Immigration : Meps Seek Voting Rights for Migrants in Local Elections
In a (non-binding) own initiative report, MEPs call on member states to authorise legal migrants to vote in local elections. At the same time, the text bya Simon Busuttil (EPP-ED, Malta), adopted on 22 April in Strasbourg by 485 votes in favour, 110 against and 19 abstentions, urges member states to "jointly tackle" the problems caused by illegal immigration.
Other Conservatives attempted to do away with the reference to voting. But their alternative resolution was rejected by 262 votes in favour, 344 against and 23 abstentions. It is "fundamental that the European Union remains a welcoming environment for all those obtaining the right to remain there," underlines the text that was finally adopted.
However, MEPs are "concerned about the effect of the brain drain' on third countries" and are therefore recommending that a "cycle of exchange of knowledge" should be encouraged, through programmes of temporary migration. In order to do so, member states must "refrain from actively recruiting workers in these sectors, such as health and education," in countries which are already suffering from a lack of workers. At the same time, EU countries will, in 2011, be equipped with a blue card' intended to attract highly qualified migrant workers in competition with the American green card'. According to the criteria, immigrants will need to earn at least 1.5 times the average gross annual salary of the receiving country. But this threshold could be reduced to 1. …