In headier days, Europe’s leaders dreamed of a multicultural continent, its aging cities saved by millions of new migrants eager to join a stable, prosperous urbanity.
That dream has faded, with Europeans now opposing new migrationby wide margins.
In 2016,Pew Research foundthat 59 percent of Europeans thought that immigrants imposed a burden on their countries. In addition, less than a third believe immigration has improved their countries, with 63 percent of Greeks and 53 percent of Italians, respectively, stating that immigrants have made things worse in their economically challenged countries.
The absence of social cohesion has created cultural tension—discrimination against nonwhite applicants, notesone recent study, is far worse in France or Sweden than in the “racist” U.S.
For most of the past half century, European cities were remarkably crime-free, but in today’s immigrant hubs—notably in Germany and Sweden—crime rateshave jumped dramatically in recent years.
Though the liberal Austrian government saw little connection between immigration and crime, a2016 reportby the country’s new rightist government claimed that, out of the 500,000 crimes in Austria that year, 40 percent were committed by “foreigners.”
Cultural differences mainly drive the conflict between native Europeans and the new arrivals.
Despite the much smaller Jewish footprint, anti-Semitism in Europe is intensifying.
Violence against Jews, moreover, is worst not in right-wing hotbeds but in places like the migrant-dominated suburbs of Paris and Sweden’sMalmo.
Meantime, most European countries—even with current rates of immigration—are looking at a future of shrinking and rapidly aging populations.
Europe’s cities, even with the infusion of migrants, have grown only slowly, athalf the U.S. rate, and will soon begin to shrink. Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, Italy, and most of eastern Europe also must contend withdeclining demographics, with populationsaging far fasterthan the U.S. This will result, over the decades ahead, inmore severe fiscal pressuresas the workforce declines and the numbers of elderly soar.