Immigration and Multicultural Societies
Some people think immigration is one of the biggest problems in Europe. Others think immigration is essential for European growth and vitality. The first group argues that large waves of immigration into and within Europe have put strain on resources and sometimes led to the radicalization of violent minorities, in both immigrant communities and domestic populations. The second group argues that immigrant labor is necessary in countries that have shrinking or aging workforces and increasingly open economies. Multicultural societies are also good for a country’s political and social life. Does immigration threaten or enrich Europe? What are the challenges and benefits of multicultural societies?
Side A: In modern European societies, governments try to balance individual liberty and social solidarity. Large waves of immigrants that do not assimilate into the host society threaten this balance. Immigrants often form enclaves in society and the cutural, linguistic, and ethnic distance this creates between immigrants and domestic populations can lead to hostility or even violence on both sides. Immigrants also place a strain on resources and can contribute to unemployment rates.
Side B: Europe’s workforce is both aging and shrinking. It needs foreign labour to support its economy and infrastructure. The open movement of workers within the EU, particularly from east to west and south to north, is also important for building a more unified European identity. Immigrants bring new ideas and experience, contributing to cultural and political growth in Europe.
What do you think? Join the discussion by commenting below!
Immigration worksheet – with discussion questions
“Why Europe needs an immigration strategy” by Kofi A. Annan
Hornets’ nest from The Economist