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Nov 272012

an Interview with Cecilia Malmström, European Commissioner for Home Affairs
by Saouli Quddus (M4Us/Média Animation) and Sükran Bulut (M4Us/Kif Kif)

What would you say to the following statement: ‘Foreigners are taking our jobs’?

This notion is often quoted but has no truth in it. As soon as there’s a shortage of jobs, foreigners are the first to suffer. There are many immigrants from third world countries who are unemployed or overqualified for the jobs they have, such as bus and taxi drivers. We need to identify their skills and find them work in the sector they are qualified in. It’s important to give foreigners the chance to fully partake in community life.

What factors hold people from third world countries back from participating in community life?

In order to be an active citizen, it’s necessary to have certain rights – the right to vote, the right to work. On the other hand, language also represents a barrier. It’s impossible to integrate into a society without speaking the language.

Can Europe use the existing diverse population to improve communication with other countries, maybe even to prevent war?

I think it is important to use the diversity that is present in our society to create economic relationships with other countries. For example, it could be beneficial when companies are expanding into new markets to give them an understanding of the culture of the new country. In a way, immigrants are sort of ambassadors for their country, both in their home country and abroad. They play a key role in enabling intercultural dialogue.

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