Finance Minister Eugen Teodorovici has pointed out that when he thinks about Romania’s economic interest he sees fit to be aggressive too, but he is not talking about the curtailing of the fundamental rights and freedoms of the citizens. He made this statement after he stated on Saturday, at the end of the second day of the ECOFIN summit, that the European countries from which a lot of labour force is leaving toward the rest of the European Union should think about an aggressive package of measures that would lead to a solution to selective mobility which leads to brain drain.
“I am convinced that all those who saw fit to tackle this topic seriously during the ECOFIN summit had the same economic, social, and – last but not least – national arguments as I had. All those who took part in the debates on this topic understood the potential risks of this phenomenon of migration, and especially those of the “brain drain.” All those who took part in the debates understood its importance and gravity, considering that Romania is not the only one facing the migration of the labour force. I say what I said before too: I will never be the fan of curtailing the freedom of the right to work anywhere in Europe, of the freedom of movement or any other rights of the Romanian citizens,” Teodorovici wrote on his Facebook page.
He pointed out that the migration of the labour force is a topic that generates heated discussions and polemics because it leads to positive economic effects in countries receiving the labour force and to negative economic effects in countries losing the labour force.
“And, from this standpoint, all those who took part in debating this topic agreed that solutions must be found so that the countries supplying labour force would be able to counter the negative economic effect generated by the migration of the labour force, but without curtailing in any way any of the guaranteed rights of all European citizens. I emphasise, certainly not the right to work anywhere in Europe,” the Finance Minister added.
Teodorovici opines that the term “aggressive measures” was open to interpretation.
“But when I think about Romania’s economic interests, yes, I see fit to be aggressive too. As anyone else would be for their country. But it certainly isn’t about curtailing the fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens,” the Finance Minister emphasised.
“I am saddened by the fact that, proving limited professional competence, those who are incapable of understanding discussions in their context remain tributary to some contextual terms and do not see fit to quote and cover also other topics that were discussed and are linked to the topic of migration, such as the topic of Europe’s competitiveness in the face of growing competition from China and the United States. And here I have stressed the need for unity in approach at European level, for us – united Europe – to be able to handle, first of all economically, the competition coming from across the ocean or from Asia. I conclude by stating very clearly, in the hope that from now on there will never be any other attempts to take my statements out of context, that I’m not [sic] an avowed enemy of curtailing in any way the rights of Romanians or Europeans,” Teodorovici wrote.
FinMin’s clarifications came after he stated on Saturday, at the end of the second day of the ECOFIN (Economic and Financial Affairs Council) meeting hosted by Bucharest, that “those European countries losing a lot of their workforce to the advantage of the rest of the European Union countries should think of an aggressive package of measures to provide a solution against the selective mobility that causes the brain drain”.
“Maybe, during the Romanian presidency of the Council of the EU, I will invite the countries that send workers abroad to a discussion, to see what we can do. For we should think of an aggressive package of measures to bring a solution, since we cannot reach our goals in the current situation, for this is also precisely the reason for which we are discuss about the dropping competitiveness right now, about the different costs, which are aspects that are influenced by this intra-European mobility. So we need to encourage this mobility, but we also need to consider the type of measures that we need to take in this area, for otherwise we will all be affected,” said Eugen Teodorovici.
He also specified selective mobility within the EU was one of the main topics discussed at the meeting of European finance ministers.
“Free movement of labour has brought great economic benefits. Mobile workers contribute to the GDPs of both their home and host countries and, in most cases, they play a significant role in the earnings of those who were left behind at home. However, workers’ mobility can also have negative effects, for instance when it’s selective and leads to a brain drain stopping potential growth. In the near future, our priority should be to find a common European solution and to implement a tool to help us in solving this phenomenon,” said the Finance Minister.
Eugen Teodorovici pointed out that eastern European countries are left for the Western Europe not only by the highly qualified ones, but also by the middle and low-skilled people.
“In general, highly skilled workers in the European Union are very mobile, and when the level of educational achievements increases, innovation is also increasing.” East-West mobility is exceptional, but not always only the highly qualified workers emigrate. The low and middle-skilled workers too emigrate, which makes this phenomenon even more widespread,” Eugen Teodorovici said.