Competition for the best minds
“Migration means life and progress; a sedentary life
stagnation” — that was how the world’s first migration
researcher, Ernest George Ravenstein, saw the matter in
the 19th century when he formulated his “Laws of Migration”.
At that time Europe had already experienced two
centuries of emigration and had colonized parts of the
New World. Today European integration and economic
development are increasing the mobility of EU citizens.
And the continent’s prosperity is making it increasingly
attractive for people from other regions of the world.
Nearly all of the EU countries, as well as Norway,
Switzerland, and Iceland, have growing immigrant populations.
In 2006 there were some 28 million foreign
nationals living in the 27 EU member states — that is,
close to six per cent of the overall population. First-and
second-generation migrants who have already assumed
the citizenship of their new home country are estimated
to account for a share roughly as large as the first-named
group. Even before 2004 all 15 original EU member
states had becomes countries of immigration. Today the
most attractive nations for migrants are countries that
were themselves once emigration regions: Spain, for instance,
where the number of non-nationals grew nearly
eightfold between 1995 and 2006. Or Italy, where the
figure tripled, and Ireland, where it doubled. Finland and
Portugal report having roughly 80 per cent more nonnationals
than they had in 1995.
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