European Summit: A human dimension for Brexit, migration, internal security and external relations

The European Council which took place on the October 17-18 in Brussels focussed on Brexit, migration, internal security and external relations. According to CESI President Romain Wolff and Secretary General Klaus Heeger, all discussions need to feature a real human dimension focussing on the impacts of policies and political decisions on citizens and concerned workers.

With regards to the Brexit negotiations, the President of the European Council Donald Tusk declared that no date for the Brexit transition period had been agreed upon, but that the proposal for a two-year phasing out period is considered ‘unanimously’.

For CESI, this leads to major open questions in terms of the timing of applicable workers’ rights for both UK residents in the EU and non-British EU citizens working in the UK. CESI President Romain Wolff stated that “Brexit will impact people and workers first and foremost. CESI stands firmly behind its trade union members working in UK in order to assist in the best way possible in this transition.”

In terms of migration, the European Council’s conclusions reveal a more security-based “comprehensive” approach, according to which efforts for better border control and migration management should be stepped up. In the area of internal security, the need to improve the capacity to respond to cyber threats was highlighted.

CESI Secretary General Klaus Heeger expressed concerns whether the workers in the security sector will be sufficiently trained and staffed in order to deal with the new challenges: “As expressed on various occasions in our trade council meetings, we support the European Agenda on Security as long as tackling security threats is done with respect to the fundamental rights and rule of law. This should apply to the procedures involved but also to the status of the police and services involved.”

In its March 2018 resolution, the CESI’s Trade Council Security & Justice had already expressed the strong conviction that the delivery of the European Area of Freedom, Security and Justice is possible only by investing in human capital, i.e. in the workers.

The full conclusions of the European Council meeting of October 17-18 are available here.

Picture: European Council building © Consilium 2018