Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Integration of migrants

Delivered in Plenary - 14th March 2013

Mr President

The workforce is an essential component of any country: it is the workforce that upholds national economies and supports our national populations. As our working-age population declines across the Member States, we should all share concerns over the negative effect this trend will have within our countries.

Country-specific, needs-based, controlled and managed immigration of skilled workers into the national workforces is therefore one solution to this demographic trend. However, an EU-wide approach in this respect is not the answer. The Member States’ needs vary greatly with regard to the skills required and the industries requiring them, so a one-size-fits-all approach is not appropriate in terms of setting our employment policy, nor should this be done solely at supranational level.

Furthermore, to extend the competence of the EU in making social security agreements with third countries would be an unnecessary and unacceptable erosion of national sovereignty in a very delicate political area and one that we have to address politically on the doorstep. So as far as I am concerned, the integration of migrants is very, very important but it should be tackled at Member State level, not by the European Union.