PositionMigration debate

An additional nuance has been added to the pre-enlargement debate about migration. While hysteria continues to disfigure discussion in some Member States, the European Union's training agency has provided new figures aimed to allay fears that current Member States will be swamped by waves of workers from the East.

"In the near future, the real increase in EU employment opportunities might well be centred on Central and Eastern Europe, rather than on the 'old' member states", speculates the Director of the European Training Foundation.

He claims that higher economic growth and the likelihood of foreign direct investment will rapidly make the acceding states a jobs hothouse.

And, he goes on, "the medium- to long-term prospects are better still": educational attainment statistics in the region are encouraging, public expenditure on education is high, and training of the current workforce is already at the same level in the acceding states as it is in Germany and France. The new priority given to education and training in the Lisbon Strategy gives further reason for optimism, says the ETF.

For the sake of Europe, rather than of the ETF, it can only be hoped that its Director is right. And already there are some grounds for caution about the ETF...

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