The Refugee Surge in Europe: Economic Challenges

IMF Report
18 March, 2017

You might be interested in reading this IMF economic analysis of the refugee surge in Europe. It insists on social and economic integration of refugees, in particular through quick access of asylum seekers to the labour market. It minimises the negative consequences for the economic situation of native workers. Quite in line with previous economic analysis and contrary to what many European leaders are implementing, unfortunately.

To access the report in PDF,  you can click here: IMF Report

  ‘For its wearers the hijab is a core part of their way of life, linked to the way they choose to practise their faith. It is not up for debate’ Photo Credit: Martin Argles for the Guardian

The hijab ruling is a ban on Muslim women

Article in The Guardian
16 March, 2017

This week’s decision by the European court of justice to allow the hijab to be banned in the workplace is yet another sign of the continent’s obsession with how Muslim women dress.

The ruling states that the hijab can be banned only as part of a policy barring all religious and political symbols – and so framed in a way that doesn’t directly target Muslim women. Indeed, the Conference of European Rabbis was outraged, saying that the ruling sent a clear message that Europe’s faith communities were no longer welcome – and a number of religious communities, including Sikhs, will be affected.

However, there’s no doubt that Muslims are the main group in the line of fire. That’s why far-right groups across the continent were so delighted with it. “Of course companies have to be allowed to ban the wearing of headscarves,” said Georg Pazderski, of Germany’s hardline Alternative für Deutschland. “Even the ECJ votes Marine [le Pen],” tweeted the French MP Gilbert Collard, a Front National supporter.”Read Post

  Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands at The Hague on Thursday. Photo Credit: Jerry Lampen/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

A Dent in Europe’s Populism

Article in The New York Times
16 March, 2017

“Bucking fears that the Netherlands would be the next populist domino after Britain’s vote to leave the European Union and Donald Trump’s election in the United States, the Dutch turned out in record numbers on Wednesday to reject the anti-Muslim platform of the far-right candidate Geert Wilders. The Dutch election was seen as a potential bellwether for elections in France and Germany, where far-right populist parties have gained ground. But it is premature to assume the Dutch result signals the defeat of far-right populism in Europe.”

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  Not only headscarf-wearing Muslim women, but other working people who express their religious adherence through clothing and insignia could be affected by the ruling. Photo credit: Getty Images on BBC News' website

EU workplace headscarf ban is legal, says ECJ

Article in BBC News
14 March, 2017

“Employers are entitled to ban workers from the “visible wearing of any political, philosophical or religious sign” including headscarves, Europe’s top court has ruled.

But the ban must be based on internal company rules requiring all employees to “dress neutrally”, said the European Court of Justice (ECJ). It cannot be based on the wishes of a customer, it said.

It is the court’s first decision on the issue of Islamic headscarves at work.

The ECJ’s ruling was prompted by the case of a receptionist fired for wearing a headscarf to work at the security company G4S in Belgium. Belgium’s court of cassation had referred the case to the EU’s top court for clarification.

The issues of Muslim dress and the integration of immigrant communities has featured prominently in debates in several European countries in recent years. Austria and the German state of Bavaria have recently announced bans on full-face veils in public spaces.”

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  Refugees arrive on the Scottish Isle of Bute. The Home Office has announced a policy that refugees applying to settle permanently in Britain face a ‘safe return review’ after five years. Photo Credit : Christopher Furlong/Getty Images on the Guardian's website

Refugees applying to live in UK face being sent home after five years

Article in The Guardian
11 March, 2017

“Tens of thousands of refugees who apply to live permanently in Britain are to be required to undergo an official review to see if it is safe for them to be sent back home, under new Home Office instructions.

The new policy of reviewing whether all refugees still require protection five years after they first obtained asylum in Britain was quietly slipped out on Thursday and it is believed to take immediate effect.

The new instructions were foreshadowed by Theresa May in her notorious “chilling and bitter” 2015 Conservative party conference speech when, as home secretary, she made clear that in future those who secured refugee status in Britain were only being given temporary protection.”

Another terrible decision by British authorities, who have manifestly no clue as to what “social integration” means. How can anyone integrate when a sword of Damocles is hanging over your head, threatening you with another cruel uprooting? This will result in an unmanageable number of forcible return procedures, thousands of legal court cases, increased fueling of xenophobia, and an even more fractured society. Why would any government inflict upon its society such long term negative consequences, in exchange of a short term electoral advantage? The short-sightedness of such a policy is staggering.

To read the full article in the Guardian, please click here