Bloquer les avantages, et non les immigrants

Tandis que l'agrandissement de l'Union européenne se profile à l'horizon, les citoyens d'Europe de l'ouest craignent un afflux massif d'immigrants à la recherche d'un emploi en provenance des pays post-communistes candidats à l'adhésion. En effet, si les huit principaux candidats d'Europe de l'est (Bulgarie et Roumanie exceptés) rejoignent l'Europe à la date prévue (2004), la population de l'Union européenne augmentera d'environ 75 millions d'individus.

Lorsque l'Espagne et le Portugal ont rejoint l'Union européenne deux décennies auparavant, l'émigration vers les pays membres existants était atténuée par le fait qu'un grand nombre d'immigrants venaient de ces pays pendant les années 1960 qui se sont avérées dynamiques en Europe. Mais la migration vers l'Europe de l'est dans ces années-là était entravée par le Rideau de fer. Désormais, le fossé des revenus entre les candidats de l'est et l'Union européenne est trois fois aussi important que l'était la disparité avec la péninsule ibérique. L'institut Ifo de Munich prévoit environ 2,5 à 3,3 millions de travailleurs immigrés vers l'Europe de l'ouest au cours des 15 années qui suivront l'agrandissement de l'Union européenne.

Ces chiffres sont élevés, mais il existe peu de raisons de s'inquiéter, et aucune si les membres actuels de l'Union européenne s'y préparent. A l'inverse de l'immigration en provenance des pays non européens, les immigrants d'Europe de l'est partagent un bagage culturel similaire et s'assimileront aisément.

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