Dutch Labour leader calls for EU migrant worker limits

According to PvdA leader Lodewijk Asscher, the free movement of workers in the European Union - one of the EU's core values - has become a "business model for lwo wages". He calls on his European colleagues to put a stop to his by limiting labor migration in the EU, the Volkskrant reports.

In a letter sent to all the social democratic leaders in the EU on Tuesday, Asscher writes that Europe "has become a symbol of social injustice for too many people". According to him, he himself, the PvdA and its sister parties in the EU are partly to blame for the fact that more and more EU citizens are voting for right-wing populist parties. Asscher believes that the pursuit of a more social and respectable Europe should be important election topics. 

Asscher wants migrant workers to be paid according to the standards of the country in which they are working. European Commissioner Marianne Thyssen of Social Affair already submitted such a proposal almost a year ago. But so far it has been blocked by 10 countries. These mostly Eastern European countries do not want the proposal to make finding work in other EU countries more difficult for their cheap workers. 

The Dutch Labour leader wants to push the proposal through. "I am deeply convinced that this should happen. It is an ideological choice: Europe must not become a low wages continent. Otherwise the support erodes from beneath the EU", he wrote. Asscher sees two ways of doing this. "Preferably by convincing Eastern European countries that they too do not benefit from exploiting their people", Asscher wrote in his letter, according to the newspaper. But if that fails, the 10 countries can be outvoted. 

In the letter Asscher also proposes a new trade agreement between the EU and Britain, once they've left the EU. He suggests that firm agreements are made on tackling tax avoidance by companies. He also wants to make sure that Britain does not drastically lower its corporate income tax in an effort to lure companies away from the EU. "Again, we have to avoid a race to the bottom."

Asscher thinks the best way to do so is to have the 27 remaining EU countries agree on imposing a minimum rate of corporate income tax and impose it on Britain. According to the Volkskrant, this proposal seems a bit out of reach as it requires unanimity and many Member States are vehemently opposed to giving their fiscal sovereignty to the EU.