October 29, 2014

EU immigration debate continues

Immigration continues to be a hot political topic within the European Union (EU).

Free movement of workers within the EU is being called into question, with the rising popularity of several anti-immigration parties. Political groups such as the UK Independence Party (UKIP) and France’s Front National are campaigning for national sovereignty and stronger migrant barriers.

Debate at the moment is centered on how the UK could renegotiate its position to EU treaties with regard to the free movement of workers, a process which would require ratification from each of the 28 EU member states.

The UK Defence Minister Michael Fallon has voiced prominent national fears over immigration, saying that parts of Britain are "under siege" from migrants.

However, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, widely regarded as the most influential leader in Europe, said that: "Germany will not tamper with the fundamental principles of free movement in the EU."

Furthermore, the Observer’s Will Hutton recently noted that: "Europe [has] a breathtaking density of interdependencies […] To imagine that each one would be better managed by sovereign states [is] a denial of reality."

Indeed, Klaus F. Zimmermann has argued that circular migration, enabled by the free movement of workers, is "more likely to generate benefits for all sides" than limiting free movement.

Similarly, according to Giovanni Peri, "immigration is likely to boost firm productivity and the wages of native workers in the long run by stimulating firm growth and contributing a range of skills and ideas."

Read more here.

Related articles:
Circular migration, by Klaus F. Zimmermann
Do immigrant workers depress the wages of native workers? by Giovanni Peri
The impact of migration on trade, by Murat Genç
Freedom of movement for workers, by John Kennan