EU predicts 3 mln migrant arrivals by 2017

Migrants stand on the deck of the Italian Navy ship "Driade" prior to being disembarked in Messina's port, Sicily, Italy, Saturday, April 18, 2015. Italian ships have picked up some 10,000 people, many of them refugees of war and persecution, over the past week, an unprecedented number in such a short period. The influx is putting pressure on Italy's shelter system and raising calls for a better response to the emergency. (AP Photo/Carmelo Imbesi)



The European Union on Thursday said three million migrants may arrive by 2017 from war-torn or remote countries, adding the migrants would have a “small, positive” impact to its economic recovery.

“Europe is facing an unprecedented influx of asylum seekers,” EU’s executive branch the European Commission said in its autumn economic forecast for 2015 to 2017. “Overall, an additional 3 million persons are assumed to arrive in the EU over the forecast period,” it said.

The refugee influx, although bound to increase public expenditure in short term, will help boost the continent’s economy in the future as migrants emerge as supplement to local labor markets and help to promote consumption, EU Commissioner Pierre Moscovici told a press conference.

“The unprecedented migration flows into the EU during this year and next will raise the level of GDP by 0.2 to 0.3 percent above the baseline by 2020,” said the forecast.

“For member states with an ageing population and shrinking workforce, migration can alter the age distribution in a way that may strengthen fiscal sustainability,” it noted.

More than 710,000 migrants, mainly from Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia, have entered the EU over the first three quarters of this year, according to Frontex, the EU border agency.

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