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International migration growth heralds social, economic issues

20:01 | 30.06.2015 | Analytic

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30 June 2015. PenzaNews. The worldwide leaders must resolve the root causes of international migration or face new economic crises and armed conficts, writes Joergen Oerstroem Moeller, former state secretary of the Royal Danish Foreign Ministry, political analyst, adjunct professor at Singapore Management University and Copenhagen Business School, in his article titled “Desperate millions flee poverty, persecution and inequality.”

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According to him, mass immigration to the developed countries has grown abruptly, creating disturbances at the international level.

“In the large European countries of Germany, France, and Britain, a rough estimate suggests that around 5% of the population is born outside the country where they live. Pressures for more to enter is mounting. During the first weekend of June, crews rescued 3,400 migrants off the coast of Libya with media reporting a million more waiting to cross the Mediterranean. From 2005 to 2010 almost 9 million people moved to Europe. Elsewhere, 3.5 million moved out of Africa. In Asia, 618,000 left Bangladesh for India, 489,000 went from Indonesia to Malaysia, and 258,000 people left Kazakhstan for Russia. In the United States, more than 1.8 million arrived from Mexico,” the expert lists.

From his point of view, this sudden growth of migration rate was caused by several reasons, including religious persecution.

“So far, responses to such attacks have been feeble. Fanatics display an uncanny instinct for exploiting democratic societies’ preference for soft power over hard power,” Joergen Moeller writes.

He adds that presently whole nations and ethnic communities end up being victims of religious persecution, a trend visible not just in Syria but also in the South-East Asia where tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslims seek to flee the country to escape the pressure of the Buddhist majority.

As the author stresses, the situation is very much grim. Only over the first three months of 2015 more than 25,000 Muslims fled Myanmar. Moreover, they do not have citizenship as the government considers them ethnic Bangladeshi citizens who are illegally occupying the Rakhine state in the country.

“Many tried to enter Malaysia, where concerns had been expressed about the humanitarian crisis. […] After some hesitation, Malaysia and Indonesia eventually offered temporary shelter while at the same time joining force with Thailand and signaling to Myanmar that its behavior did not conform with the spirit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. All four nations are members of ASEAN,” Joergen Moeller explains.

Moreover, in his opinion, other events also factor in the current migration situation, such as natural disasters, armed conflicts and other reasons that push people to emigrate.

“The pressure against Europe from Africa, the United States from Latin America, and Russia from Central Asia is motivated by the lure of higher living standards. Comparisons with developed countries – readily apparent with globalization of communications and transportation – compound feelings of unacceptable inequality and unfairness,” the Danish political analyst states.

According to him, it is the social and economic inequality that increased manifold over the last few years that is the leading reason behind international migration growth.

“The statistic that 1 percent of the wealthiest Americans take 97 percent of income growth is alarming, but more threatening are reports that elites in emerging markets and developing economies transfer money out of their home countries to wealthier places. Visible signs of this are evident in London where media reports suggest that wealthy people from Nigeria, Ghana, Congo, Gabon, Cameroon and Senegal have spent close to $900 million over three years on glamorous and expensive residential estates. The average income per capita of these countries is less than 20 percent of the figure for Britain,” Joergen Moeller writes.

“Elites from developing nations join forces with the wealthy in the developed countries, and the masses of poor are left to fend for themselves. […] Any hope of domestic economic development is forfeited when those with skills, competencies and money willingly abandon the majority of their fellow citizens,” he adds.

Moreover, the expert points out that many western countries became heavily dependent on migrant workers, such as the US, where cheap migrant labor helps keep wages down and supports labor-intensive industries.

From his point of view, the issue is soon to go global, and it is important for European officials to be the first to realize it as the economic issues have been at the top of their agendas for several years already.

Joergen Moeller concludes that the biggest threat comes not from the migration issue per se, but its two root causes: racial and religious persecution of minorities by radicals, and growing social and economic inequality.

In his opinion, the international leaders must agree to cooperate and act together if they seek to resolve these problems.

“Citizens must also speak out to reject false interpretations of religion and reduce recruitment. Religious leaders and mainstream followers must form a global coalition to act as bulwark. Too many leaders and citizens close their eyes to distant persecutions, allowing extremism to spread,” The expert stresses.

He also thinks that the leaders require a definitive program to improve life quality in several states to successfully combat social and economic inequality – a program that requires a long-term migration laws reform in the developed countries.

“The first step in a far-reaching policy effort is painful to acknowledge, but indispensable at least for Europe and possibly other rich nations: Huge numbers of potential migrants make an open-door policy unsustainable. The choice is between controlling migration now under somewhat orderly conditions or callous indifference to the suffering of others,” the political analyst writes.

He considers the moderate reforms in this area to be a necessary and timely step, as continuation of the current practices may soon spark new racial and ethnic conflicts worldwide, and Europe already demonstrates an alarming trend.

“A cultural shift has already infiltrated European society and hardened attitudes. European voters, without compunction, are increasingly abandoning the desire to emphasize policies that protect human rights and instead embrace political agendas that promote nationalism, isolationism and xenophobia,” the author states.

Still, he stresses that migration reforms must be accompanied by a financial support program that surpasses the famous Marshall Plan that saw Washington spend about $130 billion in today’s money to aid European states after the end of the Second World War.

Moreover, Joergen Moeller also thinks the developed countries must open their markets for the developing states.

In his opinion, such measures, however grandiose, will end up being more beneficial than attempts to ignore the approaching social and economic collapse.

“Trying to build such fortresses is sure to ignite partisan divides and bring down democratic political systems, paving the way for repulsive political movements that want to protect a few and enshrine permanent inequality. This would amount to renouncing moral standards and ushering in an era of political strife, economic disasters and armed conflicts – all of which would dwarf the costs of serious financial assistance and opening of markets,” the political analyst concludes.

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