European integration and the migration challenge

By Thomas Eisenhut*

**This blog post is part of the Jean Monnet Chair of European Media Governance and Integration series


The social relevance of the article refers to questions like “What is the heart of the crises?” and “What are the challenges? (eg. migration). Different opinions of journalists and researchers in the context of migration determine the public relevance. How integration could be influenced positively and to provide solutions for the future European integration process. More aspects, like identity, crises, challenges and especially migration were discussed for instance at the Funder Institute panel discussions.

New “Völkerwanderungen”? Claus Reitan is of the opinion, that the new “migration of people” brought about a distorted conceptual criticism. Reitan quoted from Robert Holzmann about migration “in which it is said that the poor never come in the context of the immigration” (Holzmann 2010: 6). Primarily, they are on the rocky path, and could afford it and pay the taxes. Altogether there are 21 million forced laborers within the world of shadow migration, according to Reitan.


There are also push and pull factors. On one hand push factors are for example population growth and climate change. On the other hand, security, social welfare states and the trend of migration from the south to the north are pull factors. With regard to the demographic development in Austria, journalist Reitan stated that there had been the following constant trend for years: “The autochthons are pro year to 70,000 births in about the same number of deaths” (Reitan 2016).

What can politics ‘do’? Mrs Delcheva argues that Austria is a rich country. So the question is how to integrate. These are individual fates. We would have to stand up for equality and democratic deportations. Those who are able to, flee from assassins of the ‘ISIS-terrorism’. In Claus Reitan’s opinion “we” can never choose who is coming into our country. The European Convention of Human Rights defines why someone is in need of protection. Conclusively, no one fled voluntarily from his home.

Andreas Unterberger’s analysis about the rescue in boats and all people flee, who have the money to do so. According to current surveys there is a no need for migration. This is what people want, believes Unterberger. The journalist and blogger is of the opinion that in the long-run every country should choose who is allowed to “come” or immigrate, which is shown in the Canadian model. He also said that the talk of population growth was a farce. He himself knows that for many years immigration has led to a higher population in Austria. About four decades ago, there were still about 7 million inhabitants. Now there are near nine million inhabitants. “Over time we are heading even in the direction of the 10 million inhabitants mark” (Unterberger 2016).

Heinz Fassmann is of the opinion that the travel distances are increasing. In general, young and dynamic persons migrate. The European asylum system should finally be implemented and provide for a fair distribution of the future immigrants (Fassmann 2016). Is there a social divide? If this is a matter related to the asylum seeker is discussed when askinf how an asylum-seeker would go out at the “Heurigen-Stammtisch” and whether the society would be split by this discussion. Mrs. Delcheva replies she could perceive this divide. This is clearly reflected in the social networks. The Facebook filter, where users only read what they expect and become immune other opinions. The “power of words” is never to be underestimated, according to Delcheva. Unterberger: “I see an emotional split between the media and society” (Delcheva 2016). However, Fassmann sees the split less and said that it is more about the distribution of refugees in Europe. In addition, he assumes that there will never be such an exception as in 2015 (Fassmann 2016).

Did the media mainstream fail? Blogger Unterberger, recognised a great loss of trust, which was triggered by the media itself. The established print media faced the existential abyss and therefore has tried to turn people around by deliberately omitting details in their reports. This is shown by the example of offenses committed by refugees, where their origin was only being mentioned in exceptional cases.

The press subsidisation system, which has only recently been enhanced, is currently securing the survival of the mainstream media and preserving it before the demo. The confidence of the population is there, says Unterberger. Delcheva agrees here with Unterberger about the media shaming itself. Good journalism today is hard to find and selling it even more difficult. “Fake stories are a big problem” (Delcheva 2016).

The new police strategy, which would have existed since the Cologne “New Year’s Eve drama”, encouraged a broader and more open communication of the press speaker. Print journalism is faced with the challenge of fast-paced life and new competition in the online segment. Delcheva also addresses the already existing hysterical and heated mood in society. Professor Fassmann is of the opinion that media could produce emotions with the pictures. This requires media ethics and provides social responsibility.

And scientists, should always ask themselves whether their theses are correct. Inevitably they have to be verifiable (Fassmann 2016). Loss of confidence in the population? In the course of the subsequent discussion, legitimate concerns were raised. “It is important that freedom of expression remains intact and we should listen to each other more,” Delcheva said. Good journalism always needs to ask. There is also a solution for the non-existent migration regime in Europe, a sort of “Marshall Plan” for Africa. However, if nothing happens, people will continue to migrate because of prosperity, good jobs and a better future than they find at home (Reitan 2003: 3). Professor Fassmann notes: “We already have an” immigration regime “. The state must be viewed separately from society, and in the future we should have a place free of culture, and religion.

* Eisenhut, University of Vienna, Institute for Social Sciences, Universitätsstraße 7, 1010 Wien, Austria, Telephone: + 43 (0) 676 3248695, E-Mail:


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