Letter: A common immigration policy for Europe

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The Independent Online
Sir: I strongly support the welcome given in your leading article (28 January) to the proposals by Commissioner Padraig Flynn for a common European immigration policy. The nine million third-country nationals, legally and permanently resident in the European Union, most of whom are making a major contribution to our common prosperity, suffer grave disadvantages. These include barriers to their freedom of movement within the Union, open to the rest of us, and the impossibility of acquiring the national citizenship of some of their host countries.

With the establishment of European citizenship under the Maastricht treaty, some of these injustices might well be overcome. If legally and permanently resident immigrants, after a minimum qualifying period, could acquire European citizenship without necessarily becoming a national of a membe country in which they reside, their status would become the same as that of Union citizens not residing in the country of their nationality. Those willing to accept the obligations of citizenship of the European Union would cease being relegated to second-class status in their country of residence, and enjoy all the other benefits to which, as full citizens, they would then be entitled.

Yours faithfully,

ERNEST WISTRICH

London, NW3

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