Trends, Patterns and Control
Edited by Heinz Fassmann, Max Haller and David Lane
Chapter 2: Winners and Losers of Migration in the European Context: Economic Aspects
Robert Rowthorn INTRODUCTION 2.1 The countries of western Europe are undergoing a rapid and sustained change in their racial and cultural composition. The driving forces are migration for reasons of economic gain, asylum, and family reunification, together with differential birth rates reflecting the high fertility of certain ethnic minorities and a sharp decline in the fertility of the indigenous populations. If these trends continue they will have a dramatic impact on the countries of western Europe and may have serious implications for social cohesion and national identity. There is growing public concern in western Europe about what is happening and opposition to immigration is increasing. Some of this opposition is based on cultural or racial grounds and some on economic grounds. Those who support a liberal immigration policy either play down the scale of the transformation that is now occurring, or else praise it on the grounds that greater racial or cultural diversity is to the benefit of the indigenous populations of western Europe. They also claim that large-scale immigration will be of great economic benefit to the existing inhabitants of western Europe. 2.2 THE ECONOMIC IMPACT OF MIGRATION1 The people who are affected by migration can be divided into three groups: the migrants themselves, the existing inhabitants of the receiving country, and those who remain in the sending country. As a general rule, those who migrate normally benefit from their decision. The impact of migration on the other parties involved is not so clear-cut. Some types of migration are...
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