European immigration policies - English

A sea of broken dreams and bodies

By Mark Briggs31.10.2014Economics, Europe

European governments are trying to reduce the number of Africans entering Europe. It is a sad irony that those people are exactly what Europe needs.

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Flickr/Duncan Hull

Britain, like many other European countries, has a long and troubled history with the people of Africa. Colonisation, enslavement, whole regions stripped of their natural resources while cultures were belittled and suppressed.

Such exertions of power belong, if anywhere, in the distant past. Yet this week Britain announced it would no longer support search and rescue missions to prevent migrants drowning in the Mediterranean. What such a move is effectively saying is: “We would rather you died than step foot near our country.” Not even in. Near.

Europe will lose a sixth of its young workforce

The Foreign Office claims it’s seeking to discourage people from attempting the dangerous crossing from Africa to Europe. Expect future policy announcements to include the withdrawal of A&E services to reduce heart attacks, the banning of car insurance to stop people speeding and the outlawing of bailouts to prevent bankers plunging the world into recession.

No such press releases have been issued this week; instead the Defence Secretary said parts of Britain felt “swamped” by immigrants. Comparing people, regardless of the location of their birth, to dirty, disease infested, dangerous and smelly bodies of water, as government announces a policy to actively let people drown, is revolting rhetoric.

The statement (made live on television) has since been “withdrawn”. But it is symptomatic of the worst kind of pandering as neither the statement or the removal of protection will have the slightest affect on their supposed aim of reducing the numbers of people entering Europe.

The push factors at home (many of which European powers have contributed to creating) mean that Europe remains a relative land of plenty for the vast majority of people around the world. It is a sad irony that those lying at the bottom of the Mediterranean are exactly the type of people Europe needs: young, dynamic, and hardworking.

Over the next ten years Europe will lose a sixth of its young workforce. Without immigration we cannot replace them and our economy will further stagnate “as we compete against the younger and more dynamic workforces of the world”:http://www.migrationpolicycentre.eu/docs/SummerSchool2013/ppt_mpc/Fargues%20-%20McCormick.pdf.

We’ve given ourselves to fear

Many migrants who make it to Europe “land in Italy”:http://www.theeuropean-magazine.com/mark-briggs/8633-what-european-leaders-can-learn-from-italy, a country desperately in need of a demographic boost. The country’s population and politics are so skewed the average pension is higher than the average wage. Yet the young men (migrants are predominantly young men) who arrive in the country are marginalized to such an extent that their children, born in Italy, do not become citizens until their 18th birthday. Italy desperately needs to embrace the drive and spirit of people who have travelled hundreds if not thousands of miles to build themselves a better life – instead of staying at home growing fat on grandma’s cooking. Instead people with the gumption to face what many Europeans would regard as unthinkable are left selling tat to drunken revellers on the streets of Naples, Rome and Milan.

Immigration and economic growth have a long history of existing side by side and driving each other forward. The US may not be the holy grail of race relations, but it grew into a world and economic superpower with an American dream and the words: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”.

“Instead of embracing this sentiment we’ve given ourselves over, once again”:http://www.theeuropean-magazine.com/juliane-mendelsohn/8538-europes-flawed-immigration-policy, to fear, pulled up the drawbridge and unleashed not the river of blood as predicted by Enoch Powell; but a sea of broken dreams and bodies.

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