Presentation on theme: "European experience with migration and integration problems: Ways for overcoming xenophobia and extremism ELDR&YABLOKO International Conference Youth under."— Presentation transcript:
European experience with migration and integration problems: Ways for overcoming xenophobia and extremism ELDR&YABLOKO International Conference Youth under Threat of Extremism and Xenophobia. A Liberal Response
In 2010, the UN estimated the stock of international migrants at 214 million in 2010, meaning that 3.1 percent of the world’s 6.9 billion people were living outside their home countries. Five different types of migration: Labour migration Refugees and Asylum Seekers Ethnic Migration Migration from former colonies Migration from high-qualified elites
In 2010, 47.3 million people lived in the EU, who were born outside their resident country. This corresponds to 9.4% of the total EU population. Of these, 31.4 million (6.3%) were born outside the EU and 16.0 million (3.2%) were born in another EU member state. The largest absolute numbers of people born outside the EU were in Germany (6.4 million), France (5.1 million), the United Kingdom (4.7 million), Spain (4.1 million), Italy (3.2 million), and the Netherlands (1.4 million) (EUROSTAT, 2011)
More important are the figures of immigrants in percentage of the population: In the EU there are 9.4% (legal) immigrants, however with important differences between the EU Member States Austria features the highest rate with 15.4% of immigrants, whilst Italy and Portugal show the lowest rate (6.9% and 7.5% respectively. Another relevant figure is the ratio of immigrants born outside the EU; the European average is of 6.3%. Here again, Austria, Spain and Sweden feature the highest rate (around 9%), Italy and Portugal the lowest (5.3% and 5.7% respectively).
France, Germany and the UK have slightly higher rates of (legal) immigrants than the European average (the immigrant rate varies between 11% and 12% of foreign born population, of which two third are born outside the EU). The variation between the EU Member States is not related to the different policies of naturalization as the criteria is „born outside the country“ and not citizenship. However, the EUROSTAT data can not control for illegal immigration.
There is no obvious correlation between right-wing populism and immigration: For instance in Germany the right-wing parties are irrelevant, although Germany is confronted with some politically motivated terrorist activities; in Eastern Germany racists attacks and xenophobia are more frequent but do not translate in the rise of populist parties. In France, the right-wing party ‘Front national’ has a quite fluid support, accounting for 10% - 20% of the voters; In Austria, however, the right-wing FPOe and the more moderate right-wing BZOe account for 30% of the electorate.
It is quite likely that integration policies as well as the political discourse play an important role in the degree of importance of the right-wing. In France and Austria, the discourse and the practices of the government has led to the rise of the populist parties; the German government‘s discourse is more moderate. The use of the xenophobic discourse of the right-wing by the mainstream parties strenghtens the populist parties as it legitimises a xenophobic public discourse. Liberal strategies are important to counteract racism, xenophobia, and the rise of populism.
Liberal Policies are based upon the conviction that Human Rights are universal; nobody can be discriminated against on the grounds of race, citizenship, gender, or religious beliefs; Immigration is both a challenge and an opportunity for the hosting countries. Provided that integration policies are comprehensive and encourage the migrant family to participate fully in the host societies it is beneficial for both the migrants and the immigration countries;
Integration does not mean assimilation; in a Liberal perspective intrusion in the private sphere is unacceptable. Furthermore, cultural habits of migrants enrich the culture of the host societies. However, immigrants must respect the values and the habits of the host societies. In order to promote the integration of immigrants Liberal strategies have to rest on (political and cultural) education, language acquisition and care for the second and third generation. Facilitating the naturalisation of immigrants and allowing for dual citizenship, provided that the immigrants prove an active interest in the integration in the host society. Ghettoisation is a major threat to a successful integration of immigrants.
Integration of immigrants is not only an obligation for the hosting societies. Ignoring integration problems created by fundamentalist immigrant groups encourages xenophobic reactions. Liberals demand active participation of immigrants in the integration process. Liberal principles guarantee a successful integration: tolerance, performance, freedom and responsibility.