Integrating migrants and refugees into the labour market
Today, the Commission, trade unions, chambers of commerce and employers’ organisations are renewing their cooperation to enhance the integration of migrants and refugees into the labour market. In a joint statement released today, they highlight areas for future focus, and express interest in cooperating further in the area of labour migration under the European Partnership on Integration launched in 2017. The signatories reaffirm the importance of a multi-stakeholder approach for early integration into the labour market benefitting both refugees and the economy and society at large.
Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit, said: “The European Pillar of Social Rights makes no distinction where people come from. Regardless of gender, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation, everyone has the right to equal treatment and opportunities regarding employment. Helping refugees integrate into the labour market by upskilling and by accessing quality jobs is paramount for their dignity, and it is paramount for Europe’s social cohesion.”
Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, said: “Better using the skills and potential of refugees and migrants makes our labour markets more inclusive and contribute to the prosperity and cohesion of European society. The past months have shown that migrant workers and entrepreneurs have skills and talents that contribute to the recovery of Europe’s economy. Today, we are renewing our commitment to support employers’ organisations, trade unions and chambers of commerce in their engagement with refugees and we are open to expanding our cooperation further, for instance on labour migration.”
Since the launch of the European Partnership on Integration 3 years ago, the Commission has financed projects implemented by social and economic partners’ organisations to promote the integration of refugees into the labour market. Examples include the Labour-INT project, supporting the integration of refugees from arrival up to the workplace, through skills assessment, training and job placement in Italy, Germany and Belgium; or the European Refugees Integration Action Scheme operating in Bulgaria, Greece, Italy and Spain. Social and economic partners have also put in place initiatives in 20 Member States, such as the fachkraeftepotenzial platform launched by the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber and providing information to companies wishing to hire refugees.
Building on these achievements, the signatories agreed to focus future efforts on 3 areas: linking up stakeholders across economy and society for labour market integration; supporting entrepreneurship; and facilitating the identification, assessment and validation of skills.
In parallel, the Commission and the social and economic partners will aim to explore how to extend their dialogue and future cooperation to the area of labour migration in line with the objectives of the new European Skills Agenda and the upcoming New Pact on Migration and Asylum. This could focus on how to improve labour migration channels to meet Europe’s changing needs.
Through the European Partnership on Integration signed on 20 December 2017, the Commission and social and economic partners have been joining forces to promote the integration of refugees into the labour market. The objectives of the Partnership are to enhance the early integration of refugees into the labour market, ensure that integration benefits refugees as well as the economy and society at large, and promote a multi-stakeholder approach (involving public authorities, employment services, social and economic partners, business organisations, chambers of commerce and industry, skilled crafts chambers, companies and workers, public services’ employers, education and training providers and civil society organisations).
Confrontation between US and Chinese ships in South China Sea
A US Navy destroyer sailed near the disputed Paracel Islands in the South China Sea and sparked yet another confrontation between the US and China for the second day in a row, informs London’s ‘The Independent’.
The first confrontation occurred when the USS Milius guided-missile destroyer sailed near the group of islands.
Next day the ship was spotted again in the vicinity of the islands, as part of a “freedom of navigation operation” challenging requirements from China, Taiwan, and Vietnam, that require advance notification or permission before a military vessel can pass through.
China said that the US’s actions violate its sovereignty and security and said its navy and air force had forced the American vessel away, something the US military has denied. Beijing also warned the US of “serious consequences”.
The latest incident comes as tensions between the US and China have plumetted to new lows.
“The United States challenges excessive maritime claims around the world regardless of the identity of the claimant,” said US 7th Fleet spokesman Luka Bakic.
China’s Ministry of National Defense responded by accusing the US of “undermining the peace and stability of the South China Sea”.
“The act of the US military seriously violated China’s sovereignty and security, severely breached international laws, and is more ironclad evidence of the US pursuing navigation hegemony and militarizing the South China Sea,” ministry spokesman Tan Kefei said.
He said China will take “all necessary measures” to ensure security, but did not elaborate further.
In recent years, China has become increasingly assertive in the region, prompting the US to push back.
The South China Sea is an important waterway for global trade, with around $5 trillion in trade passing through each year. Additionally, the area holds valuable fish stocks and undersea mineral resources.
Seymour Hersh: The cover-up
This is a new comment of American journalist Seymour Hersh: “It’s been six weeks since I published a report, based on anonymous sourcing, naming President Joe Biden as the official who ordered the mysterious destruction last September of Nord Stream 2, a new $11-billion pipeline that was scheduled to double the volume of natural gas delivered from Russia to Germany.
The story gained traction in Germany and Western Europe, but was subject to a near media blackout in the US.
Two weeks ago, after a visit by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to Washington, US and German intelligence agencies attempted to add to the blackout by feeding the New York Times and the German weekly Die Zeit false cover stories to counter the report that Biden and US operatives were responsible for the pipelines’ destruction.
Press aides for the White House and Central Intelligence Agency have consistently denied that America was responsible for exploding the pipelines, and those pro forma denials were more than enough for the White House press corps.
There is no evidence that any reporter assigned there has yet to ask the White House press secretary whether Biden had done what any serious leader would do: formally “task” the American intelligence community to conduct a deep investigation, with all of its assets, and find out just who had done the deed in the Baltic Sea.
According to a source within the intelligence community, the president has not done so, nor will he. Why not? Because he knows the answer.
In early March, President Biden hosted German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Washington. The trip included only two public events — a brief pro forma exchange of compliments between Biden and Scholz before the White House press corps, with no questions allowed; and a CNN interview with Scholz by Fareed Zakaria, who did not touch on the pipeline allegations.
The chancellor had flown to Washington with no members of the German press on board, no formal dinner scheduled, and the two world leaders were not slated to conduct a press conference, as routinely happens at such high-profile meetings. Instead, it was later reported that Biden and Scholz had an 80-minute meeting, with no aides present for much of the time.
There have been no statements or written understandings made public since then by either government, but I was told by someone with access to diplomatic intelligence that there was a discussion of the pipeline exposé and, as a result, certain elements in the Central Intelligence Agency were asked to prepare a cover story in collaboration with German intelligence that would provide the American and German press with an alternative version for the destruction of Nord Stream 2.
In the words of the intelligence community, the agency was “to pulse the system” in an effort to discount the claim that Biden had ordered the pipelines’ destruction…” stresses Seymour Hersh.
ABC news: Xi signals strength in Russia-China alliance
Chinese President Xi Jinping departed Moscow on Wednesday after two days of highly symbolic meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin, in which the two presented a united front and an alternative vision for global leadership, notes ABCnews.
Despite statements saying that “China-Russia relations are not the kind of military-political alliance during the Cold War,” China and Russia made clear they wanted to “advance the trend toward a multi-polar world.”
“This highly publicized summit may reflect a shift towards a new and more active role for China, as it seizes the opportunity to convey diplomatic – and possibly tangible – support for Russia and any other state that wishes to defy the West,” – Michael Butler, associate professor of political science at Clark University, told ABC News.
Joint animosity towards the U.S.-led world order has kept Russia and China close despite Putin’s war in Ukraine and western sanctions against Russia has made China their biggest customer and economic lifeline.
Beijing increasingly sees Russia as necessary ally as China and United States continue to fallout over numerous fronts not limited to Taiwan and access to semiconductors. It was further exasperated by the spy balloon episode earlier this year.
Beijing had initially hoped that the spiraling tensions with the U.S. would abate in the wake of Xi’s meeting with President Joe Biden in Bali last November, but as they continued to crater, Xi seems to have re-prioritized Russian relationship. He even aimed a rare direct slight at the United States earlier this month, blaming the Americans for “containment and suppression” as the reasons for China’s economic challenges.
Xi highlighted on numerous occasions over the two days of meetings that Russia and China are each other’s largest neighbors and that their partnership is “consistent with historical logic and a strategic choice of China.”
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