Christian Rostbøll in Politiken on refugees and migration – University of Copenhagen

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17 February 2016

Christian Rostbøll in Politiken on refugees and migration

On February 2nd 2016, Christian Rostbøll comments on the debate on migration and refugees in an article in Politiken. Christian Rostbøll addresses the claim that the Scandinavian welfare model is incompatible with a liberal migration policy.

There are two levels to this discussion. Firstly, there is the fundamental question of which values one wants to represent, and secondly, there is the discussion of what is practically possible. Christian Rostbøll points out that this second discussion is dominant in the Danish public debate and it is primarily at this level that a strict migration policy can be defended.

Rostbøll instead suggests allowing the first, fundamental question to have a greater role in the public debate. He points out that the basic idea behind the Scandinavian welfare model is that everyone should have equal opportunity to pursue his or her goals and live a life with dignity. If one accepts this claim, it becomes difficult to argue that we should close our national borders to preserve our privileges as they might be threatened by a large number of immigrants.

On the question of how this idea of equal opportunity can be pursued in a globalized world, Rostbøll says that it will be necessary to re-think the institutional framework that we imagine the welfare state within. In the long-term, we might need to reconsider our understanding of the sovereign nation-state as the center of a welfare state.

The full article can be found here and the podcast, where Christian Rostbøll discusses the same issue in “Det Røde Felt” on Radio 24/7 can be found here.