Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Europe's Migrant Workers And Their Robin Hood: Donald Tusk

Migrant workers play a central role in Donald Tusk's election campaign:
"Minister Donald Tusk’s sudden visit to Lithuania on 4 September in order to express his support for the Polish national minority which had staged a protest rally on 2 September to protest against implementation of the new Law on Education. The visit is a rather rude gesture and it is mostly to do with forthcoming parliamentary elections in Poland, commentators think."
Free movement and migrant worker rights are at the heart of the European project, but still  they don't seem to get any respect . Who hasn't read the stories of abused and underpaid migrants. Supposed lack of integration gave room for populist politicians like Maxime Verhagen to claim "fear of foreigners is understandable". But this narrative might be on the verge of collapse.

Oh yes, there never was a shortage of initiative on behalf of migrants. Let me give you some examples. Radio 1812 and it's campaign to promote the protection of the rights of migrants worldwide, PICUM and it's lobbying on behalf of undocumented migrants in the EU, buitenlandsepartner and it's open source judicial knowledge network for Dutch citizens with foreign spouses, The European Diversity & Inclusion Congress in february 2012 in Vienna, the expat guide holland, in some way or another all these initiatives are related to free movement and migrant worker rights.

And yet real change and momentum could come from eastern European migrant workers and their "robin hood" Donald Tusk. Migrant workers from the new EU memberstates are emerging as a political force within the EU to reckon with. These Rodney Dangerfields are rewriting the script and claiming their place in public space as the ideal European citizens: Civis europaeus sum!"

Donald Tusk said beginning of July:
"Defending the fundamental rights of Europeans, suchs as free movement across borders is our paramount duty."
The Polish people know all too well how important free movement in Europe is to it's population now, but also how important it has been in the past! For example, Jan Vincent-Rostowski, Polish minister of finance, was born into a Polish exile family in London, England. During the Second World War his father, Roman Rostowski, served as personal Secretary to Tomasz Arciszewski, Prime Minister of the Polish government-in-exile and did not return to Poland after the war.

Poland is in the middle of a parliamentary election and migrant workers abroad and their families at home play a very important role in these elections. Interesting to read about a recent offshoot of Donald Tusk's civic platform, Palikot. Palikot is considered a liberal defector from the more christian-democrat Civic Platform. Palikot could become an important player after the elections, while it allready polls ahead of current coalition party, the  Polish Peasant’s Party, and Palikot could annihilate the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) which runs in the same [socially liberal] niche,” Prof. Edmund Wnuk-Lipiński, a sociologist and rector at Collegium Civitas in Warsaw told Polish Radio.

News is that Polish campaign video's are the bomb. Last week at the 21st Economic Forum in Krynica Zdrój Donald Tusk took another stab at the new Xenophobe eurosceptics in the Netherlands:
 "Let the determination and courage of Prime Minister Filat and the determination of the entire country of Moldova be an important sign for all those sceptics and grumblers who use the fact that they are living, operating and functioning within the European Community to question the very essence and foundations of the Union.


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