The costs of non-immigration and non-integration

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stanovisko EHSV: The costs of non-immigration and non-integration

The EESC points out that a non-immigration scenario in Europe would mean among other things that Member States' economies would suffer substantially; demographic challenges would be aggravated; pension systems might become unsustainable; racism and xenophobia would flourish even more than at present. Non-integration bears economic, socio-cultural and political risks and costs. Hence, investment in migrant integration is the best insurance policy against potential future costs, problems and tensions.


Key points

The EESC:

  • considers that immigration has a positive influence on population and labour force growth. If natural population growth becomes negative, immigration can help keep the total population and labour force constant;
  • points out that a non-immigration scenario in Europe would mean among other things that:
    • Member States' economies would suffer substantially; job markets would come under possibly irreconcilable strain, whole industries would go bust, agricultural production would drop, construction would not be able to keep up with demand;
    • Demographic challenges would be aggravated; pension systems might become unsustainable, the health and care sector could collapse, depopulation of certain areas would proceed at a swift pace;
    • Racism and xenophobia would flourish even more than at present;
  • highlights, in contrast, the following potential of migration in host countries: job vacancies and skills gaps can be filled, economic growth can be sustained and services to an ageing population can be maintained when there are insufficient young people locally etc. Countries of origin benefit from remittances, which outstrip foreign aid. Returning migrants bring savings, skills and international contacts;
  • stresses that non-integration bears economic, socio-cultural and political risks and costs. Hence, investment in migrant integration is the best insurance policy against potential future costs, problems and tensions;
  • underlines that promoting integration is key to reinforcing EU fundamental values and principles, of which diversity, equality and non-discrimination are crucial ones. It is imperative that EU Member States learn from one another and honestly strive to foster an environment in which migrant integration is achievable and the risks are avoided.