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September 12 2011 | MUNICH, GERMANY

Immigration/Security – Pompei (Sant’Egidio): “Fragments gone haywire turn against the destiny of coexistence”

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“The problem of living together does not only have to do with immigrants but also with the citizens of host countries: it is our problem as well”, according to Daniela Pompei in her speech today to the International Meeting promoted by the Community of Sant’Egidio in Munich.  
 “In the face of a destiny of living together, splinters gone haywire come from several sides to oppose it, believing to defend themselves from it”, continued Pompei, head of immigration policies for the Community of Sant’Egidio, pointing to the terrorist attack in Norway, the violent incidents in London and Europe’s cold reaction to the Arab Spring as symbolic of an unsolved thorn in the side of a “common destiny”.  “The future of demographic and economic growth or drop in growth depends to a great degree on the presence or lack of presence of foreign citizens. Migratory movements have contributed by no less than 60% to population growth in Europe. The demographic challenge for Europe is new and requires a common effort to counter the decline due to an aging population. The two population groups that increase most rapidly are the elderly and the immigrants, but they are the two segments that are considered to have the least potential”, Pompei added.
 “The immigrants ask loud and clear for integration”, said Pompei, “but are Europeans aware of the fact that coexistence is a primary and indispensible need for them too?  Is interacting, emerging from of isolation, communicating  with others not a need of the European elderly? Of London youths? Can Europe do without others for its future?. As Pope Benedict XVI said, can it dismiss itself from history?
To this end, according to Pompei, “coexistence is the most effective weapon and perhaps the only chance we have to recapture control of epoch-making phenomena like immigration…and, in the end, control of our own existence way too benumbed by fear”. 

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