MADRID – The Economist considers it ‘a paradox’ that the political party Vox of party leader Santiago Abascal is performing so ‘particularly well in areas where farmers depend on Moroccan and African workers for their harvest.’
Considered a journalistic bible in liberal and conservative circles, the British weekly stresses in an article on migration that, despite “Vox’s racism”, Spain is a country that remains “welcoming” and “tolerant”.
The Economist describes Vox as a “far-right party”. One that “increasingly campaigns against illegal migration” after tensions in Catalonia as a result of the separatist process have eased.
The article is entitled ‘Spain needs immigrants. But does the country still want them?’ The subtitle reads: ‘An unusually hospitable European country has doubts’. The article mentions the paradox that Abascal’s party is doing so well in precisely those areas along the Mediterranean coast where farmers depend on Moroccan and African immigrants for their harvest. As is the case with red fruit cultivation in Huelva and horticulture in Almería and the Murcia region.
Vox does not have a monopoly on racism
The Economist highlights the ‘changing political climate’ in which Spain is immersed. Likewise, and while the article’s author assures that Vox does not have a monopoly on racism, there has been an increase in racist attacks, “although these are still rare.”
Despite Vox’s stance, The Economist emphasises that Spain is still a ‘welcoming’ and ‘tolerant’ country. This in light of recent surveys which showed that 56% of citizens view migration as ‘positive’. Despite this data, the British weekly thinks the country faces ‘a test and a choice’.
Successful integration of second-generation migrants needed
The test aims to ‘ensure the second generation of immigrants, who are now growing in number, are successfully integrated.’ Furthermore, the magazine describes the terrorist attacks in Catalonia in 2017 as a ‘warning’. Those attacks “were perpetrated by a group of young people who arrived from Morocco as young children”. Also, “more recent studies have shown a higher risk of migrant children dropping out of school.”
The choice is to admit more migrants
The magazine also explains ‘there are few high-level jobs held by African immigrants or their children. Therefore, there are few role models’. As for the choice, it is to ‘admit more migrants’. “Some say Spain needs them even more than most other rich countries. This is because the fertility rate in Spain has plummeted, from three children per woman in 1964 to 1.2 today. So in the future, fewer workers will have to support a lot more retirees unless Spain raises the retirement age or allows more young immigrants, or both,” explains The Economist.
Read our earlier article on an outside view of Spain.