Tag Archive for european union

Refugees attitudes in Europe

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On August 6th, The Guardian published an article: “German TV presenter sparks debate and hatred with her support for refugees”. The article’s author wrote how the German TV presenter Anja Reschke denounced that, racist comments have recently become socially acceptable and it’s common to make them under real names. Her declarations generated debates about emerging racism in Germany.

Until recently, such commentators were hidden behind pseudonyms, but now these things are being aired under real names, (…) in reaction to phrases like “filthy vermin should drown in the sea”, you get excited consensus and a lot of “likes” on social media.

However, the article’s author mentioned that the aggressive response towards foreigners is seen as a minority reacting to the changing face of Germany where one fifth of the population is now of a migrant background, according to statistics out this week.

Since then the Germany Government has accepted many more refugees and advocated within the European Union for a better system for receiving refugees. The situation is changing day by day.

The mainstream debate and attitudes have been overwhelmingly positive, with many communities and individual families welcoming refugees, most of whom have fled conflict in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. In most towns, inhabitants received new arrivals, offering help, collecting food and clothing, offering language lessons for free, and even inviting them to live with them. Some neighbors help them with the shopping and with the bureaucratic issues, others give them presents and even install a satellite dish for them so they could watch Syrian TV.

Yahian, a Syrian refugee with his family in a village in Germany told their experience arriving in Germany to The Guardian:

There were flowers, candles, milk and coffee waiting for us. They tried to make it as comfortable as possible. It was cold, wet and dark. My wife was crying, she was so nervous, but we’ll never forget the warmth of their welcome.

The Pastor of his village, also help him to negotiate with the butcher to provide halal meat.

The Guardian, also published an article on the same topic that emphasizes the desire of Germans citizens to improve the situation of refugees, and described a project created by a couple that felt uncomfortable with the way Germany were treating them, “Refugee Welcome” (http://www.refugees-welcome.net/). This initiative consists in sharing home with refugees; “Accommodating a refugee does not have to mean losing out on the rent of a room, Refugees Welcome representative said. In a third of the cases, costs are covered either by the job centre or social welfare payments, and a quarter of the rents are paid for via micro-donations to the site”. 26 people have been placed in private’s houses so far, and more than 780 Germans have signed up to the website.

Acts like the ones described above demonstrates that most of the Germans do their best to make the refugees feel like home. It shouldn’t be forgotten that Germany is a country used to integrate both immigrants and refugees, having “one of Europe’s most hospitable asylum systems”.

 

Economic Inclusion in Action: EU Migration benefits to the UK Economy

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On 4 November 2014, UK newspaper The Independent published “EU Migrants Add £20bn to the economy in decade,” an article that explored the huge monetary benefits migrant workers added to the British economy between 2001 and 2011.

Numerically, “migrant workers from EU15 countries, which include Germany and France, paid 64% more in tax that they receive in benefits. New arrivals from Central and Easter Europe “accession” countries contributed 12% more than they took out,” confirming the assertion that migrant workers produced a significant monetary boost for the economy and rebutting the often made claim that migrants are a drain on social services.

Following the same approach in one region of the UK, the local Belfast Telegraph published “How Migrant Workers Oiled Wheels of Recovery,” an article written by Jamie Stinson on data that reinforce the increased economic and social benefits of migrant workers.

In a recent report on how migrant workers had contributed around £1.2bn to the Northern Irish economy between 2004 and 2008, Nigel Smyth, Director of the CBI in Northern Ireland, importantly remarked “economic recovery in Northern Ireland would ´grind to a halt´ without migrant workers.

Migrant workers are helping to sustain economic growth and filling labor shortages by bringing much-needed skills. In that regard, Smyth stated that “immigration is instrumental in helping many sectors of the economy, including food processing, IT, and hospitality.” Workers from overseas – accounting for 4% of the workforce, were also enriching society through cultural diversity.

By generating income, raising productivity and through their purchasing power, migrant workers are substantially contributing to the economy, and “with the UK and Northern Ireland facing the challenge of an ageing population in the years ahead, it would be extremely myopic for policy makers to ignore the overwhelming contribution migrant workers will bring to our economy.

Importantly, both articles allude to one of the fundamental components of SSP, that of total economic inclusion. As reinforced by the authors, economic inclusion strongly benefits all members of society as capacities are developed and put to use and capital, both human and financial, substantially increases. In the words of the author of The Independent article, Nigel Morris, “…so why is your Government trying to keep them out, Home Secretary?

Maastricht Podcast Series! Claire Dhéret, European Policy Centre

European Policy Centre

Enjoy this new podcast episode with Claire Dhéret, coordinator of the Wellbeing 2030 project of the European Policy Centre, on the lessons from the Wellbeing 2030 initiative.

Listen the podcast here

More information about the Wellbeing 2030 Initiative of the European Policy Centre.

Find the information about the Shared Societies Workshop here

Other podcast episodes

Other publications by Claire Dhéret:

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