Prosperity of EU states 'depends on multiculturalism'

20 Jun 2012 | Posted by Carl Thomas

The future prosperity of many EU states depends on them becoming multicultural, it has been suggested.

While being quizzed by the Lords EU home affairs sub-committee, Peter Sutherland, UN special representative for migration, told peers that the union should "do its best to undermine" the "homogeneity" of its member states.

The committee is currently investigating global migration and also questioned Mr Sutherland on what the EU should do about evidence provided by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development which showed that employment rates among migrants were higher in the US and Australia than within the EU.

The representative suggested that the answer lies in the different backgrounds and cultures of the countries, noting that the US, Australia and New Zealand are "migrant societies and therefore they accommodate more readily those from other backgrounds than we do ourselves".

He urged the committee to try to adopt this view and reject the "sense of our homogeneity and difference from others" that is still being fostered within the EU.

Nurturing multiculturalism within the EU will, according to Mr Sutherland, who is non-executive chairman of Goldman Sachs International and a former chairman of oil giant BP as well as head of the Global Forum on Migration and Development, explained that doing so is part of a the development of a "crucial dynamic for economic growth … however difficult it may be to explain this to the citizens of those states".

There has been some concern that the current UK immigration regulations will restrict the economic development when it comes to skilled migrants, making the recent comments particularly pertinent for the UK government.