Policy brief

Will Ukraine’s refugees go home?

The way to help Ukraine will be to assist in reconstruction and not place artificial impediments to immigration of those who have already suffered.

Publishing date
27 September 2022
e

Executive summary

About 15 percent of the population has fled Ukraine since the start of the Russian aggression in February 2022. Nearly 4 million Ukrainians have already registered in European Union countries. Based in part on evidence that few refugees return voluntarily to poor countries once they settle in rich countries, even once security is re-established at home, it can be expected that large numbers of Ukrainian refugees are likely to remain in European host countries, and will likely be joined by others, including many men that remained to fight when the conflict is over.

Ukraine already has a long history of emigration. Its shattered economy, the likelihood of a protracted conflict and significant uncertainty with regard to its final status reinforce the argument that most refugees will not return and many more will join them. EU nations must prepare for. There will be large short-term costs and long-term economic gains from Ukrainian immigration in Europe. The best way to help Ukraine, and to moderate the likely outflow of its people, will be to assist in the country’s reconstruction, and not to place artificial impediments to the immigration of individuals who have already suffered greatly.

The authors thank for their comments and insights Piotr Arak from the Polish Economic Institute, Catherine Woollard of the European Council on Refugees and Exiles and Bruegel colleagues.

About the authors

  • Uri Dadush

    Uri Dadush is a Non-Resident Fellow at Bruegel, based in Washington, DC and a Research Professor at the University of Maryland. He is also a Non-Resident Fellow at the Policy Center for the New South in Rabat, Morocco and Principal of Economic Policy International, LLC, providing consulting services to international organizations and corporations. He was a co-chair of the Trade, Investment and Globalization Task-Force of the T20 and Vice-Chair of the Global Agenda Council on Trade and Investment at the World Economic Forum. His books include “WTO Accessions and Trade Multilateralism” (with Chiedu Osakwe, co-editor), “Juggernaut: How Emerging Markets Are Transforming Globalization” (with William Shaw), “Inequality in America” (with Kemal Dervis and others), “Currency Wars” (with Vera Eidelman, co-editor) and “Paradigm Lost: The Euro in Crisis”.

     

    Dadush was previously Director of the International Economics Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and Director of International Trade, as well as Director of Economic Policy, and Director of the Development Prospects Group at the World Bank. Based previously in London, Brussels, and Milan, he spent 15 years in the private sector, where he was President of the Economist Intelligence Unit, Group Vice President of Data Resources, Inc., and a consultant with Mc Kinsey and Co. His columns have appeared in the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Il Sole 24 Ore, and L’Espresso. He has a B.A. and M.A. in Economics from Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a Ph.D. in Business Economics from Harvard University.

  • Pauline Weil

    Pauline worked at Bruegel as a Research Analyst until September 2022. She holds a bachelor in Political Science and a master’s degree in International Trade and Finance from Sciences Po Lille. She also studied an MSc in Political Economy of Europe at the London School of Economics.

    Her research interests include monetary policy, sovereign debt sustainability, trade and the energy transition. Pauline’s two regions of expertise are Europe and Asia.

    She wrote a master’s thesis on the European Stability and Growth Pact by focusing on Greece’s adoption of the euro and its government debt crisis. And her second master’s thesis questioned the political and economic sustainability of the Franc CFA currency in the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) in the context of European integration.

    Prior to Bruegel, Pauline was a Junior Economist for the credit insurer Coface where she provided country risk analysis on Europe, working from Paris, and then on Asia, from Hong Kong. She also pursued the Blue Book Traineeship at the European Commission, working for DG DEVCO in the Directorate for Asia.

    Pauline is fluent in French and English and has a good command of Spanish.

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