Webcast Recap

Europe relies on immigrants to sustain economic growth due to the continent’s shrinking and aging population. Yet migrants are increasingly seen as importing risk: they are seen as competing for jobs with the growing number of unemployed; they are seen as a drain on state budgets which are in many places operating under austerity; they are seen as possible collaborators of global terrorist groups; or as refugees, they are reminders of instability in the neighborhood.

Thus, in spite of the economic need for migrant labor and a tradition of embracing multiculturalism, European electorates and their representatives in government have moved away from the more liberal and inclusive policies of the past. Not only have some European leaders pronounced the “end of multiculturalism,” but some governments have challenged the Schengen agreement, by bringing back border checks in response to the influx of refugees from North Africa and the Middle East.

A number of scholars and institutions have gathered data on public opinion, migrant mapping, and changing demographics in Europe, but there have been few occasions to compare their findings in order to create a rounded picture of the situation. To that end, the speakers on the first panel will present their most recent data and maps in order to offer a clearer picture of the reality. The second panel will look at state policies towards migrants, EU policies and legislation focusing on integration and non-discrimination. The third panel will bring together a panel of experts to discuss the implications of the changing attitudes towards migrants in Europe.