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Fixing Europe’s migrant predicament requires a new approach

18 7 0

Tensions are rising in Europe on several fronts, with violent riots in major cities, angry words and deep public anxiety and discontent.

The proximate causes of this unrest are clear enough — including the deep frustration at continued COVID-19 restrictions as a fourth wave grips many European countries. But add to this unrest sharply rising prices (especially home energy costs and soaring petrol prices), puzzling shortages in the shops and dire prophecies of increasing climate chaos, coupled with all the disruption of livelihoods and businesses, and a perfect storm of popular protest, distrust and feelings of insecurity is building up.

But looming up from behind all these concerns comes an even deeper cause of fear and anger spilling onto the streets — a cause that is by no means new but may now be expanding to inflame politics afresh and raise protests to boiling point levels.

That cause is migration — in all its manifestations and with all its repercussions. Of these there are two most prominent and politically toxic features.

The first is the swelling waves of migrants at Europe’s frontiers clamoring to get in. The second is in a sense the opposite face of the issue — the yawning gaps in skills and workforce that result from the immigrant “crackdowns,” which most governments feel impelled to maintain and strengthen, as the streams of refugees and economic migrants build up from every side and social hostility to newcomers mounts.

It is the first of these two aspects that currently gets most of the visibility. The typical European daily scene shared on video has now become one of high barbed wire fencing, lines of both police and armed security forces confronting frightened........

© The Japan Times

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