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Cambridge University Press
Immigration and the Transformation of Europe

Immigration and the Transformation of Europe

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ISBN-13: 9780521088282
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 10/30/2008
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 504
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Craig Parsons is Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Oregon.

Timothy M. Smeeding is Maxwell Professor of Public Policy and Professor of Economics and Public Administration, Syracuse University.

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Immigration and the Transformation of Europe
Cambridge University Press
978-0-521-86193-9 - Immigration and the Transformation of Europe - Edited by Craig A. Parsons and Timothy M. Smeeding

1 What’s unique about immigration in Europe?

Craig A. Parsons and Timothy M. Smeeding

To begin

A new kind of historic transformation is underway in Europe at the outset of the twenty-first century. Twentieth-century Europeans were no strangers to social, economic, and political change, but their major challenges focused mainly on the intra-European construction of stable, prosperous, capitalist democracies. While the extra-European world obviously affected the continent in many ways, the biggest problems turned on compromises within or between European societies (and with the most influential offshoot of European society, the United States). In many ways, the creation of a single currency for the European Union in 1999 marked a fitting conclusion to Europe’s inwardly-focused twentieth century. Today, by contrast, most Europeans perceive their main challenges as related to flows across their borders – flows of Europeans from other European Union nations (including the ten new partners from eastern and southern Europe), but particularly inflows of non-European people. Immigration and minority integration consistently occupy the headlines and loom over the political agenda, even playing some role in the French and Dutch rejectionsof the European Constitution in Spring 2005. Moreover, the issues that rival immigration for immediate political salience – unemployment, crime, terrorism – are often presented by politicians as its negative secondary effects. Immigration is also intimately tied to serious global economic pressures, the challenges of population ageing, and welfare-state reform. Both academic observers and the European public are increasingly convinced that Europe’s future will turn to a substantial degree on how they incorporate and integrate non-Europeans into European culture, customs and institutions.

   European’s new transition is not an isolated continental phenomenon, of course. Similar questions about immigration confront all industrialized societies. Partly this is because they are victims of their own success. Their populations are living longer and favoring individual pursuits over large families. They enjoy a wide range of welfare-state benefits, especially in old age. This combination is unsustainable whether in Europe, North America, Australia, or Japan: replenishment of the working-age population is now too slow to fund promised benefits for the swelling ranks of retirees, or even to maintain economic growth in the longer run. Most of the “new world” Anglo-Saxon nations (the United States, Australia, and Canada) have coped relatively well with immigration and its social and economic consequences (Antecol et al. 2003; Chiswick 1979, 1988). Nonetheless, the result is a discussion emerging across the industrialized world about the compatibility of increased immigration with other goals and values. Governments are caught between broad public-policy incentives to immigration, commitments to openness (at least in principle) in liberal constitutions and courts, and the considerable hesitation or fear that the prospect of large-scale immigration inspires (Joppke 2000).

   Europe’s version of this transition is unique, however, in several respects. The common challenges to industrialized societies vary in the severity and immediacy of demographic and pension-funding problems, in the size and integration of already-established immigrant minorities, and in the availability of political myths and institutional openings to legitimate immigration. On each score European difficulties are particularly acute. Some European societies are ageing as quickly as Japan (and much faster than the United States, Canada, or Australia), and their much more generous welfare states make the economic challenge especially pressing. Unlike Japan, European countries have already taken in substantial numbers of immigrants, so they face difficult problems of integration simultaneously with a debate over the need for more inflows.

   Indeed, Table 1.1 suggests that net population migration was already the dominant source of European population growth at the end of the last century. By 2003, European population (within the European Union twenty-five) was growing at a rate of only 3.8 persons per 1,000 inhabitants, or .38 percent. Of these 3.8 persons, 3.3 were due to net immigration and only .4 percent due to “natural” national population growth (the difference between births of 10.4 per 1,000 and deaths of 10.0 per 1,000). Thus on net, almost 90 percent of European population growth in these nations is due to immigration. In nine countries (including Germany and Italy) natural population growth was negative early in the new century, with immigration being the only gross and net source of population increase. In nineteen of twenty-five nations, immigration was the largest source of population growth. Only three countries in Europe show population growth of greater than 1 percent per year (10 per 1000): Cyprus (21.7), Spain (15.6), and Ireland (15.4). It is no great secret that these are among the strongest economies in the European Union. All three nations show not only large natural population growth, but also the largest

Table 1.1 Population figures for Europe in 2003 (per 1,000 inhabitants)

CountryBirthsDeathsNatural population growthNet migrationTotal increase

EU 2510.410.
United Kingdom11.710.
Czech Republic9.210.9−

Source: Eurostat (2004).

positive net migration flows. And since 2003, we expect that immigration has increased in importance in all of these nations. Were it not for immigration, very few European nations would exhibit positive population growth.

   If immigration has already been very important on the ground in Europe for some time, in a broader perspective immigration is all “new” to the “old” Europe. Unlike the United States, Canada, or Australia, European populations have never thought of themselves as “countries of immigration.” For many Europeans, to bolster social programs and economic growth through immigration could be to lose their nation and Europe as they know it. A further complication unique to Europe lies in its unprecedented “institutional growth project” at the regional level, as European states find their freedom to rework national compromises and policies limited by the cumbersome, complex, quasi-federal framework of the European Union (EU).

   This collection of papers aims to help students and scholars understand the nature of the immigration challenge in Europe, and how Europeans are beginning to grapple with the issues that arise in this process. Our goal is to offer an accessible and comprehensive insertion point into the vast literature on this subject. Like most scholarship, work on migration is largely balkanized into internal exchanges between sociologists, political scientists, demographers, economists, or historians. There are good reasons for this: the complex processes and consequences of migration cannot be studied in their full depth in all areas of inquiry at one time. And the various disciplines use different tools and terms to capture different elements of the subject matter. But such a division of labor has the often-lamented cost of fragmenting information and analysis. The cost is particularly heavy for students and for more practical, policy-oriented readers, who lack the time or expertise to trace and relate the many strands of academic thinking.

   Several recent books help to reduce this fragmentation in various ways. They offer interdisciplinary surveys of migration theories (Brettell and Hollifield 2000), broad overviews of migration by region (Massey et al. 1998), interdisciplinary perspectives on particular facets of migration like border-control policies or education (Guiraudon and Joppke 2001; Luchtenberg 2004), or exhaustive surveys of all migration-related research on a single country (Suárez-Orozco et al. 2001). Our strategy, by contrast, is to assemble an empirical picture of migration-related trends in Europe by offering a series of focused disciplinary papers covering most of the relevant topics in the European arena.

   In order to accomplish this goal, we asked experts across the disciplines to choose the appropriate mix of pan-European data or cross-national comparisons to best display what their research agenda can tell us about immigration and integration in Europe. The disadvantage of this approach is that we may reproduce conceptual disciplinary divides, though several joint meetings helped prepare and focus more widely on the larger topics at hand. The advantages are that this one volume brings a variety of theoretical and conceptual tools to bear on Europe’s complex transition, and that it provides a point of access from which readers can enter more deeply into the many strands of the literature in classes or further reading.

   This introductory chapter outlines just how unique today’s European transition is in both a comparative and an historical perspective. At a broad level we chart quantitatively and qualitatively how recent immigration and minority populations in Europe compare to those in other industrialized nations and in Europe’s own past experience. Then we offer an overview of how the chapters provide more detailed cuts into immigration and public policy in the contemporary European landscape.

What is special about recent European immigration?

International migration is at an all-time high in absolute terms, with more than 200 million people living outside their country of nationality (United Nations 2002). Nearly one in ten residents of advanced industrialized states is an immigrant. Perhaps the most widely-read book on migration proclaims “a transnational revolution that is reshaping societies and politics around the globe” (Castles and Miller 2003). As might be expected, Europe is overrepresented as a host within this evolving transnational pattern, with fifteen million migrants among the 370 million inhabitants of the fifteen western European members of the European Union – roughly 8 percent of world migrants in an area with 6 percent of world population. Even classic sources of emigration like Ireland, Italy, or Spain are now major receiving countries; again, Spain, Italy, and Ireland have the three highest rates of inflow per 1,000 persons at the end of the twentieth century (excluding tiny Cyprus, see Table 1.1). From these figures it is a small step to the common wisdom that a rising wave of immigration into long-stable European societies has inaugurated a particularly difficult era of change.

   But we must begin by qualifying the notion that the challenges of immigration in Europe today flow from a simple quantitative rise in migration. The world migrant population in 1990 – a year of unusually high migration in Europe – was no larger as a percentage of global population than were migrants in 1965 (Zlotnick 1999). The proportion of foreign-born in most European countries is not very different from the eve of World War Ⅰ, and is much lower than at many points in the nineteenth century (Zolberg and Long 1999). Coherent data is difficult to assemble for stocks and flows of migrants, since European countries categorize immigrants, foreign-born, and citizens in different ways (Lemaitre 2005). To the extent that migration into Europe did jump in recent decades, it did so in a relatively brief burst in the late 1980s and early 1990s that has since moderated, rather than as an inexorable upward trend (OECD 2004). Net inflow into European Union countries increased by a third from 1988 to 1996, but in recent years the overall stock of foreign-born has changed very little (Salt and Clark 2000; see also Figures and in chapter 3). Between 1989 and 1992, the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) took in almost 3 million people – more than half of what the United States absorbed in the 1920s – but by the mid-1990s, these numbers had fallen steeply and in 2004, less than 100,000 immigrated legally to the FRG. While we have seen a more continuous but modest rise in European immigration from poorer countries (Pederson et al. 2004), and southern European countries (Spain and Italy) are now the largest recipients of immigrants, the popular impression of hordes of prospective immigrants from the South and East is considerably exaggerated. Many people from poorer countries do want to get into Europe, but not as a migratory movement that is terribly striking in an historical perspective (Sassen 1999). If anti-immigration policies are not as effective as their proponents would like – with illegal immigrants into western Europe estimated at around 350,000 per year, as opposed to approximately 480,000 that enter the United States (Passel 2005) – they still stand as very substantial obstacles to an open continent.

   The salience of immigration in Europe today is not, then, a simple story of crisis-level inflows from a swelling sea of international migration. Instead, the sense of profound change reflects the novel ways in which recent immigration relates to the make-up of European societies and intersects with other major (but often quite distinct) trends.

   Perhaps the most obvious way in which the immigration of recent (and likely future) decades stands out from previous European experience is that it includes many more non-European, non-white, non-Christian people than ever before (notwithstanding traditional colonial migration into countries such as Britain, France, and the Netherlands). Integration of Africans and Asians is commonly perceived as even more difficult than the earlier acceptance of migrants from southern or eastern Europe. Yet experts often point out that earlier waves of Poles, Jews, Italians, or Portuguese confronted broadly similar perceptions of cultural difference, and arguably provoked similar levels of anxiety and conflict (Zolberg and Long 1999). Within two or three generations these immigrants typically came to be seen, and to see themselves, as well integrated. Economic studies suggest that after two or three generations, the children and grandchildren of most foreign-born assume the labor force and earnings patterns of natives (Chiswick and Hatton 2002). Still, it is certainly debatable just how much heterogeneity can be accommodated by liberal European societies, and academics disagree sharply on how much they see integrative policies as successful so far, vis-à-vis extra-European immigrants (Brubaker 2001; Alba and Nee 2003; Joppke and Morawska 2003; Mitchell 2004). But it is plausible that if sheer cultural difference were the sole challenge, the integrative record of European states would support optimistic expectations for the newest arrivals.

   Another distinctive facet of postwar immigration points to greater pessimism. Recent waves of non-European immigration arguably represent more clearly unintended – and often explicitly undesired – processes than did earlier inflows. At no point did substantial groups or policy-makers in Europe intend for most of these postwar immigrants to settle permanently. This is not to say that earlier immigration in Europe or into other industrialized nations has often flowed from intentional, explicit calls for migrant settlement, but much recent immigration into Europe stands out as very much the reverse. Significant migration into postwar Europe began with labor migration in the 1950s, with male workers brought in on temporary contracts. These Gastarbeiter were seen not as prospective citizens but as filling a passing need in labor markets. By the 1970s, however, large numbers of workers had not returned home, and they increasingly brought in families to establish full-fledged communities in European cities. Far from reflecting pro-settlement public policies, it was non-majoritarian institutions – constitutional guarantees of human rights and courts – that protected this movement against restrictions by elected officials (Joppke 2000; Guiraudon 2000). Together with similar dynamics in the politically-salient realm of asylum-seekers, and with the gradual rise in illegal immigration, this background strengthens the grounds for democratic (or, more negatively, “populist”) challenges to integration and further immigration. Whatever their legal commitments to tolerance and social capacity for long-term integration, European people generally did not actively choose to let recent migrants in.

   In addition to this contested history, many recent and future European immigrants confront a particularly unhelpful global context since September 11, 2001 (and the Madrid bombings of March 11, 2004). In terms of their internal principles and institutions, European societies might be able to incorporate non-European minorities as they have earlier migrants – even given occasional populist outbursts to the contrary. How well they can do so with large numbers of Muslim immigrants in a global context of a Muslim-focused “war on terror” is another question altogether. The Muslim population in the European Union (Table 1.2) is now almost 15 million, with 6 million in France (roughly 10 percent of the population), 3 million in Germany (3.7 percent) and 1.5 million in the United Kingdom (2.5 percent). Their degree of integration varies widely, and these numbers include many third- or fourth-generation Muslims who feel more at home in Europe than anywhere else. But the context of conflict around Islamic

Table 1.2 Rough estimates of Muslim population, by country

CountryTotal population in 2003 (millions)Muslim population in 2003 (millions)Percent of population that is Muslim in 2003

United Kingdom59.201.482.50

Source: (2005), collected from a variety of open government and other sources.

fundamentalism means that many Europeans are less inclined to be welcoming to Muslims overall, and at least some Muslims may be less inclined to want to integrate (Joppke and Morawska 2003). Rising sentiment against Islam in the long-tolerant Netherlands, for example, where Muslims are now more than 5 percent of the population, suggests that security concerns involving only a tiny fraction of migrants can alter the entire atmosphere for integration.

   The general economic malaise of continental Europe adds another special challenge for recent and future immigrants. It is a historical coincidence that in the 1970s, just as postwar non-European immigrant communities were becoming visibly established, the postwar economic boom ended and most western European countries began to suffer a seemingly ineluctable rise of unemployment. In the 1980s, this coincidence translated into a core theme of rising anti-immigrant extremism, perhaps most famously displayed in Jean Marie Le Pen’s formula in France, “Three million immigrants equals three million unemployed.” When they are not stealing native jobs, say such critics, immigrants are draining welfare-state resources and contributing disproportionately to rising levels of crime. In fact, these claims find little support in economic research: there is no substantial “welfare magnet” effect in the distribution of migrants (Pederson et al. 2004). Immigrant crime rates mostly reflect their overrepresentation among the socio-economically disadvantaged (Tonry 1997). Yet such arguments remain politically resonant in a broad climate of economic insecurity. Europeans increasingly fear that their “European social model” is too expensive and uncompetitive in a “globalizing” world, and see non-European immigration as part of a set of external threats that ostensibly undercut the hallowed class compromises at the core of their societies, rather than as a benefit to the mounting welfare state costs of an ageing society.

   Relative to earlier European migrants, recent and future arrivals confront issues like low native-born birthrates, less supportive economic and geopolitical contexts, not to mention claims of greater cultural distinctiveness and explicitly undesired routes of arrival. All these difficulties are exacerbated by an important political difference between European societies and the other rich democracies that have received large inflows. The percentage of foreign-born in most European countries has risen toward the levels of the United States, Canada, or Australia. But each of the latter countries has long defined itselfas a country of immigration. While such broad myths in no way rule out anti-immigrant public opinion, they make it possible to argue that further immigration – even on a large scale – need not unravel the national identity. Even in the face of fears about immigrants that are very similar to Europeans’ objections, these myths sustain rhetoric celebrating immigrants as a basic source of dynamism and entrepreneurialism in these societies. Such rhetorical space hardly exists in Europe. While European societies may not have as closed (or “ethnic”) national identities as Japan, they tend to stand much closer to that pole than to the open (or “civic”) identities of the New World and the Antipodes.

   German citizenship laws provide the most famous example. Until hotly contested changes in 2000, German citizenship operated by jus sanguinis (“law of blood,” or inheritance-based) principles rather than jus solis (“law of soil,” or residency-based) rules. Naturalization was basically limited to immigrants of German ancestry. Thus, Russified Germans of the Volga region – speaking no German but claiming German ancestry – could easily obtain citizenship after decades of living in the former Soviet Union, whereas third-generation Turkish immigrants remained foreigners. While the citizenship regime in France, Britain, and The Netherlands has long been more liberal – more civic than ethnic in a legal sense, with residency-based routes to naturalization – this is considerably less true of widespread perceptions of “Frenchness,” “Britishness,” or even “Dutchness.” Some progressive European politicians may argue that immigrants are beneficial, or that they should be welcomed in the name of human rights and decency, but they do not argue that new immigrants are the lifeblood of their national identities.

Table 1.3 Foreign population by country, 2002

CountryForeign Population1(% of total population)

United Kingdom4.5
United States11.5

Source: OECD (2004).
Notes:Data for Australia and the US relate to the proporation of foreign-born persons in total population.

   The points we have touched on so far dominate current public discussion of immigration in Europe. The perceived challenges are constructed around the number of immigrants, the ostensible difficulties of integrating non-European minorities in ethnically-based and religiously differentiated cultures, their relationship to unemployment, and their connection to terrorism and crime. In general scholarly work (including this volume) tries to move away from the hyperbole which tends to accompany each of these challenges, often driven by the self-serving alarmism of relatively extreme politicians. Rather than adding to this, we instead stress that these challenges are not the end of the story. It is the intersection of recent and prospective immigration with even less directly-related trends that place it so squarely at the nexus of European futures.

The demographic and socio-economic challenge

As our opening paragraphs stressed, the most striking background trends are demographic. By the late 1990s, European fertility rates had fallen to the point that in many countries, net immigration was the sole source of population growth (see Table 1.1). The implications are still far from widely recognized. Not so long ago Europeans were preoccupied with the prospect of global overpopulation, and it was not until the first years of the new millennium that the imminent ageing and absolute decline of their populations began to receive much attention. But by then the demographic curves for the first several decades of the millennium were set: to put it simply, the people necessary to keep the population steady or rising in coming decades have already not been born. Fertility rates vary somewhat across Europe in ways that display some sensitivity to public policies, for example, there are higher rates in France, where maternity and child care receives greater public support (Table 1.4). They also respond to economic growth, as displayed in the most rapidly growing economies and populations of Ireland and Luxembourg. But even the highest rates in Europe are below the “replacement” fertility rate of 2.1 children per woman, even when the higher birth rates of new immigrant families raise these fertility rates above what they would be in their absence (Bledsoe 2004). And even the most optimistic experts agree that public policy can only affect fertility rates marginally and then only in the very long term (Demeny 2004). Europe has to confront the reality that it has already chosen a shrinking future, even at current or higher rates of net population inflow.

© Cambridge University Press

Table of Contents

List of figures; List of tables; List of contributors; Acknowledgements; 1. What's unique about immigration in Europe? Craig A. Parsons and Timothy M. Smeeding; 2. Europe's immigration challenge in demographic perspective Paul Demeny; 3. Migration into OECD countries 1990-2000 Peder J. Pedersen, Mariola Pytlikova and Nina Smith; 4. Divergent patterns in immigrant earnings across European destinations Alicia Adser... and Barry R. Chiswick; 5. Economic consequences of immigration in Europe Herbert Brücker, Joachim R. Frick and Gert G. Wagner; 6. Occupational status of immigrants in cross-national perspective: a multilevel analysis of seventeen Western societies Frank van Tubergen; 7. Immigrants, unemployment and Europe's varying welfare regimes Ann Morissens; 8. How different are immigrants? A cross-country and cross-survey analysis of educational achievement Sylke Viola Schnepf; 9. Immigration, education and the Turkish second generation in five European nations: a comparative study Maurice Crul and Hans Vermeulen; 10. Managing transnational Islam: Muslims and the state in Western Europe Jonathan Laurence; 11. Migration mobility in European diasporic space Jacqueline Andall; 12. The new migratory Europe: towards a proactive immigration policy? Marco Martiniello; 13. European immigration in the people's court Jack Citrin and John Sides; 14. The politics of immigration in France, Britain and the United States: a transatlantic comparison Martin A. Schain; 15. 'Useful' Gastarbeiter, burdensome asylum seekers, and the second wave of welfare retrenchment: exploring the nexus between migration and the welfare state Georg Menz; 16. The European Union dimension: supranational integration, free movement of persons, and immigration politics Adam Luedtke; 17. The effectiveness of governments' attempts to control unwanted migration Eiko R. Thielemann; Index.

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