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African immigration and shortage of labor in aging Europe

Last updated: Thursday, April 25, 2013 11:33 AM
African immigration and shortage of labor in aging Europe

Hassan Tahsin

Many readers have objected to my article “Israel eroding from within” published on 21/03/2013 and described what is said as wishful thinking and anti-Israel and anti-Semitic statements.

The matter of the fact is that there is a continual immigration, legal and illegal, from north- and south-African countries to Europe and the European governments have been working day and night to stop this influx of Africans.

Israel’s rejection and refusal reminds me of an important issue for European countries, which was brought up by a Satellite TV channel during a show that was aired ten years ago. The French right-wing and nationalist politician Jean-Marie Le Pen was invited to the show.
The host of the show was a smart gentleman, who helped us dive into the mentality of this politician and understand his military background and his way in approaching contemporary political issues as well as his fears of voicing his anti-Semitic views publicly.

Apparently, the host focused on Le Pen’s hatred and extreme views towards immigrants who come to France, especially from African countries in the north. He made Le Pen reveal his fears of an imminent civil war that might take place in France over the issue of foreigners’ immigration.

Allow me to say that I agree with Le Pen on two points. First, it is natural for any country, be it European or not, to reject immigration and the influx of foreigners, especially if this country already suffers from a high unemployment rate and illegal immigration. Each country gives its citizens priority. It is important to respect the laws of each country.

Second, I also agree with him that each person has the right to choose his religious convictions and beliefs and put patriotism on top of everything else provided that he does not make enemy with those who hold different religious beliefs or different nationalities.

Everything else Le Pen said was not convincing and did not justify his inhuman violations of Algerians’ rights when he was an officer in the French occupation army. I was also not convinced by his defense for Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and the flimsy excuses he made for the dictator just because the latter received him in Iraq.

I wish the host would have asked Le Pen this pressing question: Don’t you think that the people of North African countries immigrate to France as a result of the fact they had suffered immensely at the hands of the French colonization and were deprived of their own resources?

Whatever the answer would have been, one thing was noted. Over the past ten years, all European countries have attached significant importance to the immigration issue. Some of them described it as a disaster that threatens the developed European countries whose people enjoy a luxurious life and welfare.

This attack against immigration started when a number of racist xenophobic parties in Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, and Austria emerged on the political scene. These parties have always called for deporting all foreigners, especially Muslim immigrants.

I’d like to tell Le Pen and those who hold his extremist viewpoints that your expectations are wrong because the European continent has grown old and is threatened to suffer from severe labor shortage by 2025 that might constitute 11 % of its population, according to a report made by the United Nations. The report studied the demography of eight countries: France, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States, Japan, Russia, and South Korea.

It appeared in Le Monde Journal in 2000 and predicted there would be five workers for each retired one. This fact gives the European Union no option but to open the doors of immigration wide open and keep them open starting today until the year 2025. By doing so, they will be able to compensate the expected shortage of labor and maintain the previous rate of 1995. If the EU fails to do this, it will have to deal with a major problem, which will surely exacerbate as shortage of labor hits 47% all over Europe.

The United Nation’s solution focuses on two things. First, Europe should accept a large number of immigrants. This in itself will create an endless political problem to the European governments, which will have to convince their citizens, most of whom are unemployed, of the importance of accepting immigrants in order to avoid an imminent catastrophe that might take place over the next 50 years.

Second, the retirement age should be raised regardless of the fact that this step will definitely exacerbate the unemployment problem all over Europe.

To sum it up, European countries are facing an increasingly difficult problem, which needs a quick solution before catastrophe hits. Let me tell Le Pen, who is known for his contradictory ideas, that the entire population of this planet is aging but European people are aging faster, according to the UN report.

What do you think about that? If the number of European young workers is decreasing, is not possible that Israel is eroding from within and its people are looking for better job opportunities instead of staying in this Jewish “alley” called Israel?

Disclaimer: Writers’ and readers’ opinions do not necessarily reflect Saudi Gazette’s views unless otherwise stated.
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