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EU single permit package would create a “Caste system” for workers


08 Feb 2011

 8 February 2011, Brussels

There is rising concern among the Party of European Socialists about the ‘Single Permit’ package that is due to be voted on in the European Parliament next week. The proposal is due to create a single residence and work permit for workers coming from outside the European Union (‘third-country nationals’). However, due to Conservative and Liberal pressure, the package has been separated from employment policy issues, including proposals regarding seasonal workers and intra- corporate transferees.

Speaking today at the PES Social Network Meeting, the chair of the Network, Alejandro Cercas MEP, stated that this separation would create a ‘caste system for workers in the European Union’. The Spanish Member of the European Parliament pledge the support of the PES to the principle of equal treatment for ALL workers. He elaborated that; “the current package would create a two-tier system that would allow for massive disparities in the way workers were categorised. It would create downward social pressure, and unfair competition. This is a right-wing proposal designed to reduce labour standards, to pitch worker against worker and to encourage cheap labour rather than quality jobs".

PES President Poul Nyrup Rasmussen criticised the secretive manner in which the proposal was being processed. “It is clear that Conservative tactics aim to get this package through ‘on the sly’, with negligible public debate. The PES and Socialists and Democrats (S&D) in the European Parliament, will make every effort to resist this package, despite the Conservative and Liberal support”.

A clear example of this secretive manner, was the resistance to allowing MEPs from the Employment and Social Affairs committee to contribute to the debate, despite legal advice from the European Parliament itself.




For further information please contact Brian Synnott on +32 474 98 96 75 (

The PES brings together 33 socialist, social democratic, labour and progressive parties in the European Union and Norway, a parliamentary group in the European Parliament (184 MEPs) and in the Committee of the Regions (247 members) - plus observer and associate parties and organizations from all over Europe. ECOSY and PES Women are respectively the Youth and the Women's organizations of the PES.


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