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Structural Challenges for Europe

Edited by Gertrude Tumpel-Gugerell and Peter Mooslechner

The main thrust of the book is that the sharing of mutual experiences is important for generating an acceptable policy mix, both at EU and national levels. The contributors highlight key financial issues, including the role of FDI and of foreign banks in the still ‘under-banked’ acceding countries, the re-launch of social security systems and the fiscal challenges of financing the catch-up process. They also examine the ongoing EU debate surrounding the application of the Stability and Growth Pact in Central and Eastern European Countries (CEECs) and go on to explore the contrasting evidence that some CEECs have shown more extensive privatisation efforts than some EU countries.
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Chapter 15: The impact of international migration on welfare and the welfare state in an integrated Europe

Herbert Brucker


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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