Europe: Immigration Unwanted

By de Wenden, Catherine Wihtol | European Affairs, Fall-Winter 2006 | Go to article overview

Europe: Immigration Unwanted


de Wenden, Catherine Wihtol, European Affairs


Europe has become the destination of many of the world's emigrants and thus the scene of a vast influx of immigrants over the last 20 years. This development, in a relatively short time span, reflects a convergence of events and trends that drew people toward Europe:

* The fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 opened the way to human flows to the West. The numbers were particularly big from three eastern European states with large and growing populations: Poland, Romania and Ukraine. Two million ethnic Germans (Aussiedler) came to Germany from Russia and other places in the former Soviet empire (from the Baltic States to Kazakhstan). Hungarian minorities in Romania moved to Hungary, Turks went home from Bulgaria, Finns from Karelia.

* Groups of displaced populations gravitated toward Europe after being uprooted by political crises in the 1990s including ethnic strife in the Great Lakes region in Africa (including Rwanda and Burundi), in the former Yugoslavia, in Kurdish-populated areas in the Middle East and in trouble spots as varied as Haiti, Algeria, Lebanon, Chechnya, Afghanistan and Iraq.

* European media give people in less developed parts of the world images of a Europe that seems to offer not only freedom and security but also a higher standard of living, including access to consumer goods.

* The black market in human trafficking (generating big profits for getting people across borders illegally) became a bigger, more lucrative business.

* Immigrants often were prepared to take work and low wages spurned by the indigenous labor force.

This situation--with its push-and-pull dynamic--has emerged in particularly acute terms across the Mediterranean because of the gap between the European northern rim and the North African southern rim the imbalance in demographic pressures is reinforced by the contrasts in economic, political, social and cultural levels on opposite sides of the Mediterranean.

As a result, the European Union is now experiencing an unprecedentedly massive intake--roughly two million legal entries a year--that is larger than the flows to traditional immigration magnets such as the United States and Australia. The effect is unsettling in Europe because Europe has never thought of itself as a place for immigration. Traditionally, Europe has been a place of emigration, not immigration. National identities--and indeed the "European" identity--do not include a constituent belief that immigration can contribute to the process of building and redefining these identities. In other words, Europe seems to have become a region of immigration largely in spite of itself.

In trying to cope with this challenge, Europe has tried a range of measures aimed at containing or at least managing the largely unwanted influx.

The first reaction was an attempt to virtually close the borders to new immigration and step up the fight against illegal immigration and trafficking, starting with the 1985 Schengen agreement, which includes all EU member states except Great Britain and Ireland. This agreement (now a convention) was designed to open internal European borders to the free movement of people while reinforcing the EU's external borders with a visa system applying to most non-European countries. (Labor immigration, encouraged on a comparatively limited scale in the post-World War II period, had been shut off a decade earlier, in 1974.) The next step in this policy was an attempt to coordinate asylum policies among EU countries via the Dublin agreements in 1990 (completed by a second agreement in 2003). Finally, a 1997 Amsterdam agreement restructured the EU's decision-making process in this sector to try to ensure that a common "EU approach" was applied to all the member states' policies of entry and asylum. This approach culminated in conferences on illegal migration and treaties designed to institute a regime of "zero immigration." (An exception was left for unavoidable flows arising from asylum, family reunification and humanitarian acceptance, which are safeguarded by international treaties and codes of human rights. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Europe: Immigration Unwanted
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.