The migration targeting the European Union is a multilayered phenomenon with political, cultural and identity-related risks, the financial burden it imposes on the recipient countries shouldn’t be overlooked either.
Right at the onset of the migration crisis in 2015, research suggested that the annual cost in Germany could be around EUR 25 billion. Recently more accurate data emerged when minister for development Gerd Müller (CSU) said the upkeep of one million migrants costs the German state EUR 30 million. A simple mathematical operation shows us that including the remaining 700,000 refugees the figure is around EUR 45 billion.
During the 2005 French riots, economics professor Jacques Bichot estimated that the failed integration efforts of migrants cost France EUR 24 billion. Bishot’s data, however, were very conservative – manily due to political correctness – and the true amount was more like 30 billion. By 2018, this figure must have risen to around EUR 50 billion.
The remaining major recipients – Austria, Sweden, the Benelux states and Italy – together spend an estimated EUR 25 to 35 billion a year on migration, bringing the total to around EUR 130 billion or 1 percent of the European Union’s GDP.
But who should bear the costs of migration? Recent debates have mainly focused on national budgets, municipalities and the distribution of costs among EU member states. But there is another, seldom-mentioned factor: given that the main argument for migration is one of workforce supply – and particularly as applied to Germany – maybe the beneficiaries (i.e. the major corporations) should also bear the majority of the costs, as opposed to the taxpayers as a whole.
There is another aspect to the import of workforce through migration: given the low skill level of the migrants, western European industry has no incentive to keep up modernization and innovation, ultimately leading to a loss of competitiveness.
From this perspective it is understandable why recipient countries want the newcomer Central European nations to share this burden. But since they see none of the benefits, a lack of open discussion could further widen the divide between the two Europes.