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European Green presidential candidate visits Bristol in support of migrants and their businesses

"Euro-skepticism stands to damage business" warns Ska Keller MEP

Green Party candidate for presidency of the European Commission, Ska Keller MEP, is due to visit Bristol on Monday, to offer Green Party support for migrants and emphasise the benefits freedom of movement brings to the European economy.

Counter to the UKIP-led anti-immigration rhetoric prevalent in much European election campaigning, Ska Keller MEP will meet with migrant business owners and refugee support networks to discuss how the EU can best support their rights and contribution to society.

"We need to make sound economic policy that focuses on people, rather than racism. There is no doubt that freedom of movement within the EU benefits economies. This nasty, stigmatising rhetoric, which seeks to blame people from Eastern Europe for low wages, for housing shortages, for crowded public facilities, is not only incorrect, but has serious consequences for business," said Ms Keller.

Ska Keller will further offer her support to South West European lead candidate, Molly Scott Cato, who is an economist vocal in her support of the benefits of the European single market.

“Contrary to what UKIP would have voters believe, migrant labour is not causing the low wages and lack of employment that face our country - government policy is. We need strong political representatives willing to stand up for a living wage, for an end to zero hours contracts, for green jobs and a revolution in our financial policy," said Molly Scott Cato.

"Electing more Green councillors and MEPs is the best way to ensure a fair society that values people and their rights, regardless of nationality."

Ska Keller is also an expert in migration issues and asylum rights. On this she said:

"Bristol's move to become a City of Sanctuary sends a positive message of welcome which I wholly support. We should give meaningful protection for people who seek asylum and open ways for legal immigration. Instead of fighting refugees, we should fight the reasons for which people have to flee, such as conflicts, poverty and climate change."

Dr. Molly Scott Cato, tipped to become the South West's first Green MEP, will welcome Ska Keller to the city on her visit. The visit will include meetings with business leaders and projects across the city which demonstrate the benefits that EU and non-EU migrants bring to trade in the city, as well as the challenges that they face.

Stops on the visit will include: Stapleton road shops and business owners, a meeting with representatives from City of Sanctuary and Bristol Refugee Rights, initiatives to regenerate local shopping areas by supporting trader development, and a meeting with the Chair of the European Green Capital 2015 at the Centre for Sustainable Energy.

Keller will also meet with local Green Party candidates aiming to join existing Green councillors in City Hall. These include Charlie Bolton (Southville), Martin Fodor (Redland) and Tim Malnick (Bishopston), three candidates seen as being amongst the favourites to be elected in May.

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