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Welcome and Introduction by Hans-Werner Sinn



Welcome and Introduction to the 7th Munich Economic Summit 2008 CESifo Forum 3/20085 Introduction Welcome and Introduction to the 7th Munich Economic Summit 2008 by HANS-WERNER SINN President of the Ifo Institute and CESifo Ladies and Gentlemen, Europe is currently experiencing a huge east-west migration wave that resembles the Great Migrations (Völkerwanderung) in the 4th to 6th centuries. Recently, hundreds of thousands of Romanians have migrated to Italy and Spain. Eight hundred thousand eastern Europeans have been accepted as workers in Britain within the last four years, most of them com- ing from Poland. In the last two years, one and a half million Poles have emigrated, and overall probably more than two million since EU accession in 2004. On a smaller scale, the migration of Ukrainians to the Czech Republic, of Bulgarians to Turkey and of British citizens to Spain is worth mentioning, which all range in the order of some tens of thousands per year (Figure 1). Indeed the migration from Eastern Europe has been largely triggered by the wage dif- ferences. Expressed in nominal term, wages in Eastern European EU countries are currently ca. one sixth of the western German level. There has also significant migration recently to Germany, in particular from Poland, Turkey and Romania. Since Germany still restricts the immigra- tion of dependent workers from eastern EU coun- tries, most immigrants come as self-employed or eco- nomically inactive people. In Munich, for example, the number of self-employed tilers increased in 2004 and 2005, in the first two years after the first eastern enlargement wave, from 119 to 970. By 2005, Ger- many had absorbed 37 percent of all migrants from Eastern Europe. In comparison, Italy had absorbed 22, Greece 11 and Switzerland 8 percent, while the share amounted to only 3 percent in the United Kingdom (see Figure 2). In the same year, 13 percent of the population living in Germany was foreign born, more than that of Britain (10 percent),

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