Global Affairs

The biggest myth about Europe's migration tensions

The backlash against Middle East arrivals dominates the headlines but the bigger waves come from within Europe itself, and are reshaping the continent in profound ways

The backlash throughout Europe against immigration and migrants continues unabated. The recent anti-migrant demonstrations in Germany attest to this fact. So do the elections in Sweden yesterday, where demands to halt immigration and disputes about the alleged connection between migrants and crime proved to be the key defining questions in the electoral campaign.

But the reality is that the biggest immigration wave currently affecting Europe remains a silent one that few European politicians discuss: It is the mass movement of people from eastern Europe to the western part of the continent, an exodus of monumental proportions which will transform Europe in irrevocable ways and scar one part of the continent with social and economic problems for decades to come.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 10, 2018, with the headline 'The biggest myth about Europe's migration tensions'. Print Edition | Subscribe