The Members of European Parliament (MEPs) have lauded Qatar’s labour reforms terming them ‘real’ and a ‘model’ for regional countries.
They also advised those individuals or entities who criticise Qatar on workers welfare to visit the country to have first hand information. They noted that Qatar has made a lot of progress in labour reforms and the fact was also being testified by many independent, international organisations like the ILO.
The members of the European Parliament delegation yesterday addressed a press conference to share their findings on Qatar’s labour reforms and condition of workers.
Marc Tarabella, Member of the European Parliament who is also Co-Chair of Sport Intergroup, said that the progress on labour reforms in Qatar has happened in a short time and improved legislation like abolishing Kafala system. “Also there are high standards of safety in place for workers, and implementation of minimum wages.”
He said that H E the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior of Qatar in the meeting with the delegation had made it clear that the process of reforms would continue even after Qatar 2022. “We all feel that country is going in the right direction.”
To a question, he said that reforms are “real” which can be seen and checked. “I will invite the European institutions to come and see. The ILO Office is here. Authorities are also open and ready to organise visits therefore people should see these reforms themselves.”
Marc Tarabella said that the European Parliament delegation had important meetings with a number of high ranking officials as well as civil society representatives. “We had fruitful discussion with ILO Office in Doha. It is the only capital in the Gulf region that hosts ILO Office. We visited construction site of Lusail Stadium where we met with workers and their representatives.”
Tarabella, who is also Vice-Chair of the Delegation for Relations with the Arab Peninsula (DARP), said that the delegation visited Doha to asses and understand real situation of workers. “The process of reforms which we have witnessed is positive not only for Qatar but also as a model for the entire region.”
He said that it was really refreshing to see willingness of Qatari authorities to discuss different perspectives. He said that Qatar was continuously working to implement reforms.
The Member of European Parliament further said that Qatar is on the right track for comprehensive labour reforms and “we look forward to engaging with Qatari authorities further in future.”
Tarabella also said that implementation of reforms was very important as some entities in any country are always reluctant to accept change further saying that implementation of laws was efficient in Qatar.
To a question, Tarabella said that labour reforms was a long process. “The process has begun (in Qatar) for several years like when we consider abolition of Kafala system, it was a long process but now it is unique in this part of the world.”
He also praised other steps like workers’ accommodations and prohibition of labour in open spaces during summers. He said that Qatar had made a lot of progress in labour reforms and the fact was also being testified by many independent, international organisations like the ILO.
To another question he said that on return, the delegation would recommend the European Parliament, the Delegation for Relations with the Arab Peninsula (DARP), the Foreign Affairs Committee as well as well European sports federations to visit Qatar to see labour conditions and meet not only authorities but also independent organisations.
Another Member of the European Parliament, Jose Ramon Bauza Diaz, thanked Qatari government for openness and willingness to facilitate delegation’s job in Doha and answering every single question. “We look forward to continue advancing the positive cooperation between the European Parliament and Qatar.”
Tiziana Beghin, Member of the European Parliament who is also Member of Committee on International Trade, said that she found great dignity at workers’ accommodations.
Expressing happiness over infrastructure development in Qatar, she said that it was not only meant to host FIFA World Cup 2022 but it was also aligned with Qatar National Vision 2030. She praised labour reforms including abolition of Kafala system and introduction of minimum salary terming them as “important milestones” in reforms journey. She said that these reforms will lead to greater equity and respect for human rights.