The New New Europe
How the crisis is reshaping the continent.
The Irish Exodus: With its GDP falling nearly 8 percent in 2009, Ireland’s emigration rate is currently the highest in the European Union. Between April 2009 and 2010, 65,300 people left the Emerald Isle, the most since 1989.
Back to Turkey: Germany’s economic growth has remained impressive compared to its European counterparts, but inequality continues to rise and lower-income workers have seen stagnating wages. This may be why, after five decades of steady Turkish immigration into the country, 38 percent of ethnic Turkish graduates from German universities now say they want to return to the country their families left behind. More than half claim they don’t feel at home in Germany. Some of this may be due to Islamophobic sentiment in Germany, but many are also looking to participate in Turkey’s recent economic boom — the country had the third-highest growth rate in the G-20 last year.
Come home, Poland: More than half of the 1.5 million Polish workers who left for Britain since 2004, taking advantage of the new freedom of movement under the European Union, have now returned home, according to the Migration Policy Institute. This shouldn’t be surprising: Poland’s growth rate of 3.8 percent was stronger than any country in Western Europe last year, while British unemployment hovered around 8 percent.
The end of open borders? In May, Europe’s interior ministers voted to allow countries once again to put emergency guard posts at some border crossings. The new rules mark the first major reversal in the trend toward more open borders that had been the signature achievement of European integration for 16 years.