Since the start of the refugee crisis, over one million people have entered Europe. Compared to the total population of the European Union (508 million), that number is relatively small. However, considering that there are currently roughly 20 million people jobless across the EU, could even a relatively small influx of refugees hurt the overall unemployment rate?
On the other hand, there are over 60 million displaced people in the world. The vast, vast majority of those are being hosted in the developing world. Europe is still, despite sluggish economic growth, a relatively prosperous place. Seeing as the rest of the world is shouldering more than their share of the burden, shouldn’t Europe do its part and fulfill the obligations it has committed to?
What do our readers think? We had a comment sent in from Bernd on our ‘Suggest a Debate’ page, arguing that the refugee crisis cannot possibly be a ‘win-win’ situation when there are millions of Europeans desperately looking for a job.
Will the refugee crisis make unemployment worse in Europe? We asked Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from all sides of the political spectrum to stake out their positions on this question, and it’s up to YOU to vote for the policies you favour. See what the different MEPs have to say, then vote at the bottom of this debate for the one you most agree with! Take part in the vote below and tell us who you support in the European Parliament!
Well, it is not improving the situation. But the real problems are not people fleeing from war and hunger but austerity politics in Brussels. The EU lives in its richest period, there is enough to share with Europeans and those who need shelter and care. But this requires a different approach to redistribute wealth, better tax regulations and common European social policies as well as well targeted public investment programs to boost the economy.
No, of course not. First of all, I don’t call it a migration crisis. It is a crisis for the people who have to flee, but not for us. I come from Sweden, where a lot of migrants arrived who also gave a lot of job opportunities for others who had been unemployed for a long time. I think that the more we are, the more jobs we create. We do not necessarily have more unemployment because cause of migration. Migration can also be a way to create work. I think we also need a lot of people in Europe if we want to keep up our standards, so we should see migration as an opportunity and not as a problem.
Some Member States are experiencing low unemployment or aging populations, so new additions to the work force can actually be positive. Our collective inability to tackle unemployment can be better explained by the lack of reforms undertaken, in education or labour laws; the lack of governance at the euro area level; the lack of confidence in our collective ability to influence the world order (e.g. the CETA agreement); rigid legislation while new technologies speed everything up – just look at taxation issues. Some boldness is required at the EU and national levels, which is achievable if we take clear, accountable decisions the citizens can understand and support. Prosperity is not a cake of a set size but rather the result of a dynamic.
John Steward Agnew (EFDD), Member of the European Parliament: