Sunday

18th Nov 2018

Blue Card policy bad for EU schools, expert says

  • National governments will tend to invest less in education because they can "import" skilled workers through the Blue Card (Photo: European Commission)

EU governments will tend to invest less in education if they can "import" highly skilled workers from third countries through the so-called "Blue Card" scheme, aimed at matching the US Green Card, Aristide Zolberg, a professor at New York's New School University, said at a conference in Brussels.

Author of "A nation by design - Immigration Policy in the Fashioning of America," Mr Zolberg, gave a broad analysis on Wednesday (29 October) of US immigration policies at the Brussels-based Centre for Historical Research and Documentation on War and Contemporary Society.

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

Asked how he assessed the EU plans for a "Blue card" scheme aimed at copying the American Green Card for attracting skilled non-EU workers to the internal labour market, Mr Zolberg said "maybe it's not a disaster, but it is certainly not a good policy for the EU."

"Every country wants the same - high-skilled, already trained workers. But I strongly disapprove of subcontracting education to other countries at the expense of not investing in one's own schools," Mr Zolberg argued, citing the 2005 riots in the suburbs of Paris as an example of the consequences of having underperforming schools and of ghettoisation.

Governments tend to spend little on education in the first place, but with an immigration policy tailored to get skilled workers from abroad, "they will use it as an excuse" to cut back on the country's own costly educational programs, he said.

The "Blue Card" plan was endorsed last week by the EU's home affairs ministers, with objections by the Czech Republic, which demands abolishing Western labour restrictions for eastern Europeans first. Currently, Austria, Belgium, Germany and Denmark continue to protect their markets from cheaper labour coming from the post-Communist bloc.

According to European 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.

In Europe, non-European highly-qualified workers make up only 1.7 percent of the employed population, while the category accounts for nearly 10 percent in Australia, over seven percent in Canada and over three percent in the US.

Italian protests over education cuts

The latest developments in Italy tend to echo Mr Zolberg's warnings, with mass protests of students and teachers after the Italian parliament's green light to cut education spending by €8 billion as part of a controversial school system reform.

On Wednesday thousands of students poured into Rome's Piazza Navona, where three were injured in a scuffle that broke out between far-left and far-right factions before they were separated by police, ANSA reports.

Other protests were staged in Ancona, Brescia, Cagliari, Lecce, Pavia, Padua, Pescara, Macerata and Urbino, while in Naples and Milan students also occupied platforms at city train stations.

Premier Silvio Berlusconi said he was satisfied by the parliament vote but reiterated that protests had been fueled by ''lies and false messages'' from opposition politicians about the contents of the reforms.

''The students can protest, but I'm sorry that they're protesting against things that have no foundation. It's a pity to see so many young people fooled and misled by the left,'' he said.

Walter Veltroni, leader of the opposition Democratic Party, said he would promote a national referendum to repeal the decree, adding that ''this reform is not a reform. It's a simple cut in resources for schools and universities.''

Nearly half of Italians are opposed to the reforms, according to a poll published on Monday.

EU ministers flesh out foreign worker 'Blue Card' plan

EU interior ministers have formally backed the European Pact on Immigration and Asylum, a French-drafted plan on how the 27-nation bloc should cope with migratory flows. In addition, they "more or less" agreed on the idea of an EU work permit, or 'Blue Card' but the Czech Republic insists all European labour markets must first open to eastern Europeans.

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. US warns EU banks and firms against trading with Iran
  2. Merkel urged Romania not to move embassy to Jerusalem
  3. Protesters call for Czech leader to step down
  4. Former German chancellor labelled 'enemy' of Ukraine
  5. French lead opposition to Brexit deal on fisheries
  6. Private accounts of Danske Bank employees investigated
  7. UK's May defends Brexit deal to MPs, after ministers resign
  8. Brexit MP calls for 'no confidence' vote on May

EU gets record response on 'summertime' consultation

The EU Commission has received several million responses from citizens, businesses, and organisations on whether to end the daylight summertime savings. Any tangible change would take ... time.

Exclusive

Women shun EU-funded site for female entrepreneurs

Wegate.eu, which received €1.2m in EU money since its launch almost two years ago, has less than a thousand registered users - from a possible target audience of at least 10 million.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  8. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  9. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  10. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  12. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs

Latest News

  1. Brexit dominates EU affairs This WEEK
  2. How the EU commission got tunnel vision on self-driving cars
  3. No-confidence calls against May put Brexit deal in doubt
  4. Key points of the Brexit deal (if it ever comes into effect)
  5. Romania heaps scorn on 'revolting' EU criticism
  6. US steps in to clean up Cyprus
  7. 'Decisive progress' on Brexit as British cabinet backs deal
  8. Asylum for Macedonia's ex-PM puts Orban on spot

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil 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. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  9. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  10. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network
  12. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us