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Scandinavia Today / Denmark



Danish Professor attests that Eastern Europeans create more prosperity for Denmark

Thursday, 25 July 2013
Since the EU borders were thrown opened to the Eastern Europeans  in 2004, the number of Eastern Europeans that have moved to the Danish labour market has exploded. Despite fears from various quarters in Denmark about the effects of Eastern European immigrants in the job market, Professor Nikolaj Malchow-Møller says that the immigrants brought clear advantage for the Danish economy

When Denmark opened its borders to the Eastern Europeans in 2004, the flow of Eastern Europeans workers into the Danish labour market was made legally possible in the auspice of the EU law. As such today, they continue to flow into Denmark  and work in sector such as agriculture, construction and cleaning.

Their presence here has mostly been positive and its effect on Danish society has been impressive, assesses Nikolaj Malchow-Møller, who is a professor of economics at the University of Southern Denmark.
"Most studies show that the negative effects of immigration are very limited. Basically, immigration can actually help to buoy up our welfare state," says the professor to Denmark Televsion.

He explains that many Eastern Europeans fills the gaps in the Danish labour market that slowly grows larger, due to the declining number of working people as they increasingly retire.

"There is expected to be a long-term problem because we have so many senior citizens and thus have more public spending. Immigration can correct the problem, because there will be more to help," Nikolaj Malchow-Møller.

He continues that they are simply helping to make sure that Denmark can finance the welfare state, as they know it. It is a way to ensure that the country can afford because it get a better balance between those in employment and those who are outside.

According to the professor, there are also short-term benefits to reap when the foreign workers are employed in Denmark. With the increased labour creates a greater supply, which helps to keep prices down.

He also attests that it's a win for consumers. At the same time it exposes the Danish workers to increased competition. It may be hard, but it is a benefit to society in the long term, according to the professor.

Most studies show that only a small negative effect on wages and employment has been observed in the country as a result of immigrant labour.

The industry with the second highest number of Eastern European workers are agricultural and horticultural industry. Here some 15,522 Eastern European workers were employed in 2012, according to figures from Danish state employment office. However, the industry would have been hard pressed should there have been not this influx of Eastern Europeans, according to Nikolaj Malchow-Møller.
"I believe that agricultural sector would have had a difficult time if there were no Eastern Europeans. The farms would not have been competitive, as the Danes could not get the Danes to work on the farms, for example strawberries would not be sold at the a price people would want to buy them," says the professor.

The latest figures from the Danish jobs centre shows that last year there were 74,217 Eastern Europeans who worked in Denmark. That's 10,000 more than in 2011.
by Team

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