The Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration
In the postwar years the Western countries were very much concerned with the economic and political dangers arising in Europe from surplus population and the influx of refugees. The population problems of countries of relatively high birth-rate,1 such as Italy, Greece, and the Netherlands, had been made acute by the damage and after-effects of the war. Not only had these countries suffered severely from war damage, but oversea migration, which had provided a safety valve for their increasing populations, had ceased altogether during the war years. Political changes had reduced their ability to absorb their growing populations and increased the extent of the problem by causing groups of their nationals who had been established elsewhere to return home, frequently as refugees. For example, the loss of Indonesia considerably weakened the power of the Netherlands to absorb its increasing labour force and at the same time added to its population some 260,000 Dutch citizens who returned from Indonesia during the years 1946–54. Italy also lost the colonial outlets for its population as well as part of its European territory, and at the same time received over 400,000 refugees from these former possessions. In Greece the disasters of the war were followed by civil war which rendered between 600,000 and 700,000 persons homeless.
KeywordsMigration Europe Shipping Income Explosive
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