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Migrants in European society: a day for celebrating diversity

International Migrants Day, which falls tomorrow (18 December) should be an opportunity to “see the person behind the migrant” and celebrate diversity, according to Anne-Mari Virolainen (Finland, EPP/CD), Chairperson of the Migration Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).

“Migrants benefit the whole of society – whether as scientists, doctors, restauranteurs, musicians, grocers, or au pairs, or in some other capacity. However, all too often migrants are unfairly portrayed in a negative light, when in fact the everyday experience of migrants as friends, neighbours and colleagues can be exactly the opposite. This day when we should reject unfair stereotypes and celebrate the plethora of positive contributions that migrants make to the societies we live in,” she added.

“As the recent PACE report prepared by my committee makes clear, this contribution can be economic as well as cultural, boosting the workforce and bringing new energy and vigour to a rapidly ageing Europe. Europe should be welcoming this influx, protecting the rights of those who come here and smoothing the path of integration for them. Politicians should also show courage and leadership in countering misconceptions about immigration and making the case that greater diversity can enrich all of us.”