- on one hand there is very little differentiation in what we see, hear and read in the media between people who came here for work, family or asylum and on what their adaptation process to society has been and,
- on the other there seems to be no clear path in which a newcomer can eventually become a Finn, even if he/she (hän) is able to become a citizen at some point,
- which of course means that newcomers are depicted as dangerous or at the very least lazy.
Furthermore, I watched the presidential debate of a couple of weeks ago, and I have to say I’m somewhere in between what current President Halonen and ex-President Ahtisaari mentioned: yes, people should be welcomed to come here and immigrants are a resource, but we shouldn’t make the same mistake Germany and Belgium did with their Gastarbeiter programmes of the 60’s. Instead, we should be aware that first and foremost an immigrant is a person, and should strive to continue building our society(ies) together (after all, some of them might have invested a lot of themselves into their new place of residence after living there for some time, right?).
Therefore, it was very interesting to read Mr. Legrain’s book (for a good overview of his ideas, you can check out this interview at the Freakonomics blog). Even though I wouldn’t go so far as propose to open all borders indiscriminately, he does touch into quite a few interesting points regarding why the current system doesn’t work, what the current situation is and what do countries and immigrants need to do to adapt to each other, rightly pointing it’s a two-way street.
Let’s see how the situation develops with the precarious economic situation.