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29.10.2012   MEP Zdanoka's speech :" Swiss quotas on the number of residence permits granted to nationals of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary" (debate Thursday, 24 May 2012 )

Swiss quotas on the number of residence permits granted to nationals of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary (debate)

Tatjana Ždanoka, author . − Mr President, this is the second time during this Strasbourg session that we have asked why EU Member States are facing unequal treatment by third countries.

The first question, related to visa requirements, was addressed to Canada. The second, related to access to economic activity, we are putting today to our European neighbour, Switzerland, which has decided to re-establish quantitative limitations on the long-term residence permits granted to nationals of the eight EU Member States which joined the EU in 2004, including my own country, Latvia.

Our group deplores this decision taken by the Swiss authorities and demands solidarity with the Member States concerned. Are these two precedents of unequal treatment of nationals of different EU Member States an example of opportunism, or maybe a sign of a new trend? Maybe there is an underlying reason for such phenomena.

Therefore our question is addressed not only to the Swiss authorities, but first of all to ourselves. Are the EU’s own institutions and political leaders behaving in such a way that others cannot imagine introducing selective discriminatory treatment with respect to EU citizens? Maybe we ourselves are demonstrating a tendency for less solidarity and more national egoism.

In my opinion, the European Parliament must restart discussions on the enforcement of a common European citizenship. The status of the EU citizen must be more than simply a derivative of Member States’ citizenship. Such a status may be a safeguard against the different treatment of possessors of European citizenship by third countries.

We know that 2013 will be the year of EU citizens – or EU citizenship – and there is a danger that the whole issue will be confined to particular problems. In my opinion, this will be the proper time to start promoting this kind of status of EU citizenship, which will grant equal treatment of EU citizens by Switzerland, Canada and any other country.



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