• 23-APR-2014

  • Europe

  • SOURCE: S&D Group at European Parliament

Euro MEPs Denounce False Myths about Free Movement and Migration

Far-right MEPs were strongly criticised for being more interested in media appearances than in the real work of Parliament and attending committees, as the European Socialists and Democrats last week in Strasbourg presented a new policy paper warning of the risks of the rise of extremism and populism in the EU.

The S&D paper describes how "the economic crisis, migration, globalisation and ultimately the idea of a united Europe are misused and misrepresented irresponsibly, with the sole purpose of gaining more popularity.

"While making vindictive speeches in plenary that then go viral, in order to show their electorate how active they are, these populist MEPs do not attend committee meetings and do no work in the proceedings of the European Parliament."

The report goes on to analyse how extremism is propagated: "The economic crisis in itself does not determine the rise of extremism, but the factors deriving from it play a crucial part, as European citizens have to face increasing poverty, unemployment and imposed austerity. These can impact on citizens' way of life and create a fear of losing their social-economic status quo. One of the main issues on which populist and extremist parties base their rhetoric throughout member states is thesupposed threat that migration and minorities represents to their national societies, migrants and minorities being used as scapegoats."

S&D vice-president Sylvie Guillaume, responsible for the S&D Working Group on Extremism, Populism, Nationalism and Xenophobia, said:

"Populist parties exploit and profit from people's problems. That is why they never come up with viable solutions to them.

"It is therefore our job to try to find solutions to them and pre-empt their populist propaganda, tackling the social crisis that has been caused by mistakes and austerity imposed by the right-wing.

"This requires a radical change in the EU. That is also the only way to finally introduce a European directive against all forms of discrimination – inside, but also outside the working environment – to get moving with Commission's EU rule of justice scoreboard and to make sure EU taxpayers' money is not used to fund the extremist activities of parties that do not respect democracy and citizens' fundamental rights."

Click below to read the S&D policy paper on the rise of right-wing extremism and populism in Europe.

Click below to find out more about free movement and the fight against social dumping.