News / Europe

    Economic Hard Times Increase Immigration Tensions in Europe

    Hard Times Worsen Immigration Tension in Europei
    X
    April 05, 2013 2:11 PM
    While the U.S. Congress has reached an agreement on providing legal status to some undocumented workers, the issue of immigration remains volatile in many parts of the world - particularly in Europe, where economic hard times are exacerbating old tensions. VOA Europe Correspondent Al Pessin reports.
    Hard Times Worsen Immigration Tension in Europe
    Al Pessin
    The United States is not the only country engaged in the emotionally charged debate over immigration. The issue remains volatile in many parts of the world -- particularly in Europe, where economic hard times are exacerbating old tensions.

    Amid Rome’s many architectural splendors sits an unassuming doorway. It leads to a counseling center for immigrants, run by the Catholic Church.  These people, some from the European Union and some from elsewhere, have been hit by the economic crisis.  Some face unemployment without government aid, and some will have to return to their home countries.

    To make matters worse, they face the anger of many in Italy and other European countries: they are blamed for continuing high unemployment among local citizens and other economic problems.

    At the church-sponsored Migration Study Center, Father Rene Manenti knows the problem well.

    "Every time there is a crisis, it’s easier to point the finger at the immigrants for a simple reason.  If we point the finger at ourselves, then it’s going to be our fault.  ‘I am responsible for that.’  If I point the finger at them, they are responsible.  So, it’s not me, it’s them," he explained.

    That outlook had a big impact on a recent election to fill a vacant seat in the British parliament - in which a party advocating Britain's exit from the European Union came in a surprising second.  Among other things, the UK Independence Party wants to freeze immigration and end the easy access now provided to people from EU countries.

    But experts say the blame placed on immigrants is exaggerated.

    "Of course, reality, as usual, is more complicated.  There are situations in which probably, or most likely, immigrants take jobs away from Italian people.  In many cases, immigrants take jobs that Italians don’t want to take for different reasons," said Father Rene Manenti.

    He added that those reasons include low pay, long hours and hard physical labor, like farm work.

    Indeed, the free flow of labor was part of the original concept of the European Union.  And economically, its impact is “broadly neutral,” according to professor John Salt, co-director of the Migration Center at University College London.  But Salt does worry about the long-term effect of large numbers of low-income workers flowing into Europe’s stronger economies.

    "It’s not sustainable given the knock-on effect on land use, housing pressure, water availability, energy consumption, energy production for that matter," he said.

    It’s an issue Europe will continue to struggle with as people from the weaker EU economies look for jobs in the stronger ones, and people from outside the EU continue to see moving there as a better option than staying at home.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.