Sunday, November 19, 2017 | ePaper

Diplomatic failure to cause problems for migrants in EU

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THE European Union (EU) has said it will continue to press Bangladesh to conclude the negotiations on the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) on the return of irregular migrants from the EU by the end of July. A 'lack of progress' on these negotiations meant that no agreement could be reached on a timeframe for concluding the negotiations on the SOPs.

The European Union has expressed its regret at the 'lack of progress' on these negotiations, as per a report of this daily. The European Union and Bangladesh had an in-depth discussion on migration during the Eighth Joint Commission held on Wednesday in Brussels. The Bangladeshi delegation provided at the meeting their amendments to the draft Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) on the return of irregular migrants from the European Union, which were submitted to them in June 2016.

As regards trade and investment, Bangladesh and the European Union reiterated their joint commitment to the Sustainability Compact, including the respect of labour rights, in particular with regard to freedom of association.

The outcome document of the meeting mentioned that Bangladesh has made efforts to effectively implement the ILO's recent recommendations in this respect. However, the EU strongly underlined the high importance of further addressing the ILO's recent recommendations swiftly through concrete actions and timelines. The EU also emphasised the need for making progress under the EU-Bangladesh Business Climate Dialogue, which aims to improve conditions for European Union businesses.

Bangladeshi illegal migrants are economic migrants to Europe -they don't fall into the political category as Syrians and other who are fleeing war do. As such they are among the most well behaved migrants in Europe. Most Bangladeshis migrated to the UK, with which it had historical and colonial ties - in fact, over 80 percent of the total number of Bangladeshi migrants in the EU are in the UK. That leaves about roughly 100,000 migrants spread out among the EU - a statistically insignificant number when we consider that the total number of Bangladeshi migrants worldwide number 7.2 million, according to the UN.

Why then, does the EU worry about such a statistically insignificant number? The main reason is due to the fact that the tremendous influx of Syrian refugees over the past two years has created sharp fault lines in Europe. Every EU nation wants some other nation to share the burden - eg Greece wants Germany and France to take in their fair share of migrants while Germany and France, on the other hand, want Greece to do more to tighten its leaky borders and stop the inflows of migrants. It has resulted in a situation where every one wants someone else to take up the burden - but it is a burden which no one wants. Hence the push by the EU to repatriate such illegal migrants.

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