The European refugee crisis is challenging for policy makers is because it affects a wide range of European policies simultaneously. Klaus Zimmermann, Founding Director of the Institute for the Study of Labor and a leading economist of migration, will review major research findings of migration economics and their implications for the economy and society at large in Europe.
Zimmermann argues that the continent needs more temporary and permanent migration for economic and demographic reasons. The current refugee stream is not economically problematic, but it is also not the solution for European labor market challenges. In spite of recent decisions by European state governments to close their borders for refugees, it is impossible to “defend” the southern border of Europe without creating illegal inflows. There should not be an upper limit for humanitarian migrants. A better long-term policy is needed to reduce the causes of refugee flows and illegal economic migration in the South of Europe. A proper strategy needs to include quotas for EU member states, a legal inflow of asylum seekers and refugees into Europe, as well as legal channels for work. The rise of right-wing parties and of EU-skepticism provides a challenge to the European political system, which may destroy it. Not less, but rather more Europe is needed.