|Percent of Population|
|10||San Marino||15.7%||9.9%||33 785|
|47||Bosnia & Herzegovina||1.1%||38.9%||3.3m|
Some tiny countries in Europe are mostly comprised of immigrants. The countries in Europe with the highest percent of immigrants in their populations are Liechtenstein (65.1%), Monaco (54.9%) and Andorra (53.3%), although the average for Europe is 14%. Of the large countries with more than a million in their population, the highest proportion of immigrants can be found in Switzerland (29.6%), Austria (19%) and Sweden (17.6%). When it comes to emigration the highest rates are Monaco (56.3%), Albania (45.4%) and Bosnia & Herzegovina (38.9%), with an average continental rate of 13%.
Economic disparity is a driver for emigration4, and the work that the EU does in harmonizing labour markets is key to soothing mass migrations within Europe. Rather than waves of migrants washing around Europe, now it is only working-age employees from particular industries, depending on the differences in supply and demand in those industries. Open labour markets bring economic stability and predictability to the continent, smoothing out vulgar differences in prices and availability of work and goods. This is especially important to countries that are aging and need a migrant workforce, in order to keep pensions and taxes healthy. Ironically, the effect of the current wave of anti-EU nationalist parties is to put up barriers to trade and migration, which actually increases the long-term incentives for irregular movement between EU countries as disparities in labour markets become wider.
Europe, like the USA, has always had high immigration. Invading armies and influential cultures have spread from place to place continuously over thousands of years, with no communities remaining undisturbed for very long. The era of empires saw many European countries intentionally (and forcibly) bring back large numbers of foreigners as slaves. Local popular cultures have been decimated by Americanisation and European cross-pollination: food, commerce, goods and lifestyles are almost completely unrelated to historic practices, with a long stream of practical accommodations eventually becoming commonplace5. Cultural importation has been massively successful - we know this, because almost everyone assumes that most of what they do is traditional nationalist behaviour.
“The historic cities of Europe, which are far older than most nation states, retain a remarkable ability to absorb newcomers and accommodate many different kinds of social reality. The practical problems posed by co-existence between faiths and cultures - from swimming-pool regulations to the slaughter of animals to headgear in municipal premises - can often be handled in practical ways through a healthy process of local bargaining. Issues like land use, burial, hygiene, food safety and noise simply have to be managed locally for cities to function at all.”
The Economist (2008)5
But such things need oversight; national human rights should be made clear and absolute so that local practices don't start backpeddling on the rights of those who cannot look after themselves - especially minorities-within-minorities. The ratchet of progress can all too easily break apart and allow ghettos, mass ignorance, mass illiteracy and other evils erode the humanity of our advanced species. Some of the worst are those who say that integration of a particular group is impossible, and who castigate, insult and act illiberally towards migrants on account of them not yet being integrated. Such behaviour can only ever provide a bad example of what civil life should look like: Instead, treat others with respect and tolerance wherever possible.
Some popularist movements aim to demonize even the most desperate migrants, resulting in several failures in EU-wide approaches to irregular immigrants that attempted to bring fairness to the way that European countries distribute asylum seekers (i.e., not at all, in most cases).
“The Mediterranean remained deadly [in 2017], with almost 3,000 dead or missing by mid-November 2017. [...] Backed by EU institutions, Italy imposed on NGOs a code of conduct governing rescues following a campaign to delegitimize and even criminalize their efforts. [...]
Member states less affected by direct arrivals remained reluctant to share responsibility for asylum seekers. [...] EU countries continued to return asylum seekers to Italy [and] Greece, under the Dublin Regulation, which requires the first EU country of entry to take responsibility for asylum claims in most cases. [...] The two-year binding plan to relocate almost 100,000 asylum seekers out of Greece and Italy officially ended in September, with only 29,401 people actually transferred. [...] Little progress was made on reform of EU asylum laws.”
In 2004, Cesari estimated that there were over 12 million Muslims in Europe, making up 3% of the population7. Six years later, it had risen to about 15 million8, although due to overall European population growth to 711 million in that year, this was now only 2% of its population. Since then the immigration rate of Muslims doubled, with 7 million arriving from 2010 to 20169, mostly comprised of families fleeing from Syria10. Germany was the top destination for refugees, whereas the UK was the most popular destination for regular working migrants10. By 2016, the total number of Muslims in Europe was 4.9%10. Although the numbers are small, "anxiety about it has been growing"8 amongst some non-Muslims, spurred by negative press reporting and the anti-immigrant slogans of right-wing parties.
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The UK has a growing problem with prejudice against immigrants and foreigners11,12,13. A smattering of horrible racist gangs such as Combat 18 and National Front dispersed into a series of more media-savvy outfits, giving leadership, expertise and followers to Britain First, UKIP and the English Defence League (EDL)14. They run on a popular13 platform of anti-immigration and anti-EU rhetoric. These groups, spurred on by misinformation and distortions in online social bubbles of hate, became so popular as to shift the Conservative Party, the UK's main party, to the extreme right of mainstream politics. Nationalism, prejudice and racism has become overt over the past 10-15 years15, and mainstream defence of human rights and democracy is under attack along with ill-defined "lefties".
Some very popular papers report on immigration in entirely skewed and negative terms16,17. The formula is that everything bad can be tied to immigration, foreigners and fraudulent asylum seekers.12. The UK does not have high levels of immigration13 but it is impossible to reach a sensible view of the truth by relying on the hot-blooded, xenophobic and misleading diatribes of some popular newspapers such as The Daily Mail12, The Express, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph and The Sun.12,18. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights singled out The Sun as a source of hate due to its dehumanisation and demonisation of migrants19. These newspapers are also the most popular. How can the populace ever vote in elections wisely, when their understanding of migration is tainted with this type of horrible bias? The emotional response (even if followed up with more careful news reports seen elsewhere) is hard to replace with balanced tolerance. There is nothing to stop the papers endlessly peddling this type of trash: it sells because it panders to fear and ignorance, and in being sold, they encourage those traits in readers.
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