Monday, November 20, 2006

Polish migration

The New York Times continues its investigation of E. European migration. This time it's the Poles. Poland is suffering severe shortages in labor thanks to the fact that over 800,000 people have left the country the past two years.
The exodus is believed to be one of the largest migrations by Europeans since the 1950s [should be 1850s - IE], when a wave of Irish crossed the Atlantic to escape poverty.

But in Poland, this huge movement of people has created a labor shortage so severe that the government may not be able to spend the money that is due to begin arriving in January from the European Union for projects like improving roads and the water supply.

"We have a fantastic opportunity to improve our infrastructure because we are due to receive billions of euros starting in 2007," said Bartlomiej Sosna, a construction analyst at the consultant group PMR in Krakow. "But how?"
So, what to do? Should the EU maybe reconsider sending all that money to Poland? I can't see the EU doing anything that will encourage those Poles who've left to move home.

The EU could encourage Poland to open its borders to hundreds of thousands of immigrants from Ukraine (a large Polish population), Russians and other non-EU E. Europeans. But, if Poland opens its borders to all those young, skilled Ukrainians, etc. where will Ukraine get people to replace those? Ukraine's population is already falling at a rate of .6% per annum. How many more young, skilled people can Ukraine afford to lose?