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04 / 09 / 2004
Anna Terrón (Patronat Català Pro-Europa): “Immigration is fundamental for the future construction of europe"

Various experts have analyzed European migratory flows and its consequence on Europe's future.

The director of the European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed), Andreu Claret, explained in his intervention that, "European culture and Muslim culture meet in the Mediterranean." For Claret, the Mediterranean is "the territory where globalization is first felt because it is where the first human movements take place."

Anna Terrón, the secretary-general of the Patronat Català Pro-Europa, explained that "before, immigration was not one of the main concerns of the European Union, but now we have seen that it is fundamental for the future construction of Europe."

For Terrón, "The European Union is the opposite of ethnicity, it is the fight against racism and xenophobia." Terrón added that,"we have to organize community institutions to manage immigration, above all after the inclusion of various Eastern European countries."

The representative of the Patronat Català defined immigration "as an all-inclusive term, that we interpret as our relation with others and with ourselves."

The representative of the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS), Álvaro de Vasconcelos, stated that "there is a dysfunction between the policies of immigration in the European Union and the values of the European Constitution, on the one hand, the immigration policies are defensive, they try to prevent people from entering, they deny people rights and their access to democracy, and for the other Europe they increase these, and it is the champion of democracy."

Vasconcelos explained that these defense policies "are for the survival of the states, but they don't take into account that immigration will be essential for the survival of Europe."

The representative of the ISIS explained that "immigrant problems are compared with the threats of terrorism, drug or arms trafficking." For Vasconcelos, this is a vision that lacks the rigor as it is seen as "the invasion of barbarians in civilized countries.

Vasconcelos referred to S-11 and the fact that "there is a new problem that is the matter of radical Islamism and its growth in urban peripheries." "The incompatibility between democracy and Islam is often talked about, and this is where the idea of the shock of civilizations comes from," Vasconcelos added.

"We are all a mixture of cultures, Europe does not have one cultural identity," Vasconcelos concluded.

The member of Centre d’Études et de Rechercher sur le monde arabe (CERMAC), Bichara Khader, explained that "Europe ingeniously believed that the control of the exterior borders would dissuade people from migrating, but all it has done is lead to the increase of illegal immigration."

For Khader, "there is an internal contradiction of immigration policies in Europe because on the one hand you have restrictive laws to enter, but on the other hand, when you need a working population, there are massive processes to regularize peoples situation that lack a clear criteria."

Khader spoke about the concept of "trash population" about which he said, "it is the metaphor of the dispensable person, the population that nobody loves."

For the representation of CERMAC, Europe lives "numb before the problems of immigration, it doesn't react to the injustices, and doesn't see the needs of the immigrants." In this sense, Khader relieves that "Europeans are not caring, they have traveled all over the world, and now they reject this right to travel all over the world to the people from the poorest countries."

Khader stated that "the border becomes an element of violence given that it establishes if a person stops being a member of a state or not." For this, "being a citizen is a privilege that gives people the ability to enjoy a territory and have certain rights."

Khader believes that the free circulation of people takes two aspects into account, "the overcoming of the physical border and social border: integration."

The representative of the International Labour Organization, Ibrahim Awad, expressed that "if the immigration policies were appropriate and free of errors, we would not have to have regularization processes so often." In this sense, Awad relieves that "coherent politics with objectives that the government has marked are necessary given that otherwise, the main people who suffer from poor management are the immigrants."

The representative of the Hamburg Institute of International Economics, Rainer Münz, also spoke about the fact that Europe is now a receiver of immigrants "but is was also a country that people immigrated from." For Muñiz, when we speak about immigrants in Europe, "we forget about the ones who come from rich countries, but the groups of immigrants from poor countries are the ones who have a harder time integrating."

For Münz "immigrants must be integrated, which means taking them from the margins of illegality and making them enter the work market."

"During the next 50 years, the number of Europeans will be reduced by 60 million due to the reduction of the birth rate. We will also have some 100 million people who will try to enter our work market from countries with a young demographic pyramid," Muñiz added. "Immigration has to be something that we all win from, it has to be a game of profits for both parties," Muñiz concluded.