The editor on an English-language German news website has stated that Germany must be more willing to accept both high and low skilled immigrants from all around the world into the county, or risk its economic strength.
According to Tom Bristow, editor of thelocal.de, Germany is in need of more immigrants than any other EU country, yet a reluctance to open its borders to mass immigration still prevails.
“Germany has a problem with immigration – it needs it, perhaps more than any other European country, but it does not really want it,” Bristow writes.”The Bertelsmann Foundation think-tank said its research suggested two-thirds of Germans think immigrants cause problems for schools and social services. And mayors from across Germany warned this week about the pressures that people from Romania and Bulgaria were putting on local services, with more due next year when European Union travel restrictions affecting those countries are lifted.”
While Bristow’s article acknowledges that it will take time for German attitudes towards immigration to change, he believes the change is essential due to the country’s falling birth rate – the current birth rate is 1.4 per couple, whereas the ideal is 2.1.
“Without more immigration experts believe that by 2050 the population could shrink by around 16 percent to about 69 million,” points out Bristow. “Standing at nearly 82 million now, losing 13 million people will leave swathes of the country deserted and bring the continent’s biggest economy to its knees.”
Earlier this year, the Organisation for Cooperation and Development (OECD) warned Germany that it needs to considerably increase its skilled migrant intake over the coming years if it is to overcome a rapidly ageing workforce.
“For immigration to provide the expected contribution to meeting skilled labour demand, a significant increase in migration for employment – both from the enlarged European Union/European Free Trade Association and from non-EU/EFTA countries – will thus be necessary,” stated an OECD report released in February.
What’s more, speaking at the second annual demographics summit in Berlin in May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel also stated that the country needs to be more welcoming to newcomers.
“Germany should definitely open up more towards immigration. We are a European internal market, and we will certainly need to develop much more mobility in the labour market,” she said.
Article published 27th November 2013