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Labour Mobility in the EU: The Inconvenient Truth – EU Commissioner to urge more fact-based discussion

László Andor, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion

Press release issued: 28 January 2014

The controversy over migration between EU countries will be at the heart of a lecture in Bristol next month by László Andor, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion.

László Andor hit the headlines back in November when he suggested that the debate on migration in the UK was detached from reality. In the meantime, a number of EU countries, including Germany, Sweden, Finland, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia have expressed their concerns about the UK's stance on free movement. Migration is also likely to be a campaign issue in the European Parliament elections in May.

In his lecture, held at the University of Bristol on 10 February, the Commissioner will address all aspects of the free movement of workers from an EU perspective. This includes the advantages and challenges of free movement, its true scale, trends, influences on migration flows, the impacts on destination and source countries, the effects on welfare budgets, the legal framework and EU measures to ensure better outcomes for all concerned.

The lecture comes as the European Union has published new guidelines aimed at clarifying when people can, and cannot,  claim social benefits in other EU member states, amid public debate in countries such as Britain and Germany over welfare payments to foreigners.

László Andor was invited to talk at Bristol University by Professor Jeffrey Henderson, Professor of International Development in the School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies.

Professor Henderson said: “How the British government now deals with migrants from elsewhere in Europe may prove to be the defining moment, not merely in Britain’s entire relationship with the EU, but in our country’s future as a liberal, tolerant and globalised society.

“With his appreciation of British society gained through education and employment here, and his experiences as European Commissioner responsible for EU labour markets, workers' rights and social inclusion, László Andor is eminently qualified to comment on the migration issue.

“His position as the EU Commissioner obliges him to speak out on the issue. Indeed, to remain silent would be an abrogation of his responsibilities to us and to the peoples of Europe in general.

“The University of Bristol has a long and distinguished track-record of research and teaching on migration and ethnic relations and we welcome this opportunity to host the Commissioner’s important lecture.”

Further information

University of Bristol researchers have been invited to take part in an evaluation of UK progress in the EU Roma Framework. Dr Andrew Ryder and Dr Sarah Cemlyn, from the Centre for the Study of Poverty and Social Justice, have written this briefing note to coincide with László Andor's visit to the University. Further information is available on the Policy Bristol website.