Immigration: Cost or Benefit? International debate in Budapest
The Danube Institute's debate on the current, historic wave of immigration on 22 September in Budapest.
International debate on immigration
Immigration: Cost or Benefit?
The huge shift of population which is currently taking place as tens of thousands of asylum seekers and economic migrants arrive in Europe from the Middle East and Northern Africa will have profound consequences for the future economic, political and cultural development of the continent.
Even before the dramatic increase in the numbers reaching Europe during recent weeks the total net increase in numbers of immigrants arriving in several Western states was running at unprecedented levels, while countries such as Hungary through which the migrants pass, were already experiencing mounting difficulty in processing applications for asylum and in providing temporary accommodation.
Politicians and public policy analysts differ as to the economic social and political consequences of large scale immigration. Those broadly in favour of admitting large numbers of immigrants point to the resultant increases in gross domestic product, the need to fill labour shortages in western Europe and to compensate for falling birth rates. Large scale immigration is also defended on moral and humanitarian grounds and on the grounds that it contributes to cultural diversity.
Those who oppose high levels of immigration argue that it lowers per capita incomes, places an unacceptable strain on public services, especially housing, education and health while damaging social cohesion; it is also argued that countries from which immigrants come can ill afford to lose many of their most enterprising and motivated citizens.
Do the costs of immigration therefore outweigh the benefits, or is the matter the other way around?
Continuing its series of debates on issues of contemporary interest the Danube Institute held a debate on this issue at ELTE University, Budapest, where opposing views were discussed.
Erich Weede, Emeritus Professor, of Bonn University
Anthony Scholefield, Director of Futurus, London
Attila Melegh, Professor of Sociology, Corvinus University, Budapest
Martin Kahanec, Associate Professor, School of Public Policy at CEU, Central European University, Budapest
Date: Tuesday 17.30 pm, 22nd September
Venue: ELTE University, Aula Magna (1053 Budapest, Egyetem tér 1-3. I. floor)
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