[Online] Confronting the EU’s ‘Great Migration Muddle’
02 February at 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Policymakers and analysts are increasingly aware that today’s labour shortages are only the precursors of more far-reaching consequences of Europe’s ageing in the years ahead. Retirement waves will by mid-century see 33 million EU workers becoming pensioners rather than taxpayers. This looming economic shock has, however, so far failed to generate a more welcoming approach to immigration.
For two decades, the European Commission has tried with only limited success to fashion more flexible EU-wide migration policies. Its forthcoming ‘New Pact on Migration and Asylum Policies’ is expected to propose a more positive and coherent approach to immigration, although Member States’ acceptance remains uncertain. But without consensus, the EU’s ‘Great Migration Muddle’ of divergent national measures on refugee asylum, legal migration and barriers to irregular migrants will continue to threaten Europeans’ future wellbeing.
Admitting more people into the EU from beyond Europe is of course only one of several desirable policy responses to ageing, albeit an important one. Will Europe’s political leaders eventually face up to harsh demographic reality and stop pandering for electoral reasons to uninformed public prejudices? Friends of Europe’s Founder, Giles Merritt, sets out the case for a more enlightened and proactive approach to immigration in his new book “People Power: Why We Need More Migrants”.
- How great a threat is Europe’s ageing to economic growth, and would the admission of more economic migrants help to stem the projected shrinkage of the EU’s active workforce?
- Could a more flexible EU-wide approach to both refugees and economic migrants create a more positive political climate on immigration? Or must it be the other way round, with mainstream politicians defying populists’ anti-migrant rhetoric?
- What policy measures would ensure that future migrant influxes are absorbed into the societies of European host countries and integrated satisfactorily into their workforces?