Ethnic Relations in Europe

Oct 05, 2011 16:00

Prof Michael Parker Banton

Ethnic Relations in Europe

According to one recent study, European countries that have combined multicultural policies with a strong welfare state have been less able to integrate immigrants from outside the continent. Another has been equally blunt: `the US integrates migrants into work, Europe integrates them into welfare’. Within Europe, there are contrasts in public opinion: `Germans hold an unreciprocated set of negative attitudes towards their Muslim co-citizens’ … `The British are tied with the French for the most positive attitudes towards Muslims and the most optimistic view of the prospects for Muslim integration.’

Historically, European societies have been oriented to emigration rather than immigration. They differ from those of North America in other ways than in the provision of welfare. All nations have both an ethnic and a civic dimension. The balance between them varies, and it can influence election results.

Summary (by Serife Tekdal) Prof. Banton introduced the topic with David Cameron’s mantra, ‘multiculturalism’. He elaborated on European countries multiculturalist and assimilationist reactions towards immigrants integrating within the community. In addition to the integration policies surrounding immigrants, Prof. Banton included countries such as Austria, Germany, Sweden and the United Kingdom within the long list of countries promoting multiculturalist states.  Quoting from Hansen and Koopmans studies Prof. Banton underlines the matters surrounding the welfare state of immigrants and the problems arising, such as inevitable unemployment rates. According to Prof. Banton, Hansen’s recent studies conclude that ‘the unemployment rate of male foreign-born workers in comparison to native- born workers in Belgium, Denmark, France, Netherlands and Sweden are much more higher in figures than Germany and the UK.’ These statistics surely shed light upon the US migrants’ integration into work, in association with Europe.

Another interesting but not intuitive topic he discussed was a survey conducted by  Pew Research Centre on Global Attitudes, upon outlooks towards the Muslims and non-Muslims in 13 countries. The results were of a contradictive nature as Germans held an unreciprocated set of negative attitudes towards their Muslim co-citizens, yet the British and the French were associated with the most positive attitudes and undoubtedly, with the most optimistic viewpoint.

Prof.Banton did not fail to address Turkey, as he earmarked it as an ‘interesting case’ whilst dealing with  sentimental issues;Turkey’s political and historical background. Prof. Banton criticized the Republic’s minority policies on the basis that ‘it had no conception of Armenians and Kurds as national or ethnic minorities.’ and he further discussed about the progress that have been made for the last decade of the Republic. Amongst other things, he went further on to explain the social and current affairs in the EU, such as the burqa ban in France and Italy. He explained such acts of violation with a simple solution; “It is possible to recognise minority rights in law if they are formulated as individual rights rather than as collective rights.”

The Professor was critical of the policies in many EU countries that include a form of integration policy, as well as stating the impossibility of balancing differences and equality within the state.


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