“Only by going to this city can the meaning of all the promises be realized. They have in common a quality of openness.” (John Berger, A Seventh Man, 1975). To a significant extent Europe’s future depends on immigration. This is because more native Europeans die on our continent than are born. This raises a number of questions: where will these future immigrants come from? Who is still attracted to Europe, and, who not? Can European societies integrate new immigrants anyway, and do they want to? Developments over the last thirty years have shown that Europe as a whole has changed from being a region of emigration to being an immigrant continent. But not all mobile people want to grow roots. This is why there are modern nomads – voluntary and involuntary 21st century nomads. And by no means all of those who remain for long periods, or stay forever adopt the life styles of their new homelands. A number of them remain with one foot in their country of origin and thus form new diasporas in Europe. In forty years Europe will be quite different to today for this reason alone. And this will change our ideas of what an European might be.
Rainer Münz (*1954) is the head of Research & Development of the Erste Bank in Vienna. He lives and works in Vienna. Since 2003 he has been the senior research fellow at the Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI). In 2009 he published the book Overcrowded World? Global Population and International Migration.