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Multiculturalism in Europe
by Atle Hetland
Recently I attended a seminar about migration issues at the Institute of Policy Studies, IPS, in Islamabad. Several of the speakers distinguished between multiculturalism and diversity. They seemed to agree with the German Leader Angela Merkel and the British PM David Cameron, both of who said that multiculturalism has failed. There is less integration between foreign immigrants and the locals than they had hoped for, and there are sometimes conflicts between immigrant groups and indigenous groups. They may be of different backgrounds but most of the time when they hold demonstrations, it is because they all want better jobs and improvements in quality of life. They want a greater share of common resources and more inclusion. Many of those who 'stand on the barricades' are frustrated and disappointed with their new homelands; they offer their participation, not only to get more, but also to give more. That should be taken positively.
The term multiculturalism has been used in Europe to describe the changing cultural composition of the populations. From being relatively homogenous populations with few immigrants in the 1960s, European countries now have people from 50 or 100 different countries, in addition to their old minority groups. In most European capitals, a quarter or a third of the inhabitants come from foreign countries, and a large proportion comes from developing countries. In addition, many have migrated internally from rural areas and other towns to the capital and other larger cities.
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