Challenges and Solutions
Edited by Martin Kahanec and Klaus F. Zimmermann
Most countries in the European Union share the challenge of a stagnant or shrinking working-age population and an aging work population. While this creates economic incentives for labor immigration and the better inclusion of ethnic minorities in European labor markets, relatively high unemployment rates and an extensive welfare state in Europe engender public fears of labor market instability and competition for welfare. A consequence is the reserved perception of ethnic minorities by the majority populations, which through political processes leads to more stringent immigration regimes and discrimination and xenophobia against ethnic minorities in the labor market. Paradoxically, these undesirable phenomena perpetuate themselves by further exaggerating the unfavorable fate of ethnic minorities in the labor market and thereby propagating the negative perceptions. It is this worrying setting which makes a strong case for the involvement of leading experts in the scientific and policy debate aiming at overcoming the abovementioned challenges. This book, marking 2010 as the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion, is an effort to offer an unprecedented platform for such a debate. To this end it uniquely combines analysis based on hard data with expert evaluation of various policy options in a broadly accessible way. This book has three main objectives. First, it describes the labor market situation of ethnic minorities in the European Union as a whole and in countries where the issue is most pressing. Special attention is devoted to the identification of the internal and external barriers which prevent ethnic minorities from fully participating...