Europe and the challenge of immigration Cover Image

Europe and the challenge of immigration

Author(s): Anna Gąsior-Niemiec
Subject(s): Politics / Political Sciences, Social Sciences, Political Theory, Sociology, Politics and society, Migration Studies
Published by: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Rzeszowskiego
Keywords: Europe; migration; European Union

Summary/Abstract: All of the European countries have been affected by a demographic crisis: European societies are “graying” while not enough children are born. The European labour markets, pension systems, sectors of health care and social services are strained. Most of the European countries have already experienced increased migratory flows – either as in- or as out-migration. Most of in-migration comes to Europe from sub-Saharan Africa and Middle East. The annual ratio of migration to Europe is already higher than the one registered for the United States. Europe is irrevocably turning into a continent of migrants. So far, different European states and societies have reacted differently to the experience of the demographic crisis and migration. Some of the reactions involved stricter policing and social violence. The extreme right has earned some political capital playing the card of anti-immigrant protest. It is clear that institutional and social problems related to the demographic and migratory phenomena are likely to be aggravated in the future if no common European policies are designed and adopted. Taking into account the fact that internal borders between EU member-states are progressively lifted, the demographicmigration issues are bound to spill over from one European country to another. The currently existing differentiation in the sphere of citizenship, welfare and labour market will reinforce the spill-over trends. On the other hand, in a foreseeable future Europe will need more and more migrants to make up for the demographic implosion it faces. Therefore, a common migration policy is necessary from this point of view as well. Moreover, the migration policy must be complemented with a new policy of migrant integration since migrants that Europe needs should rather be perceived as its permanent citizens rather than temporary guest-workers. The construction of such common policies is difficult. To be effective, they need to be based upon both a broad political consensus among elites and on a broad social contract undersigned by the European public opinion and migrants as well.

  • Issue Year: 2007
  • Issue No: 04
  • Page Range: 65-75
  • Page Count: 11
  • Language: Polish