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1 Chapter 1 Introduction CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION 01 Introduction Europe has changed its face in the last 60 years It has changed because of the unprecedented prosperity that the post war period brought because of the process of European integration which accelerated after the end of the Cold War and because of demographic changes Demographic change has happened rapidly in Europe bringing two related trends On one side European native population is getting older and it has for some time with fertility rates at the bottom of international rankings On the other hand development stability and prosperity have made Europe an attractive destination for international migrants European countries have transitioned from sending places of migrants to receiving places Even though European integration with the creation of European Citizenship law permits European citizens full mobility within the Union intra European mobility was extremely low from the late sixties until the two most recent round of enlargement in 2004 and 2007 Recchi et al 2003 From the 1990s however Western European countries started receiving a steady flow of extra European migrants Those migration flows were encouraged by labor demand coming from receiving countries changed demographic landscape and by permissive asylum laws which were later changed but let Chapter 1 Introduction 2 many migrants in For the first time after WWII European countries found themselves with the necessity to absorb and assimilate a relatively large population of foreigners Economists and social science researchers have long argued that immigration is a necessity for European countries given their aging population and still low fertility rates Messina 2007 If European countries want to maintain their comprehensive welfare state and generous retirement benefits economists argue they have to allow migrants in to replenish the ranks of taxpayers see for instance Borjas 1995 Without younger citizens to pay for the retirees welfare state

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