ADVERTISING
 
Sunday, April 30   Sign in or Register
 
Evangelical Focus
 

 
ADVERTISING
 
 
FOLLOW US ON
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud
 

Newsletter
Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.
 

POLL
Freedoms
Should all religious groups in your country be legal?




SEE MORE POLLS
 

 
TOP 10 MOST VIEWED



Jeff Fountain
 

What lies beneath

A healthy, informed debate on the role of migration is sadly lacking in Europe. Europeans talk about migration, Africans talk about the diaspora.

WINDOW ON EUROPE AUTHOR Jeff Fountain 06 DECEMBER 2016 10:04 h GMT+1

Let’s get some facts straight about migration. In the Brexit debate and the recent US elections, ‘post-truth’ campaigns played on the feelings and fears of voters with distorted facts and straight out lies.



Widespread misconceptions about migration boost the popularity of continental populists and feed antagonism towards migrants. These distortions hinder the development of migration policies needed in response to new economic and demographic realities.



At the Forum for the Transformation of Africa (FTA) in Dakar, Senegal, this past week, I engaged alongside African participants in digging below the surface to discover what really lay beneath.



The first myth we addressed was the notion that we were living in times of unprecedented migration. Migration has been part of the human story from the start, as we read in the Bible about Babel, Abraham and the Israelites. More recently, waves of Europeans emigrated to other parts of the world in the 19th and 20th centuries. Sixty-five million left Europe for other shores from 1846 to 1924, including 17 million from Britain alone. That was 12 per cent of the continental population and over 40 per cent of Britain’s!



While global migration figures in 2000 doubled those of 1960, the world population had also doubled. Migration represented roughly a steady three per cent. What has changed recently is the direction of the migration, with Europe becoming a destination.



Tougher



A second myth, favoured by the right wing, was that tougher visa rules reduce immigration. Actually it has encouraged people to migrate permanently, making it very difficult to return to their motherland. In the United States, fewer Mexicans returned home after border controls became stricter.



Moroccans who used to shuttle to Spain and Italy for seasonal work were forced to choose to settle in Europe when visas were introduced in the 1990’s. Surinamese flocked to the Netherlands in unprecedented numbers when visas were introduced in 1980: 39,000 in 1973, 145,000 in 1981. More recently, stricter controls on one part of the European border only created greater numbers attempting to cross at another; the so-called water-bed effect.



A third myth, often touted by left-wingers, was that development aid would reduce emigration. Yet research indicates the opposite: more development results in more emigration. Poorer people simply cannot afford to travel. As income rises, so does emigration.



Development aid could also have a negative impact, my African friends told me. It often undermined local crops and products, encouraged a passive mentality and discouraged entrepreneurship and the development of local skills and knowledge. Frequently development came with strings attached: like access to mineral resources or back-payment under terms favourable for the European donor.



Diaspora



Healthy, informed debate on the role of migration is sadly lacking in Europe. Nation after nation seems to be buckling at the knees appeasing the fear-mongers. The OECD has produced a helpful report to raise awareness of the benefits of migration and to encourage policies to benefit both host countries and the migrants themselves.



Migrants account for a 70 per cent increase in the workforce in Europe over the past ten years, it argues. They fill important niches both in fast-growing and declining sectors of the economy. Young migrants are better educated than ‘natives’ nearing retirement. And they contribute significantly to labour-market flexibility, absorbing the shocks of changing employment in different countries.



Migration has boosted the number of workers and lowered the average age, an absolute necessity for the economy of a Europe facing a demographic winter, the OECD report claims. They bring skills and contribute to human capital development, as well as to technological progress.



But migrants are parasites, we are often told, living off our social welfare. Not true, says the report: they generally contribute more in taxes and social contributions than they receive in benefits. Even low-educated immigrants have a better fiscal position–the difference between their contributions and the benefits they receive–than their native-born peers. And where they don’t, it is because they often have lower wages and thus tend to contribute less, not due to a greater dependence on social benefits.



Europeans talk about migration, Africans talk about the diaspora. My Senegalese friends explained that migration was part of their age-old culture. Some 4.5 million Africans live in the global diaspora, and send €60 billion back home each year. Travel to Europe or America is part of the ritual of entering manhood, to send back money and earn respect.



Families and friends have sold personal possessions or taken loans to make the trip possible. The young men in the photo above at Dakar airport have just been turned back from Europe, but are determined to try yet again. Standing here outside the VIP Lounge(!), they face shame if they return without getting work somewhere in the west.



Migration is an industry supported broadly in African society and will not be deterred by walls, border controls or development aid in the near future.



Jeff Fountain is Director of the Schuman Centre for European Studies, and speaks on issues facing Christians today in Europe. He writes at Weekly Word.


 

 


0
COMMENTS

    If you want to comment, or

 



 
 
YOUR ARE AT: - - - What lies beneath
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
 
AUDIOS Audios
 
Gary Wilkerson: The Bible, the Holy Spirit and the Reformation Gary Wilkerson: The Bible, the Holy Spirit and the Reformation

Pastor Gary Wilkerson talks about what all evangelical Christians can learn from the Protestant Reformation and underlines the need for more churches with both a sound doctrine and obedience to the Holy Spirit.

 
Israel, the UN resolution and the long conflict Israel, the UN resolution and the long conflict

Shira Sorko-Ram, pastor and journalist in Israel, shares her views and a historical and biblical context on the latest events.

 
Lindsay Brown: Islam and the Gospel in Europe Lindsay Brown: Islam and the Gospel in Europe

Is the arrival of thousands of Muslims to Europe a threat to Christianity? What is the growth of evangelical churches in Eastern and Southern Europe? An interview with theologian and Lausanne Movement representative Lindsay Brown.

 
Giovanni Traettino: “Pope Francis is my brother in Christ” Giovanni Traettino: “Pope Francis is my brother in Christ”

Evangelical Focus asked the well-known Pentecostal pastor about his “open” approach to Roman Catholicism. Traettino defended his position about ecumenism during the Italian Evangelical Alliance 2016 assembly (8-9 April, Rome).

 
Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues

The World Evangelical Alliance Secretary General participated in the Italian Evangelical Alliance assembly (Rome, 8-9 April). In this interview with Evangelical Focus, Bp Tendero talks about the need to listen to local churches and to face challenges like the refugee crisis and climate change. 

 
Thomas Bucher: Vision of the EEA Thomas Bucher: Vision of the EEA

Influence in society, evangelical identity and projects in Europe. An interview with Thomas Bucher, secretary general of the European Evangelical Alliance.

 
Evi Rodemann: Youth and mission Evi Rodemann: Youth and mission

“We want to see the youth not just being equipped, but also being multipliers”, Evi Rodemann director of Mission-Net. The European Congress took place in Germany from December 28 to January 2.

 
Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum

Pritchard explains the vision of ELF, comments on the 2015 event in Poland and reflects on what it means to have an "evangelical identity".

 
Pablo Martinez comments on Evangelical Focus’ launch Pablo Martinez comments on Evangelical Focus’ launch

Author and international speaker Dr Pablo Martínez discusses the main challenges in Europe nowadays and hopes Evangelical Focus will be a useful tool to help build bridges between churches and society.

 
PICTURES Pictures
 
Stamps to commemorate the Reformation Stamps to commemorate the Reformation

Poland, Lithuania, Namibia and Brazil are some of the countries that have issued special stamps on the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 theses.

 
‘Reconciliation’ in the Basque Country ‘Reconciliation’ in the Basque Country

Bilbao hosted the Spanish Evangelical Alliance's annual meeting (assembly). Politicians, professors and evangelical representatives shared views on social reconciliation. The theme was also analysed from a theological perspective and in workshops. 

 
WPF17: A look at the world’s current issues WPF17: A look at the world’s current issues

A selection of pictures of World Press Photo 2017.

 
The Progress of Europe, deeply connected to Bible The Progress of Europe, deeply connected to Bible

Indian author Vishal Mangalwadi spoke about how the biblical worldview shaped the West. 300 professionals attended annual GBG meeting on faith and work in Cullera (Spain). Photos: J.P. Serrano, S. Vera.

 
Impressions of Lausanne's #ylg2016 Impressions of Lausanne's #ylg2016

Around 1,000 young Christian leaders from 150 countries are participating in the 2016 Lausanne Younger Leaders Gathering, to reflect on global mission.

 
“Spain, we pray for you” “Spain, we pray for you”

Hundreds of evangelical Christians from many denominations marched in Madrid (Spain) to pray for their city, the authorities and asking God to bring hope to its society. Many gathered in other cities on June, 11.

 
VIDEO Video
 
Students in Europe: “We are present” Students in Europe: “We are present”

A summary video of the IFES Europe conference which brought together 1,700 students from many countries in Aschaffenburg (Germany) to reflect on God's mission in society.

 
Is the Christian faith just a crutch for weak people? Is the Christian faith just a crutch for weak people?

Author Michael Ots responds to some of the objections of sceptics. 

 
What does the story of Job teach us about suffering? What does the story of Job teach us about suffering?

By Jelena Sivulka, psychologist and Director of Hana's Hope.

 
Proverbs 31 Proverbs 31

A powerful video recites Proverbs 31:10-31, from the Bible. Produced by World Relief. 

 
You-To live-How? You-To live-How?

The Roldan Camacho are a Spanish couple with deafness. They tell us how the whole family experiences everyday life through sign language. A video report by Gabriela Pérez.

 
Philip Yancey interview Philip Yancey interview

An 8-minute interview with Philip Yancey on the role of Christians in a secularised society. Recorded in Madrid, September 2016.

 
An interview with Prof. John Lennox An interview with Prof. John Lennox

New atheism, the definition of "faith", Christianity in Europe, the role of the Bible in mission, and the need to listen more. An exclusive interview recorded at "Forum Apologética" (Tarragona, Spain) in May 2016.

 
 
Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube
 
 
WE RECOMMEND
 
PARTNERS
 

 
AEE
EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.
 

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.