election
  3. EU and Japan in delicate trade talks
  4. Closer EU-Caribbean ties mean greater prosperity for all
  5. Details of EU Brexit talks with Blair and Soros kept secret
  6. Weber vows to block Nord Stream 2 amid 'sue' threat
  7. 'Next Juncker' must fix EU's corporate power problem
  8. EU want Facebook pan-EU advert fix for May elections

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us