Due to the civil war and terror, a massive amount of refugees had come to Europe with a hope of a better life. Over a million of migrants and refugees went to Europe in 2015, which is more than triple of the figure of the previous year. (BBC, 2016)
This unprecedented influx of refugee has been portrayed as a disaster to EU member states as refugees and asylum seekers are often regarded as burden of a society. They are often associated with negative things, such as increasing the public finances, burdening the health care system, raising the crime rate, etc.. In fact, it is somehow true. Take Germany as an example, in the first six months the Refugees arrive there, they have committed 142,500 crimes according to data from Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office (Julian, 2016). In other words, every two minutes, there is some refugees committing crime. This increase is almost 40 % comparing with 2015 (Julian, 2016) The mass sexual assaults on New Year’s Eve in cologne by Refugees is also a strong reason that make EU citizens worry about the refugee crisis (Richard, 2016).
However, don’t forget that there is an old saying, ‘In the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity’. While people have been worrying about the influx of refugees, IMF says the influx could provide EU economic boost (Kollewe, 2016). While people see the influx of refugees as a crisis, I see it as an opportunity. Seemingly, the refugee crisis is burdening the economy and undermining the public security of EU, in fact, if we can make good use of this opportunity to solve another crisis of EU— aging population.
The European Commission has mentioned about the aging problem on its website and described it as one of the greatest social and economic challenges of the 21st century for European societies as It will affect all EU countries (Ellyatt, 2015). If we have to keep the population constant, the fertility rate of 2.1, which is called replacement level is needed (Tomkiw, 2015). However, in 2013, the fertility rate of EU was 1.55. Germany is the Europe’s biggest economy and the latest report of The European Commission has forecasted that the population of Germany will shrink from 81.3 million in 2013 to 70.8 million in 2060 (Ellyatt, 2015). So it is understandable that receiving refugees of working age is going to help its economy by providing more labour force. And this saying is also supported by IMF that they told us if refugees are well integrated into the job market, it could deliver an immense long-term economic boost (Kollewe, 2016).
Actually, many countries nowadays are also suffering from the aging problem. For example, it has been a huge problem for many developed countries, such as Japan and USA. For the USA, it’s even is predicted that they would have a low growth of 2% a year because of lack of working labour (William, 2015). And Europe was also supposed to suffer from a headache about this issue because Europe’s working age population has already peaked and has been declining since 2013 which will bring negative impacts on the economy (William, 2015). In order to enjoy economic growth, quantity and productivity of labour force are indispensable (William, 2015). Without either of them, the economic growth will be slow. The influx of Refugees is undoubtedly a indispensable fuel for EU to keep moving forward.
Some people might afraid they might worsen the economy of EU in short term or even many of them will be welfare junkies in long term. But a study of Economist revealed that refugees net direct contribution to the public purse is generally positive (The Economist, 2013).
Don’t always be prejudiced about refugees. Actually, many refugees arrived EU are with marketable skills (Euronews, 2016). For example, a refugee called Hussein Shaker from Syria arrived in Berlin with a tech degree and started up online jobs portal Migrant Hire. All they need is opportunities to work and time to integrate into the society (of course, the job market as well).
I know many European hold different views about the refugee crisis. But, listen to me: the influx of refugees is already an irreversible fact. What we should do is not complain about the fact, but to change it or make good use of what we have. Winston S. Churchill once said, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” Europe, cheer up and grab this golden opportunity to keep Europe continue to prosper!
BBC (2016), ‘Why is EU struggling with migrants and asylum’, BBC [Online] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-24583286
Julia ,Kollewe (2016), ‘IMF says refugee influx could provide EU economic boost’ The Guardian [Online] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/jan/20/imf-refugee-influx-provide-eu-economic-boost
Robinson, Julian (2016), ‘ Angela Merkel under more pressure over refugee policy as it is revealed migrants committed 142,500 crimes in Germany during the first six months of 2016’ Daily Mail [Online] Available at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3893436/Angela-Merkel-pressure-refugee-policy-revealed-migrants-committed-142-500-crimes-Germany-six-months-2016.html
Victoria, Richards (2016), ‘Cologne attacks: What happened after 1,000 women were sexually assaulted?’ The Independent [Online] Available at: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/cologne-attacks-what-happened-after-1000-women-were-sexually-assaulted-a6867071.html
Euronews (2016), ‘THE ECONOMIC IMPACT OF EUROPE’S REFUGEE CRISIS’ Euronews
[Online] Available at: http://www.euronews.com/2016/11/01/refugees-in-germany-from-desperation-to-economic-fortune
Holly, Ellyatt (2015), ‘Migrants could help solve Europe’s aging problem’ CNBC [Online] Available at: http://www.cnbc.com/2015/09/11/migrants-could-help-solve-europes-aging-problem.html
Lydia, Tomkiw (2015), ‘Refugee Crisis 2015: Could Syrians Help Europe’s Aging Population Problem?’ International Business Times [Online] Available at: http://www.ibtimes.com/refugee-crisis-2015-could-syrians-help-europes-aging-population-problem-2091181
Annabelle, Williams (2015), ‘EU refugee crisis: Europe’s ageing economies will benefit from migrants’ City A.M. [Online] Available at: http://www.cityam.com/225427/demographics-are-shaping-world-s-economies-and-migrants-help
The Economist (2013), ‘Boon or burden?’ The Economist [Online] Available at: http://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21579482-new-study-shows-fiscal-impact-migration-broadly-neutral-boon-or
By: Chandan RAI (M00601271)