Unless you do it …

As recent weeks have shown, the possibilities for Western European countries to accept refugees within a short period of time are limited. After a majority of citizens in Italy, Germany and other countries have accepted people from the crises- and war-torn areas in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan with compassion and proactive support, discussions are now underway as to how the refugees can be distributed over additional EU countries and how they can be housed and cared for.

There can be no doubt that we must accept refugees from crisis- and war-torn areas, from what is classified as unsafe countries. This readiness is neither naive nor sentimental, despite all the consequential problems this creates. It is humane, rational, and most of all realistic. Because the people are coming – whether they want to or not.

What has all of that to do with concrete? At first glance, nothing. But on second glance a great deal: For one, there is a lack of housing for the refugees. This is why construction of additional housing in Germany is now a topic of discussion. An opportunity, not least for the manufacturers of precast concrete elements. Why not offer simple, state-subsidized modular buildings – initial proposals to that effect are in fact known to the editors of BFT. Secondly, there is a shortage of skilled labor in many countries in our industry. By now it is apparent that not only Syrian physicians are fleeing to Europe, but qualified tradesmen and other skilled workers as well. From other industries we are hearing initial reports of successful integration of refugees in the production activities of small and midsize companies.

The refugees are here. And this situation provides new opportunities. But this demands entrepreneurial courage, ideas, and proactive support. As the wonderful saying goes: Nothing good happens unless you do it.

Related articles:

Issue 2016-03 Paul Wolff

Accommodation for ­refugees provided with six waste collection containers

In the Wilhelmsburg district of Hamburg, around 130 refugees from the war- and crisis-torn regions of Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan are currently being accommodated in housing modules that give them...

Issue 2017-02 Employment and Training

Integration of Refugees in Practice

“Young Refugees in Training” and “Refugees in Training and Employment” are the projects for integrating refugees into the training and labor market of both the Swabia and Ulm Chamber of Commerce....

Issue 2012-08

Campaign for residential housing

The crisis in the European construction industry is not over. If we can trust the current forecasts of the Euroconstruct Group, overall construction activities in 19 European countries over the entire...

Issue 2017-02 Potentials and challenges for the Labor Market

Refugee Migration in Germany

From a quantitative perspective, the 2014–15 refugee migration to Germany is historically unique. The majority of incoming asylum seekers are young: in the first half of 2016, over 70 percent were...

Issue 2012-01

fib Bulletin 60, “Prefabrication for affor­d­able housing”

fib Bulletin 60, “Prefabrication for affordable housing”, is now available for purchase from the fib secretariat. The need for housing has increased significantly during the last decades all over...