Chapter 15: The impact of international migration on welfare and the welfare state in an integrated Europe
Herbert Brücker1 1. INTRODUCTION2 In most European host countries residents perceive international migration as a burden for their welfare and the welfare state. According to the Eurobarometer survey – an opinion poll conducted twice a year in all member countries of the European Union (EU) – the attitude of the majority of natives in the host countries towards immigration can be summarized as follows: immigrants cause unemployment; immigrants abuse the welfare state; the presence of foreign nationals has reached or even exceeded its saturation point. European migration policies of the last few decades have reﬂected the anxious attitudes of natives in host countries towards migration. Although the barriers to migration have been removed between the members of the EU and the European Economic Area (EEA) to an extent which is unique among regional trade areas, immigration policies vis-à-vis non-EU and non-EEA countries have become more and more restrictive following the ﬁrst oil-price shock in 1973. Three major trends challenge this restrictive approach to international migration: ﬁrstly, with the demise of socialism in Central and Eastern Europe, the barriers to emigration have been removed in an area containing some 400 million people. These countries possess a well-educated workforce relative to the traditional source countries of European migration in South-Eastern Europe (Turkey, former Yugoslavia) and Northern Africa. Given that per capita income levels are very low in this region, the potential to increase the productivity of human resources through international migration in Europe is large. Secondly, high and increasing unemployment and...
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