The head of the German central bank or Bundesbank, Jens Weidmann, said Wednesday the influx of refugees is a challenge for Germany, but also an opportunity given its ageing population.
“Coping with the influx of refugees will demand a lot from Germany. But immigration also brings with it opportunities,” Weidmann told the daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung in an interview.
“Those opportunities will be bigger, the more successful we are in integrating the people who come to us into society and the labour market,” Weidmann said.
Given the demographic change in Germany, with a rapidly ageing population, Europe’s biggest economy “needs additional workers in order to maintain its prosperity,” the central bank chief argued.
Estimates put the number of qualified workers that Germany will lack by 2020 at 1.8 million.
Weidmann said that the German economy was currently in good shape, “but that’s not a given and 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 the ageing population, increased competition from emerging economies” and the switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy, Weidmann said.
As Bundesbank president, Weidmann sits on the policy-setting governing council of the European Central Bank.