Labour leader and social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher has written to the leaders of Europe’s social democratic parties urging them to support limits to labour migration within the EU.
Asscher says in the letter that the free movement of people, one of the core values of the single market, has become a ‘business model for low pay’. ‘This has to stop,’ Asscher is quoted as saying in the Volkskrant.
For many people Europe has become ‘a symbol of social injustice’ and this is one reason why more people are voting for right wing and populist parties, Asscher said.
In particular, moves must be made to stop the way labour is outsourced via other EU countries. This has become for many synonymous with unfair competition on the jobs market, he says.
A European Commission proposal to tackle the rampant use of staffing agencies has been blocked by 10, mainly eastern European countries, the Volkskrant points out.
Low wage continent
Asscher says the commission should forced the measure through. ‘I am totally convinced this has to happen,’ he says. ‘It is an ideological choice. Europe must not become a low wage continent, otherwise support for the EU will be eroded.’
Asscher also says that the new trade deal which will be worked out between the EU and Britain after Brexit has been triggered should include commitments to tackling tax evasion and preventing a race to the bottom in terms of corporate taxes.
The PvdA is currently trailing in the opinion polls and is on target to pick up around 10 seats in the March general election.