Immigration is changing Europe and not for the better, says US author Christopher Caldwell. “You can’t argue that immigration is necessary on economic grounds and then not look at the economic effects.”
In Germany the number of immigrants grew from 3 million in 1971 to 7.5 million in 2000, but the number of immigrants with jobs remained more or less equal, at around 2 million.
This is the kind of statistic that Christopher Caldwell likes to point out, because it illustrates a blind spot that politicians in most Western European countries have when it comes to the economic and social cost of immigration, he says.
Caldwell, an American writer and a journalist, has written a polemic book about the issue: Reflections on the revolution in Europe: Can Europe be the same with different people in it?
In a nutshell: the economic benefits of immigration were short-lived and marginal while the social consequences have been far-reaching and have led to a watering-down of traditional European values.
Critics of the book often argue that it is inappropriate to discuss the cost of immigration because it is about flesh and blood people. Caldwell thinks this is absurd.
You warn against the influence of Islam in Europe. “Immigration doesn’t strengthen or affirm European culture; it is taking it place. Europe doesn’t welcome its new residents; it gives way to them,” you write.
“I’m not suggesting that all European countries will be ruled by a council of Muslim clerics, or that Islam will become the dominant culture. It’s not about radical scenarios like that. What I’m talking about is deep changes to Europe’s core values, in order to accommodate Islam. A good example is the discussion in the Netherlands about criminalising blasphemy. Or the French court that agreed with a Muslim man who wanted to have his marriage annulled because his wife wasn’t a virgin.
“Some countries are changing their laws, from laws that are deeply rooted in European culture to laws that try to mediate between cultures. Look at Denmark. If you had told a Dane a few years back that there would be a law banning young Danish citizens who marry foreigners from outside the European Union from living in Denmark for a number of years, he would have called you crazy. But there is a law now doing exactly that, and people don’t just accept it on a pragmatic level; they actively support it.”
Wilders: Calculate cost of immigrants – The anti-immigration party of Dutch populist Geert Wilders wants each ministry to make a cost-benefit analysis of the presence of non-Western immigrants and their offspring in the Netherlands.
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