Goldman Sachs' non-exec chairman attacks immigration restrictions

24 Jan 2014 | Posted by Carl Thomas

The non-executive chairman of Goldman Sachs International, Peter Sutherland, has criticised the handling of immigration matters in a number of countries throughout Europe.

Sutherland held a position on a panel discussion at the Davos 2014 World Economic Forum, entitled 'Immigration, welcome or not?' Speaking on the matter, he remarked upon the growing presence of European parties that he would consider to be “advocating xenophobic responses rather than positive responses to migration”.

He urged members present to take the debate directly to people who advocate these issues, citing Britain's UKIP as a problem, alongside the rise of right wing Le Pen in France and a number of Austrian parties that do not look favourably upon migration.

Sutherland added: “Right across Europe there is a negative view bout migration which not merely contradicts some of the values which many of us associate particularly with the European Union, but more generally with civilised society.”

UK prime minister David Cameron also came under criticism at the Davos event over his recent remarks over EU migration policies and how they fit in with Britain's plans for future.

Cameron said in a speech that he made “absolutely no apology” for his changes to the British benefits system, added: “The right to move in Europe and apply for jobs in other European countries is an important freedom in the European Union … [but] it is right to move to go and work and not a right to go and claim benefits.”

But his tough approach to immigration was met by comments from audience member Swedish MEP Anna Maria Corazza Bildt who called on Britain to be more co-operative with the European Parliament, particularly with regards to restrictions on UK immigration. The Guardian reported that her comments were met with applause at the event.