For a transparent immigration policy
18 February 2011 One after the other, Angela Merkel, David Cameron, and and Nicolas Sarkozy have all attacked the assumption that people from diverse backgrounds can live happily in the same society. Leading the way in October of 2010, the German Chancellor made the headlines when she announced that "multiculturalism has failed" – a phrase that was reiterated virtually word for word by UK Prime Minister David Cameron at the beginning of February, and then taken up by Nicolas Sarkozy a few days later. We do not know if Berlusconi and Zapatero will follow suit, or even if they were consulted, but there is clear evidence that this amounts to "a European mea culpa," remarks the Moldovan daily Timpul, which adds that "after five decades of preaching on the issue of minorities, Europe now appears to have changed course." But has Europe given up on its ambition to set an example? Is it really ready to throw in the towel on this issue? In the past, multicultural policies were not really prompted by a conscious choice or conviction but by a sense of obligation and the need to integrate populations that contributed to national wealth.
In contrast, multiculturalism now appears to be in contradiction with national policies to the point where it even may represent a danger to national security. Some of the leaders who are currently deploring the negative impact of multikulti are also fond of emphasising an allegeance to "European values" – Christianity for some, and universal rights for others – that ought to be defended. Now that a huge number of Tunisians, who have just got rid of a tyrant in their homeland, are landing on the shores of Italy, the spectre of a wave of immigration that could swamp Europe’s capacity for the welcoming of refugees has prompted a panicked response.
In the light of this situation, a pragmatic approach is without a doubt the best option. Our leaders would do well to seek inspiration from a model of integration that works well in the United States, the model of "selective immigration,” with quotas for individual countries and professions, and guaranteed employment for new arrivals. A system on this basis, which is often cited in the course of election campaigns, would allow Europe to take control of migration flows in consultation with migrant source countries, and to establish a genuine European integration policy, in line with the standards for the welcoming refugees that Europe has pledged to respect.
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