The current refugee crisis is being discussed in almost every bar, classroom, staff room and bus station across the continent. The media coverage and public discussion on the current situation is colossal and different opinions and points of view of all degrees are flying around all of us.
The first point is the opportunity for economic growth. Germany has made headlines after accepting massive numbers of refugees and has gained worldwide respect and attention for the kindness and respect being shown at it’s train stations as hundreds of displaced people board off trains from Hungary. Germany is a country with an ageing population and future predictions show a small work force trying to support a huge retired population. This current situation gives Germany a huge economic opportunity. To attract refugees, huge numbers of whom are well educated, young and have language skills, is a golden chance to create a young workforce to prevent further problems with an ageing population.
Countries who are publicly showing resistance to accepting refugees could be shooting themselves in the foot should they ever need to try and attract young, working people from outside of the EU to try and balance their own workforces.
Another positive aspect is cultural diversity and change. Meeting people from different backgrounds and countries, who speak different languages, who cook different food and who have different perspectives, is what life is all about. We have Indian restaurants in London, Irish bars in Spain, Kebab shops in Germany, Whisky bars in Slovakia… new culture doesn’t mean that the current one disappears, it enriches what already exists. Let’s open up to the possibilities of all the new food and words and traditions we can try, and maybe love.
One Icelandic Facebook post surged through the internet and I am going to quote it because it captures my sentiment exactly:
“They are our future spouses, best friends, the next soul mate, a drummer for our children’s band, the next colleague, Miss Iceland in 2022, the carpenter who finally finishes the bathroom, the cook in the cafeteria, a fireman and television host.”
By Alona Cameron, Bratislava