Inflows to the East are a Problem Too

While Western Europe worries about droves of people pouring across their borders from the newest members of the European Union, immigration into Eastern Europe goes unnoticed. But there are already signs that countries such as the Czech Republic, Slovenia, and Hungary are shifting from states of net emigration to ones combining emigration, immigration, and transit, according to a recent survey by the International Migration Organization. Such a phenomenon is to be expected. When Spain and Portugal joined the EU in 1986 a mass exodus did not occur; rather, the rising standard of living attracted immigrants, particularly from North Africa. At this stage, Eastern members of the EU – most of which are ethnically homogeneous – are not prepared for a major influx of immigrants. Consequently, the same debates that rage in Western Europe – populist fears and benefits to business – will no doubt echo in the East. Ultimately, immigration should be an overall positive: receiving countries need workers to support an aging population and to fill jobs as the population shifts into higher skilled labor; and sending countries generally earn more from their citizen's remittances to family members than through foreign direct investment.. – YaleGlobal

Inflows to the East are a Problem Too

The EU migration debate
Luke Allnutt
Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Click here for the original article on The International Herald Tribune's website.

Luke Allnutt is an editor at Radio Free Europe.

Copyright © 2003 The International Herald Tribune

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