Immigration and its Discontents: European Elections and Future Policy
Demetrios G. Papademetriou, Senior Distinguished Fellow and President Emeritus, MPI; and President, MPI Europe
Benjamin Haddad, Research Fellow, Hudson Institute
Natalia Banulescu-Bogdan, Associate Director, International Program, MPI
Public anxiety about immigration and the fast pace of social change has reached a boiling point in many parts of Europe, contributing (in part) to the ascent of populist far-right parties. The strong showing of Geert Wilders' right-wing, anti-Islam Party for Freedom (PVV) in the March 2017 Dutch elections, along with the increasing strength of Marine Le Pen’s National Front ahead of the first round of the French presidential elections on April 23rd, have raised questions about why so many are casting their votes in favor of radical change.
While these votes represent citizen discontent with many aspects of globalization, it is immigration, concerns about the loss of cultural identity, and the fear that the nation-state has been losing ground almost irreversibly to supranational institutions that may be at the heart of the popular reaction. This discussion focuses on what we can learn from Brexit and the Dutch elections, along with the election of Donald Trump in the United States, and what these results portend (if anything) for the next round of contests in France, Germany, and elsewhere.
Will this trend continue? Will national and subnational politicians in countries such as France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Austria, and Belgium, along with the leaders of the European institutions, learn the right or wrong lessons from these upheavals? And if the power shift continues, what impact will it have on migration policy at European Union and national levels? Finally, how will governments manage broader public concerns about rapid social change, economic opportunity, and security in ways that can reduce public anxiety about immigration and the pace of change it has brought while also regaining, slowly, the trust the public has clearly lost?
On this discussion experts explore the implications of recent and upcoming elections for the future of migration policy.