Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Le Monde Editorial

Le Monde has an editorial today that uses the Swedish election as a jumping-off point for a reflection on immigration, globalization, and the fate of social democracy. The questions it asks are challenging, and good answers are hard to come by. Here is Le Monde's concluding paragraph:

Contrôlée, l'immigration est nécessaire au maintien de l'Etat- providence dans nos sociétés vieillissantes. Mais elle suppose un immense effort d'insertion qui n'a pas été fait. Il a un coût. L'Etat-providence à l'européenne ne survivrait-il qu'en en faisant moins dans ses domaines traditionnels - santé, retraites - et plus dans sa nouvelle tâche : l'insertion des immigrés ? La question a été posée à Stockholm.


louis said...

INteresting. We can agree that there is a part of the welfare state's operations that should be dedicated to the better integration of migrant populations. But isn't it going too far to think that there should be a shift from classical welfare state to some kind of arrangement directed expressely at migrant populations? Isn't having a functionning welfare system already concuring to the better integration of populations that, while being migrants, are before everything fragile, segregated, and poor.
Maybe a better functionning, "general issue" welfare state, and reforms in the job market to make accession to employment easier would do the job more than a migrant-specific policy?
I don't know, good points all over. Food for thought, when the European Lefts will be ready to do some thinking.

FrédéricLN said...

Sure. "Integration" is maybe not a matter of State budget. It was traditionally accomplished by working in firms, esp. industrial and commercial ones, that had strong and binding rules.

Now there are not many jobs in such kinds of firms (the French industrial sector is much more robotized than the US one). Many low-qualification jobs, or jobs you can get without any high-level social network, are in very small companies (les cafés...) or in the State sector or local authorities (cleaning the streets…).

In this last case, integration is very effective, and integration efforts by immigrants in this milieu are impressive; but in France, you need to be French to get such jobs, even most of those without "le statut de fonctionnaire", such as auxiliary policeman.