European Union and Mediterranean: work, legality, migration and integration

From May 25 to 27, 2018, a seminar was held in Pantelleria, Italy, on "European Union and Mediterranean: work, legality, migration and integration", organized by EFAL together with MCL and EZA and funded by the EU. The seminar was attended by 63 delegates from six European countries: Italy, Austria, Malta, Croatia, Spain and Portugal.

Pantelleria belongs to one of the Sicilian islands of the municipality of Trapani and is located in the Mediterranean between Sicily and the coast of Tunisia. Since the beginning of boat crossings in the Mediterranean, the island has been and still is the focal point for boat landings from North Africa. For this reason, she was elected to the seminar location.

The seminar focused on the debate on a coherent Mediterranean scenario in which work returns to the centre of support and integration of those arriving.

The importance of the Mediterranean region within the EU for this process was emphasized at the beginning of the seminar by the President of MCL, Carlo Costalli.

Giovanni La Vita, MEP, stressed the importance of creating a single European migration and common foreign policy, emphasizing that more resources were needed than would be available today.

In this context, Prof. Andrea Ruggeri of the University of Oxford called for the development of far-sighted policy designs, which should not only focus on immediate measures.

Monsignor Domenico Mogavero, Bishop of Mazara del Vallo, pointed to the geographical situation of Sicily, which "on the one hand represents the extreme periphery of Europe, but on the other serves primarily as a bridge between Africa and Europe".

On the migration situation in Malta - in a similar geographical island situation as Sicily - said Jason Azzopardi, former Minister and Member of Malta.

All speakers at the seminar emphasized the importance of work for the promotion and integration of incoming migrants and expressed grave concern about continued labour exploitation and exploitation.

In the Mediterranean, demographic change is changing. This is due to two factors: a meagre rate of reproduction in the South and a migration that takes place both abroad and in other regions. Today, therefore, the arrival of migrants may be a resource in some areas.

Workers' organizations need to pay attention to serious work and social integration of migrants. The instrument that can guarantee the person's dignity and employment remains the social dialogue at European level. The development of some European policies such as social inclusion, anti-discrimination, immigration and integration as instruments to strengthen social cohesion and promote an inclusive Europe are active components of the social dialogue.

The seminar was concluded with a panel discussion in which the participating countries had the opportunity to present and discuss different reception systems and well-functioning integration practices.

As Piergiorgio Sciacqua, Co-President of EZA, pointed out at the end of the seminar, workers' organizations should play their role in social dialogue as guardians of the dignity of work and social inclusion.