At the heart of EU migration policy and the current migration crises lies the EU’s dual but seemingly contradictory objectives of bringing about less migration – its current approach to the refugee crisis – and more migration, which is its current response to the Union’s demographic deficit.
Peo Hansen’s analysis of the big picture of EU migration explores how this fundamental problem has come about and how it might be resolved. Why, asks Hansen, doesn’t Brussels greet the refugees as a first, albeit modest step towards amending the EU’s demographic crisis? By comparing EU asylum policy and EU labour migration policy, the author shows that an important part of the answer to this question rests with an austere calculus that has effectively thwarted the type of expansive public investment and social citizenship regime that is needed to allow the EU’s shortage of workers to be perceived as congruent with the global refugee surplus.
Alongside his analysis of migration at the EU level, the author also examines developments in Germany and Sweden, two countries that initially took steps in the direction of such congruity, but which have since recoiled. The author explores why a policy of “welcome” that designated refugees as an economic necessity shifted to one of rejection that branded them as a fiscal burden and societal peril.
Peo Hansen is Professor of Political Science at the Institute for Research on Migration, Ethnicity and Society (REMESO), Linkoping University, Sweden. He has written extensively on questions of migration, citizenship and identity and how they relate to the political economy of European integration. His books include The Politics of European Citzenship (with Sandy Brian Hager) and Eurafrica: The Untold History of European Integration and Colonialism (with Stefan Jonsson).