Immigration policy-making in Europe

Authored by: Sara Wallace Goodman

Routledge Handbook of European Politics

Print publication date:  January  2015
Online publication date:  December  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415626750
eBook ISBN: 9781315755830
Adobe ISBN: 9781317628361

10.4324/9781315755830.ch44

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Abstract

Immigration has become one of the most politically contentious and publicly contested issues in modern-day Europe. Immigration and immigrant-related diversity have become facts of life across the continent, but the adjustment by states to this new reality has not always been seamless. What started as a byproduct of colonialism and ill-conceived guest-worker schemes has now become a cornerstone of Europe’s economic future and a permanent fixture in the make-up of European society. Often described as Janus-faced, immigration presents both opportunities and challenges, where the trajectories of an aging population meet the demands of an increasingly interdependent and competitive international labour market. Although immigration has proved to be an incontrovertible asset in terms of demographic and economic growth, as well as some of the social goods that result from living in a context of diversity, immigration remains a hotly debated issue that defines both electoral outcomes and the successes and failures of certain governments, even raising questions as to the viability of the welfare state.

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