On 17 November 2015, the Rafael del Pino Foundation organised the Keynote Lecture "The European Union and the migration crisis: how to act and how not to act? Donges, Professor Emeritus at the University of Cologne (Germany).
Juergen B. Donges is Emeritus Professor of Economics and Director of the Institute for Economic Policy and the Otto Wolff Institute for Economic Studies, both located in Cologne.
Professor Donges was Vice-President of the Kiel Institute for World Economics and Chairman of the Commission for the Deregulation of the Economy, set up by the German Federal Government. From 1995 to 1997 he was a member of the German Federal Government Commission on Public Sector Reform and subsequently Chairman of the German Council of Economic Experts.
Juergen B. Donges is scientific advisor to several institutions and trustee of several scientific and cultural foundations, including the Fundación ICO, Madrid, corresponding academician for Germany of the Real Academia de Ciencias Económicas y Financieras, Barcelona. - Member of the Academy of Sciences of the Land of North Rhine-Westphalia, Düsseldorf and advisor to the Rafael del Pino Foundation.
The refugee crisis is a litmus test in which the European Union's survival is at stake. To deal with it, Donges proposes that the EU should have a common immigration policy that distinguishes between people with the right to political asylum, people in need of humanitarian aid and economic migrants. "We cannot open the doors to everyone who wants to come. Merkel has made a mistake here. In this way, Juergen B. Donges, Emeritus Professor of Economics and Director of the Institute for Economic Policy and the Otto Wolff Institute for Economic Studies at the University of Cologne, summed up his views on the migration crisis facing the European Union. According to Donges, for the EU, this crisis is a test of fire without historical precedent and much more demanding than the management of the Greek crisis, to the point that "the survival of the European Union is at stake if we do not act appropriately". Professor Donges recalled that refugees are not a homogeneous group, but fit into one of three categories: people persecuted for reasons of politics, religion or race, who are the only ones entitled to political asylum; people fleeing situations of war or Islamic terrorism, who do not have the right to asylum but who are helped for humanitarian reasons; and people migrating for economic reasons. This is the most important group of all. According to Donges, governments need to make an effort to distinguish which group the migrants belong to, and he pointed out that in the case of economic migrants, people have the right to leave their country of origin, but not to be received in the country of their choice. Emigration has economic consequences. Donges pointed out, firstly, the cost of immigration to host countries in the form of accommodation, subsistence income, public services, etc. In this sense, the migratory crisis that the European Union is experiencing poses a danger to the fulfilment of fiscal adjustment objectives by the different governments, some of which are already beginning to use the excuse of the crisis to relax them. For Donges, this means "a relapse into the behaviours that led us into the crisis". However, immigration also has positive effects. In the short term, this additional public spending, plus consumption, plus the private investments that are put in place expand domestic demand. Dongres put the contribution to Germany's economic growth in 2015 and 2016 of the flood of immigrants it is receiving at two tenths of a percentage point. In the medium term, host countries stand to gain insofar as the refugees have professional qualifications because they would increase the labour force and the number of social security contributors. The problem is that half of them have minimal schooling and contribute little to general welfare. The host countries, therefore, only benefit from the arrival of migrants if an immigration policy is implemented. In this sense, Donges advocated the existence of restrictions because the capacity to absorb immigrants is limited, especially in the labour market. Furthermore, a large number of immigrants who come to the European Union are not willing to integrate into the society that receives them, he said. For Donges, it is necessary for the European Union to adopt a common immigration policy because the pressure of the migratory wave is not a one-off event. This policy should be based on several pillars. Firstly, registering people in the country through which they enter the European Union, establishing, if necessary, economic aid to these countries. Governments must also distinguish between the three groups of refugees. In the case of persons entitled to asylum, countries' reception systems should have the same criteria. There should also be a system for distributing refugees among EU countries according to their GDP and population. In the case of refugees from conflict zones who receive humanitarian aid, the EU should define and regulate a temporary protection system at the European level, but without allowing refugees to decide on the host country. For Donges, this is unacceptable. Finally, in the case of economic migrants, Donges believes that there should be qualitative and quantitative limitations and deliberately selective rules. This document summarises what was discussed during the meeting held for this purpose at the Foundation. The Rafael del Pino Foundation is not responsible for the comments, opinions or statements made by the people who participate in its activities and which are expressed as a result of their inalienable right to freedom of expression and under their sole responsibility..
The Rafael del Pino Foundation is not responsible for the comments, opinions or statements made by the people who participate in its activities and which are expressed as a result of their inalienable right to freedom of expression and under their sole responsibility. The contents included in the summary of this conference, written for the Rafael del Pino Foundation by Professor Emilio González, are the result of the debates held at the meeting held for this purpose at the Foundation and are the responsibility of the authors.
The Rafael del Pino Foundation is not responsible for any comments, opinions or statements made by third parties. In this respect, the FRP is not obliged to monitor the views expressed by such third parties who participate in its activities and which are expressed as a result of their inalienable right to freedom of expression and under their own responsibility. The contents included in the summary of this conference, written for the Rafael del Pino Foundation by Professor Emilio J. González, are the result of the discussions that took place during the conference organised for this purpose at the Foundation and are the sole responsibility of its authors.