Turning Europe’s immigration problem into an opportunity
The Middle East and North Africa, including the Sahel, will remain unstable for years
leading to yet more refugees attempting to flee to Europe, writes Prince Michael of
The increasing number trying to reach Europe will include others from sub-Saharan
There are dramatic scenes with rescues, human tragedies and great loss of life on
the dangerous and desperate journeys to Europe, especially on illegal and
inadequate boats crossing the Mediterranean.
There is no question of successfully staunching the flow of illegal migrants to
Europe. Stagnating or even reducing demography in wealthy Europe, with its high
standards of welfare, will always attract people from less fortunate areas and where
there is a population surplus.
The question for Europe is how can it handle this immigration successfully.
We have to face the facts and address them with humanity. Putting immigrants in
camps and pushing them from country to country is not a solution.
Europe can absorb less skilled people so long as they are willing and able to work.
Access to welfare benefits should be offered only to those who, after an initial period,
contribute to welfare costs.
Europe's rigid labour laws and its concepts of minimum salaries for unskilled people
create a problem. Exploitation happens even within Europe’s current systems. It can
be avoided without imposing minimum wages or over-rigid labour laws.
The possibility of a job is the most essential ingredient towards integration. Work
gives pride, hope and stability.
The terrorist killings in France demonstrate the terrible results when people are not
integrated into the community, remain idle and develop first into small-time criminals
before becoming totally excluded from society and worse.
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