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Bundesbank's Weidmann on immigration

September 16, 2015

Bundesbank chief Jens Weidmann has called the current influx of refugees an opportunity for the German economy. He warned, though, that the integration process would not be easy in the years ahead.

Bundesbank chief Jens Weidmann
Image: imago

The head of the German central bank, Jens Weidmann, said Wednesday the current influx of refugees presented a huge challenge for Germany, but also an opportunity in the face of the country's ageing population.

"Coping with the influx of refugees will demand a lot from Germany," Weidmann told the "Süddeutsche Zeitung" daily in an interview. "But it also brings with it opportunities."

The Bundesbank chief made it clear that those opportunities hinged on a successful integration of the newcomers into society and the domestic labor market.

Stepping into the breach

Weidmann emphasized that given the demographic change in Europe's powerhouse with a rapidly ageing society as a result, Germany needed additional workers in order to maintain its prosperity.

Migrants hope to benefit German workforce

Estimates put the number of qualified workers that Germany will lack by 2020 at 1.8 million.

Weidmann warned that although the German economy was currently in a good shape, it would not be in such a comfortable situation forever, adding there was no reason "to rest on our laurels."

"The current recovery will come to an end at some point; in the longer term, Germany faces substantial challenges such as increased competition from emerging economies and the continued switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy."

Weidmann said migrants could play a crucial role in helping to meet those targets.

hg/tko (AFP, dpa)