Europe is opening up to immigrants... There have been several articles in Dagens Nyheter, the major swedish newspaper, reporting discussions in the european parliament about easing restrictions for immigrants.
The focus, is of course, on well educated immigrants. Franco Frattini, the European immigration commisionary is saying thatr we are losing this group of potentially useful citizens to the USA or Australia where they rather immigrate. With falling birth rates in Europe this becomes even more problematic. It´s not the immigrants that need us, it´s us who needs them. I.e. the educated ones.
First of all I´d like to state that I find it both appealing and important to change focus from immigrants as a problem to what they can give us. The words about how important immigrants have been for the development of countries as Ireland or Spain recently, for other countries earlier, and last but not least how important immigration has been in order to change the Nordic democracies into pluralistic societies are clichés by now, but that´s because they are true.
After having said that I can only tell about the sour taste in my mouth that Frattinis words give me... The freedom to go to another country to search for a better life should be regarded as a human right, not as something negotiable, restricted to those having a competence needed in host countries. Immigration can give and gives Europe a lot. But it´s not our right to choose who can come. Life in Europe´s neighborhood isn´t at all easier for people without university degrees, and denying unskilled workers to immigrate is condemning them to a life they don´t deserve.