Europe and Immigration. Need and Uncertainty
Rapporteur Xabier Aierdi

What can be done in response to Europe's needs in terms of immigration and uncertainties raised by these needs within the European society?
At European level, there is a gap between the texts marked with "desirability" and the policies of the Member States. The regulatory horizon is not followed by the policies. Member States are rather characterized by obsession with security and immigration control.

Implacable and impeccable immigration visions:
According to OECD figures, 65 million migrants over the last 10 years. Two visions of immigration clash.
The implacable view is based on four core ideas:

  • there are always too many immigrants;
  • they take jobs away from local people;
  • they lead to increased crime rates; and
  • they are culturally impossible to integrate.


The impeccable view also has four main core ideas:

  • the number of immigrants is never a problem;
  • the only significant employment problem is exploitation;
  • the only relevant crime is xenophobia; and
  • all cultural mores are respectable and acceptable. 

A new era of migration:
Note: immigration is more a question of public opinion that cultural, social, or employment-related adjustments.

  • How many immigrants? According to a study by the UN in 2005: 191 million people reside in a country other than that of which they are nationals. According to the UNDP, the number of internal migrants is estimated at 740 million. 37% of flows rather than a developed country to a developing country.
  • State of play: more diversified and globalized, the solvent demand of immigrants has declined. at the level of discourse, there is a contradiction between the demand for ads skilled labour and the reality of the incorporation into the labour market of a large labour, unskilled and inexpensive. There is a need for upgrading social mechanisms insofar as the potential of an area for the integration of immigrants is primarily related to its economic and demographic structure. Increasing cultural heterogeneity and the crisis of monocultural paradigm, that the methodological nationalism that wants only within boundaries data is a unique culture, one nation and a unique identity while reality demands a change in treatment. In this sense, the EU speaks with a "two-way integration."

Data on immigration in Europe:
According to EuroStat in 2008, there were 30.7 million foreign nationals in Europe. The highest percentages of foreign immigrants are observed in Luxembourg (42.6%), Latvia (18.3%), Estonia (17.1%) and Cyprus (15.9%). In absolute terms, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, France and Italy gather for 77% of immigrants who live in the EU.

The need for immigration:
The attitude of Member States vis-à-vis immigration prevents the Europeanisation of the immigration policy and encourages coordination between states for border management and implementation pace of preventive measures against illegal immigration.
The EU faces three basic challenges:

  1. the aging population;
  2. the structure of the labor market;
  3. maintaining the welfare state.

Immigrants can help to counter a too fast aging (the EU would need 50 million more people to maintain its current population and 674 million more to maintain the same ratio between active and inactive population).

The employment situation is increasingly precarious and the relationship between job insecurity and immigration is still poorly understood. There is a risk of "Brazilianisation" according to Ulrich Beck: the spread of temporary and insecure employment, discontinuity and loose informality into Western societies. Yet in our society, a great deal of work cannot be relocated to provide: public services for the elderly, more assured by the local population, auxiliary staff. The current structure of the labour market in Europe is currently ineffective, it is necessary to analyse the need for labour and the medium and long term.

Restoring a balance between population aging and the contribution of immigration to population ratio allows the EU to maintain the viability of social security systems. It should also take into account the process of transformation in employment and family structures.