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减肥可以这样称体重 | 8k8 casino app download | Updated: 2024-06-22 14:15:44

Migrants are rescued by a nongovernmental organization ship in the Mediterranean Sea on Jan 3. ANTONIO SEMPERE / NEWSCOM

Political commentators have observed that despite other pressing concerns, far-right parties have been using the migration issue to sway voters in the European election.

The 2024 European Parliament election, which started on Thursday, is the first since the United Kingdom left the bloc in 2020 and the 10th since direct elections began in 1979.

Nationalist and populist right-wing parties are gearing up for the election, with polls indicating they are headed for potential gains.

The parties could secure as many as 200 seats in the chamber that comprises 720 members of the European Parliament, or MEPs. By forming alliances, the parties are hoping to significantly strengthen their presence in Strasbourg.

Several nationalist and populist right-wing parties are currently part of various political factions, including the European Conservatives and Reformists, or ECR, and Identity and Democracy, or ID, with some remaining unaffiliated, including Hungary's Fidesz and Germany's Alternative for Germany, or AfD.

Martin Halla, an economics professor at the Vienna University of Economics and Business, said the migration issue has now "become central in EU elections due to the lack of a viable solution".

"The unequal burden-sharing among EU states, with countries like Italy and Greece receiving a large number of migrants while others don't contribute equally, underscores the absence of a feasible resolution," Halla explained.

"Far-right parties exploiting the migration issue isn't new, it's been ongoing for decades, gaining momentum during the migrant crisis, especially with the influx of refugees from Syria and Afghanistan. This trend extended to Eastern Europe, where anti-immigration sentiments became widespread within the European community."

Marie-Laure Basilien-Gainche, an associate researcher at the Institut Convergences Migrations, said migration is not the primary concern of European public opinion.

Top priorities

"Unemployment, declining living standards, socioeconomic issues are top priorities for Europeans," Basilien-Gainche said.

"Even, the European Union and its member states face a scarcity of migrants to fill job vacancies. Yet, the perception of migration as a threat has been widespread since the 1990s, often used by governments and politicians to assert, to scapegoat migrants, instead of addressing socioeconomic issues."

The new Pact on Migration and Asylum, which was endorsed by the European Parliament in March, aims to establish unified guidelines for the handling of asylum-seekers and was agreed after years of deadlock among member states.

In the European Parliament's upcoming term, the bloc's main focus will be on effectively implementing this reform, especially given the surge in asylum applications to a seven-year high of 1.14 million last year.

Basilien-Gainche said the pact introduces stringent migration and asylum rules aimed at revamping the European asylum system. However, she said it also blurs the distinction between asylum and migration, subordinating people's fundamental right to asylum to a part of the migration management and border control system.

This approach relies on external border measures and partnerships with third countries to deter migrants, she said, but it overlooks "guaranteeing fundamental rights and addressing the root causes of migration".

In countries including Greece and Italy, there is a significant presence of asylum-seekers and undocumented migrants. Instead of regularizing them and utilizing their skills, the countries have opted to welcome them through the issue of work visas.

Halla emphasized the importance of assessing the skills of existing migrants, as many lack basic skills, making it challenging for them to find suitable employment. Cultural differences also influence labor market integration, he said. For example, Austria experiences less tension with Christian migrants from the Balkans than it does with those from largely Muslim Turkiye, with cultural differences likely affecting integration.

Nonprofits and other advocates worry that anti-immigration rhetoric will harm the integration of migrants in Europe. Basilien-Gainche warned that portraying them as threats or delinquents will only hamper migrants' ability to integrate, underscoring the need for reciprocal integration efforts from both migrants and the state.

The writer is a freelance journalist for China Daily.

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