Tag Archives: Europe

Migration, integration and right-wing extremism in Europe (report)

Migration

History shows that international migration flows can offer an effective way for a poor people to escape poverty while promoting economic growth and enhancing technological progress. Throughout the 18th  19th  and early 20th centuries mass migrations  form Europe to the Americas and Australasia enables tens of millions people to escape poverty and persecution and created what day rank as the world most prosperous societies.

In coming decades, the number of potential migrants is likely to swell, driven by a rising number of young adult living to low and middle-income countries and increases in income that will allow more people than ever to afford costs of migration.

Researcher estimate that even modest increase in migrant flows could boost global output by US$150 billion a year-around one-and-half times the predicted gains form full liberalization of trade in goods and services.

Currently around 191 million people- 3 percent of world population- live outside their country of birth. By historical standards the figure is low, though in recent decades migration flows have grown rapidly. Although Western Europe is proving to be increasingly popular destination for migrants, the US continues to accept more migrants than any other country in the world.  (tab. 6.2). The Middle East has also emerged as major hos of migrants, particularly for low-skilled worker from South and Southeast Asia [1].

Migration rate in Armenian

Since its independence in the early 1990-ties, Armenia has been faced with significant emigration flows, forced immigration of ethnic Armenians as a result of the armed conflict with Azerbaijan and migration for economic reasons. With this in mind it does not surprise that migration and asylum management is one of the major components of the European Neghbourhood Policy Action Plan .

Migration from Armenia is a natural process: it is result of political, social and economical tough situation.

Leaving the country are individuals who have the human capital required in other countries. According to a recent survey on labor migration conducted by the Gallup Organization, only 25 percent of adult Armenians are permanently employed. The same survey found that approximately one-third of Armenians are interested in seeking employment abroad. Russia is the primary country of destination for Armenian labor migrants. Although reliable figures on the number of Armenians working in Russia do not exist, 31 percent of Armenians have at least one family member working in Russia.

According to human rights groups and opposition parties this means that every year almost 100,000 people leave – most of them men, who go to neighbouring Russia to work in the construction industry there.

This is a fall of 25% since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, when around four million people lived in Armenia [2].

Moreover, in January-March 2012, 143998 people arrived in and 172580 departed from Armenia via air (Zvartnots and Shirak airports).

The negative balance in Q1 2011 made 28582 people. Zhamanak paper referred to the data of Armenia’s Civil Aviation Department saying that 138073 people arrived and 162644 left the country in the same period last year, the negative balance making 24571.

This means that Armenia faces increased migration of its citizens in 2011 [3].

Populist anti-immigration parties are performing strongly across northern Europe

France has one of the most diverse populations in Europe. But recently, tensions between different ethnic groups appear to have increased. Government moves to ban the full Muslim veil and to expel hundreds of Roma people, have reinforced the view that France is moving to the right. Marseilles, France’s second biggest city and a major Mediterranean port, has a history of taking in people from around the world. But even here there is evidence of a backlash.

For many people in France’s former African colonies, especially Morocco and Algeria, Marseilles was a gateway and the city’s population is an ethnic mosaic.  Some have even hailed Marseilles as a model of integration. An estimated 200,000 residents are Muslim, a quarter of the population.

But like the rest of France, anti-immigrant parties have seen a resurgence here.  Analysts say government policies have fueled anti-immigrant feeling.  In July, France became one of the first European countries to effectively ban the full veil worn by some Muslim women [4].

But France is not the only European country suffering a far-right surge. In an arc of countries spreading north-east from the Netherlands, populist parties are cutting a swathe through politics, appealing to electorates with various blends of nationalism, Euroscepticism (and euro-scepticism) and outright xenophobia.

In Italy, which received the most immigrants of any EU country last year, Umberto Bossi’s Northern League has wielded huge influence over domestic policy, pushing through tough laws that allow authorities to fine and imprison illegal immigrants, and even punish people who provide them with shelter.

“People in Europe have grown comfortable in the decades since World War Two and now they see that level of comfort threatened,” Grabbe said. “The result is that tolerance is no longer held dear as a European value, even in countries that used to be proud of being open and liberal.”

The country to watch is Finland, where the True Finns have emerged from obscurity to have a shot at joining government after an election on April 17th 2011. Surging poll ratings (see table) put them on a par with Finland’s three main parties [4].

The party has broadened its appeal from its rural base and is filching voters from all sides. It adopts an anti-immigrant pose, but its signature issue is hostility to the European Union and particularly the bail-outs of poorer southern members of the euro by fiscally prudent northerners. Its influence may already be visible in the hard line struck by the Finnish government in recent euro-zone negotiations.

Another Nordic party that can point to influence over government is the Danish People’s Party (DF). Under its influence the minority centre-right coalition it has propped up for the past decade has turned Denmark’s immigration regime into one of Europe’s tightest. The DF’s leader, Pia Kjaersgaard, is often voted Denmark’s most powerful woman, ahead of the queen. Buoyed by the government’s appointment of a new gung-ho immigration minister, the DF upped the ante by demanding the prohibition of purpose-built mosques and compulsory psalm-singing in schools.

Their Swedish counterparts, the Sweden Democrats, enjoyed success at a general election of 2010 September, entering parliament for the first time (decked out in pastoral national costume). There was speculation that they might become an ally of government. But unlike their Danish brethren they have been shunned by other parties.

In the Netherlands the anti-immigrant Freedom Party (PVV) and its leader, Geert Wilders, are still hot stuff, despite an unspectacular performance in recent provincial elections. Polls put the party second only to the Liberals, whose minority coalition with the Christian Democrats Mr Wilders has supported in parliament since last year, in a Denmark-style arrangement.

In Austria, the extreme right leader, Heinz-Christian Strache, is running for mayor of Vienna next month. He will lose. But he looks likely to take more than 20% of the capital’s vote. Next door in Hungary the radical rightwing Jobbik has gained a parliamentary foothold and is demanding permanent, guarded internment camps for Gypsies. In Italy the anti-immigrant Northern League of Umberto Bossi is in government and is the country’s fastest-growing party.

In Germany, meanwhile, where the extreme right has failed to make inroads, the political sensation of the summer has been the taboo-busting, bestselling book by Thilo Sarazzin, a former Berlin central banker.

He claims that the country is digging its own grave by admitting waves of immigrants he characterises as spongers, welfare cheats, and sub-intelligent beings copulating their way from ethnic minority to takeover majority [6].

Other countries have not been immune to the far right’s rise. Since 2009 the British National Party has been represented in the European Parliament. The Vlaams Belang remains a force in Belgium’s dysfunctional politics. The virus, it seems, is spreading [4].

Experts say public concerns about immigration have grown in the wake of the economic crisis and politicians across Europe are scrambling like never before to exploit these fears, breaking unwritten post-war taboos along the way [5].

Against this troubled background, for example Sweden has long seemed aloof and immune, an oasis of civility and openness, with the most generous welfare, asylum, and immigration policies in Europe. But with about 100,000 immigrants entering a country of almost 9 million every year, Åkesson’s breakthrough suggests there has been a shift in the public mood.

“People are just getting fed up. The far right is not new here, but it is gaining ground. We’ve taken in so many new immigrants that people are saying we need to slow down and take proper care of the ones that are here.”

That Sweden is moving into the European mainstream in its attitudes to immigration is a contested and controversial point that seems to cut to the core of Swedes’ ideas of themselves.

Lena Westerlund, chief economist at the national trades union association, does not expect any major policy changes on immigration. “I’m not saying it’s not problematic, but for our economy the immigration is a net benefit. We have a very bad demographic, we need a much younger population.”

“The problem is not immigration, it is integration, especially in the labour market. If there are no jobs, the consequences are segregation, housing problems and divided cities.” [6]

References

  1. The World bank –  Ian Goldin, Kenneth Reinert  “Globalization for development “, 2006
  2. BBC – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-14386472
  3. PanArmenian – http://www.panarmenian.net/eng/news/102484/
  4.  The economist – http://www.economist.com/node/18398641
  5. Reuters – http://uk.reuters.com/article/2010/09/14/uk-europe-immigrants-analysis-idUKTRE68D1Z520100914
  6. Guardian – http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/sep/24/sweden-immigration-far-right-asylum
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