“It’s not the time to turn the clock”

The results of May’s elections (2014) show a high rise of far-right parties across Europe. One of the strongest principles associated with such parties is their strong focus on anti-immigration policies.

The video contains a story of a civil servant who was in charge of social policy/benefits at the Inspectorate of Social Security of Luxembourg (IGSS) back in the 1954/55. Mr. Bernard shares his experience as an inspector for social benefits for frontier workers from Belgium and France.

The Video can be found here

*Acknowledgements go to Rene Bertrand and to Mr. Raymond Wagener (IGSS, Luxembourg)

** the registration was made by Irina Burlacu in Luxembourg, Luxembourg in April, (2010) and took place with the courtesy of Ioana Salagean, who assisted with translation from English to French and .

The story is a reminder that it is not the time to turn the clock back. In the 50’s, after the II-nd World War, there were hardly any common laws existing in the area of mobility and migration of European citizens. Moreover, no common EU regulation existed to protect European mobile workers and their families to manage social benefits of EU workers who worked in different Member States. Countries would sign separate bi-lateral Social Security Agreements, which were the only policy and legal instrument that administrations could rely on when deciding the amounts and conditions of benefits.

It took more than 50 years to establish a common legislative framework for all the Member States in the area of free movement for work and coordination of social security administrations that would insure individuals who worked in more EU countries to get their pension or unemployment benefits on time.

The negotiations of such agreements were not an easy task. Amis Bernard (2010) mentioned in his interview that in the 50s’, the translation services were not provided to civil servants, like in ourdays. A civil servant would have to learn the language of the country with which its government would sign the agreement first and then participate and lead into negotiations of the conditions of the agreements. Learning the language and the organization culture in order to understand the provisions in the agreement and then proceed to negotiations was very were time-consuming, complex to explain and administer, and generally existed only between countries with similar system provisions.

The “age of migration” (Castles, 2009), an increasing number of individuals contribute to one or more states where they do not necessarily reside or permanently live. Exploring new, creative approaches in how to better maximize the massive labour skills fluctuations and match them among the Member States could provide a more inclusive and sound answer for national economies than going backwards to protective. Few policy recommendations are offered here: Manifesto.

To tell now all migrants to go home would be like asking for a reversed rhythm of globalization.


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