Geopolitics

Europe’s Economic Gap Sparks New Internal Immigration, From Spain To Germany

Spurred by soaring unemployment at home and Berlin’s active recruitment of skilled workers, young educated Spaniards are heading for Germany like southern Europeans last century.

Youth unemployment is driving protests across Spain (Pepe Pont)
Youth unemployment is driving protests across Spain (Pepe Pont)
Freia Peters

Even though she's lucky to have a job in Spain, Julia Casado Marco wonders if she should move back to Germany. The young Spaniard studied in Mannheim and worked at a wine merchant's in the southwestern Pfalz region before returning to Spain three years. Though she unexpectedly found a job in Murcia in southern Spain, she thinks the real opportunity is in Germany, where the overall economy is much stronger than in her boom-to-bust native country.

"Spain and Germany may not be that far apart geographically, but we're very different," she says. "Longer-term, I want to return to Germany."

Many Spaniards have stories similar to Marco's. In Spain, even highly-qualified people are having trouble finding jobs. According to Eurostat, Spanish youth unemployment exceeds 40%, the highest on the continent.

So more and more Spaniards, and other university-educated young people from southern European countries, are seeking jobs abroad. And for them, Germany is a magnet.

With a shortage of qualified workers, German economists says that drawing skilled people from other countries is the key to keeping the economy on track. Germany‘s Federal Employment Agency (BA) expects the number of people of working age in Germany to decrease by 6.5 million by 2025.

Germany needs 200,000 immigrants a year

By 2030, Germany expects to be have a shortfall of more than five million workers, half of them university-educated skill level. Even if the country were to succeed in increasing domestic potential, there would still be a gap that can only be filled by skilled workers from abroad.

Germany's Federal Employment Agency is thus actively wooing young potential candidates from the European countries hardest hit by the economic crisis: Spain, Greece and Portugal.

The German Chamber of Commerce has begun organizing evening informational sessions about emigration in major Spanish cities. Interested Spaniards are told that the average starting salary for an engineer in Germany is 41,000 euros. Some 80% of engineers in Germany have permanent contracts. (In Spain, most people entering the job market are placed by temp agencies and are given six-month contracts). A career start in an engineering firm is recommended in Germany, and candidates don't necessarily have to bring German language skills with them: good English will do.

In June, 17,000 Spaniards applied via the European Commission's job exchange program for positions in Germany. In line with that figure, a Goethe Institute spokesperson says demand for German language courses has doubled over the past year.

Germany is also drawing young applicants from Portugal, Greece, Ireland and some central European countries, but the attraction has been strongest for Spaniards after German Chancellor Angela Merkel, on a visit to Spain in February, extended an invitation to young Spaniards to come work in Germany because her country had a shortage of highly-qualified, specialized workers.

Nowadays, in some Berlin neighborhoods, what is striking is how many people can be heard speaking Spanish. Entrepreneur Manuel Wagner noticed that, and, sensing a trend, in March opened a placement agency on Spain's Costa Blanca called World Wide Working that helps prepare for the move to Germany.

"A lot of them want to grab a backpack and head north right away. In fact, a lot of them do – and come back, frustrated at not having found a job and not being able to communicate with German people," he says.

Proper preparation is key, Wagner says. His agency creates a structured emigration plan for every customer after checking out their CV, professional qualifications, language skills, and personal circumstances.

Wagner wants to expand his services worldwide, but is presently focusing on Germany because that's where 90% of his customers are going. For the time being, his agency is unique in Spain. He works closely with Eures, the EU Commission's Internet job exchange.

For two weeks now, Adrián Lozano Zaplana, 24, has been living in Schömberg, a spa in the Black Forest. Zaplana has a Spanish tourism studies degree, and recently signed a year-long contract with the 3-star Hotel Krone, where he's working in service as his German skills aren't good enough for him to man reception. He's overqualified for the work he's presently doing, but Zaplana takes it in stride.

"In Spain, tourism is seasonal. Generally, there are jobs from April to September," he says. The rest of the year, he did temp work. Whether he'll make it past his three-month trial period on this job, he doesn't yet know.

But he's rapidly improving his German skills as he shares an apartment with the hotel's German chef. It helps, he says, that there are "no other Spaniards for miles around." That may be about to change.

Read the original article in German

Photo- Pepe Pont

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Queen Elizabeth II with UK PM Boris Johnson at a reception at Windsor Castle yesterday

Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger

👋 Hej!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where chaos hits Syria, Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro is accused of crimes against humanity and a social media giant plans to rebrand itself. For Spanish daily La Razon, reporter Paco Rodríguez takes us to the devastated town of Belchite, where visitors are reporting paranormal phenomenons.

[*Danish]

🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

• Syrian violence erupts: Army shelling on residential areas of the rebel-held region of northwestern Syria killed 13 people, with school children among the victims. The attack occurred shortly after a bombing killed at least 14 military personnel in Damascus. In central Syria, a blast inside an ammunition depot kills five soldiers.

• Renewed Ethiopia air raids on capital of embattled Tigray region: Ethiopian federal government forces have launched its second air strike this week on the capital of the northern Tigray. The air raids mark a sharp escalation in the near-year-old conflict between the government forces and the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front (TPLF) that killed thousands and displaced over 2 million people.

• Bolsonaro accused of crimes against humanity: A leaked draft government report concludes that Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro should be charged with crimes against humanity, forging documents and incitement to crime, following his handling of the country's COVID-19 pandemic. The report blames Bolsonaro's administration for more than half of Brazil's 600,000 coronavirus deaths.

• Kidnappers in Haiti demand $17 million to free a missionary group: A Haitian gang that kidnapped 17 members of a Christian aid group, including five children, demanded $1million ransom per person. Most of those being held are Americans; one is Canadian.

• Putin bows out of COP26 in Glasgow: Russian President Vladimir Putin will not fly to Glasgow to attend the COP26 climate summit. A setback for host Britain's hopes of getting support from major powers for a more radical plan to tackle climate change.

• Queen Elizabeth II cancels trip over health concerns: The 95-year-old British monarch has cancelled a visit to Northern Ireland after she was advised by her doctors to rest for the next few days. Buckingham Palace assured the queen, who attended public events yesterday, was "in good spirits."

• A new name for Facebook? According to a report by The Verge website, Mark Zuckerberg's social media giant is planning on changing the company's name next week, to reflect its focus on building the "metaverse," a virtual reality version of the internet.

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

"Oil price rise causes earthquake," titles Portuguese daily Jornal I as surging demand coupled with supply shortage have driven oil prices to seven-year highs at more than $80 per barrel.

#️⃣  BY THE NUMBERS

98

For the first time women judges have been appointed to Egypt's State Council, one of the country's main judicial bodies. The council's chief judge, Mohammed Hossam el-Din, welcomed the 98 new judges in a celebratory event in Cairo. Since its inception in 1946, the State Council has been exclusively male and until now actively rejected female applicants.

📰  STORY OF THE DAY

Spanish civil war town now a paranormal attraction

Ghosts from Spain's murderous 1930s civil war are said to roam the ruins of Belchite outside Zaragoza. Tourists are intrigued and can book a special visit to the town, reports Paco Rodríguez in Madrid-based daily La Razon.

🏚️ Between August 24 and September 6, 1937, during the Spanish Civil War, more than 5,000 people died in 14 days of intense fighting in Belchite in north-eastern Spain, and the town was flattened. The fighting began on the outskirts and ended in house-to-house fighting. Almost half the town's 3,100 residents died in the struggle. The war annihilated centuries of village history. The town was never rebuilt, though a Pueblo Nuevo (or new town) was built by the old one.

😱 Belchite became an open-air museum of the horror of the civil war of 1936-39, which left 300,000 dead and wounds that have yet to heal or, for some today, mustn't. For many locals, the battle of Belchite has yet to end, judging by reports of paranormal incidents. Some insist they have heard the screams of falling soldiers, while others say the Count of Belchite wanders the streets, unable to find a resting place after his corpse was exhumed.

🎟️ Ordinary visitors have encountered unusual situations. Currently, you can only visit Belchite at set times every day, with prior booking. More daring visitors can also visit at 10 p.m. on weekends. Your ticket does not include a guaranteed paranormal experience, but many visitors insist strange things have happened to them. These include sudden changes of temperature or the strange feeling of being observed from a street corner or a window. Furthermore, such phenomena increase as evening falls, as if night brought the devastated town to life.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

📣 VERBATIM

We still cling to the past because back then we had security, which is the main thing that's missing in Libya today.

— Fethi al-Ahmar, an engineer living in the Libyan desert town Bani Walid, told AFP, as the country today marks the 10-year anniversary of the death of dictator Muammar Gaddafi. The leader who had reigned for 42 years over Libya was toppled in a revolt inspired by the Arab Spring uprisings and later killed by rebels. Some hope the presidential elections set in December can help the country turn the page on a decade of chaos and instability.

🇮🇷🎓  IN OTHER NEWS

Iran to offer Master's and PhD in morality enforcement

Iran will create new "master's and doctorate" programs to train state morality agents checking on people's public conduct and attire, according to several Persian-language news sources.

Mehran Samadi, a senior official of the Headquarters to Enjoin Virtues and Proscribe Vices (Amr-e be ma'ruf va nahy az monkar) said "anyone who wants to enjoin virtues must have the knowledge," the London-based broadcaster Iran International reported, citing reports from Iran.

The morality patrols, in force since the 1979 revolution, tend to focus mostly on young people and women, particularly the public appearance for the latter. Loose headscarves will send women straight to a police station, often in humiliating conditions. Five years ago, the regime announced a new force of some 7,000 additional agents checking on women's hijabs and other standards of dress and behavior.

Last week, for example, Tehran police revealed that they had "disciplined" agents who had been filmed forcefully shoving a girl into a van. Such incidents may increase under the new, conservative president, Ibrahim Raisi.

Speaking about the new academic discipline, Samadi said morals go "much further than headscarves and modesty," and those earning graduate degrees would teach agents "what the priorities are."

Iran's Islamic regime, under the guidance of Shia jurists, continuously fine tunes notions of "proper" conduct — and calibrates its own, interventionist authority. More recently the traffic police chief said women were not allowed to ride motorbikes, and "would be stopped," Prague-based Radio Farda reported.

Days before, a cleric in the holy city of Qom in central Iran insisted that people must be vaccinated by a medic of the same sex "as often as possible," and if not, there should be no pictures of mixed-sex vaccinations.

✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger

Thoughts on Facebook's new name? Zuckerverse? Tell us how the news look in your corner of the world: Drop us a note at info@worldcrunch.com!

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