On 1 April I chaired a conference of students around Europe on the refugee crisis, immigration and open borders near Subotica in Serbia, just by the barbed-wire fence that Hungary has erected to keep out refugees. The conference was used to prepare an exhibition at the Bozar museum in Brussels. It was a fantastic experience. Thanks to Guy Dermul and Ditte Van Brempt for organising it.
In an excellent piece on why Britain ought to accept more refugees, Jonathan Portes writes:
As Philippe Legrain from LSE’s European Institute points out in his forthcoming paper on this topic, welcoming refugees is not only a humanitarian and legal obligation: it is an investment that can yield substantial economic dividends.
Philippe Legrain, senior visiting fellow at the London School of Economics’ European Institute, said: “Welcoming refugees is an investment that can pay dividends as soon as they start working. With demand [in the eurozone economy] depressed, additional spending on refugees acts like a small fiscal stimulus. Looking forward, refugees boost the labour supply, and hence growth.”
Read the full article here
One consequence of the Paris attacks is that Britain’s renegotiation of its EU membership has been delayed. With the risks of Brexit rising by the day, David Cameron’s priority should be to complete the renegotiation as quickly as possible, declare victory, and start campaigning vigorously on the broader reasons why Britain should stay in the EU. My column for Project Syndicate
The horrific Paris attacks are shocking and deeply saddening. And when people’s security is threatened, governments sometimes need to curtail our freedom. But the measures taken ought to be targeted, proportionate and effective. Reimposing border controls (which would not have prevented the Paris attacks) and turning away refugees, many of whom are fleeing Islamic State violence, are none of those things. That is what I argue in my latest column for Foreign Policy.
China is a rising economic power, the European Union a declining one. So Britain’s future is best served by hitching its wagon to Beijing rather than to Brussels. As last week’s high-profile visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping shows, Britain can prosper as a global trading power outside the EU.
Not so fast. The EU accounted for 44.5% of the UK’s exports in 2013, China for a mere 3.4%. Whereas half of foreign direct investment in Britain comes from the rest of the EU, Chinese FDI is still tiny. So Britain’s economic relationship with China is not going to be a substitute for its ties with the EU any time soon. Nor should it ever be: because the two are in fact complementary. The much-heralded new “golden decade” for relations between Britain and China highlights how EU membership is not an impediment to doing business globally. On the contrary: Britain’s membership of the EU is part of its appeal to China, as President Xi himself emphasised. So Britain doesn’t need to choose between being European or global: it can – and should – be both.
My latest for CapX