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  • Them and Us: How Immigrants and Locals Can Thrive Together

    Keep “Them” out. Take back control. Build that wall. The heated debate about immigration is often framed as ‘Them’ (bad immigrants) against ‘Us’ (good locals). But immigrants aren’t a burden or a threat – and if we make the right choices we all can thrive together.

    It’s time to close the gap between myth and reality – and, in the process, close the gap between ‘Them’ and ‘Us’. OUT on 15 OCTOBER

  • European Spring.. Why Our Economies and Politics are in a Mess – and How to Put Them Right

    Britain and the rest of Europe are in a mess. Our economies are failing to deliver higher living standards for most people – and many have lost faith in politicians’ ability to deliver a brighter future, with support for parties like UKIP soaring. Are stagnation, decline and disillusionment inevitable?

  • Aftershock: Reshaping the World Economy After the Crisis — out now

    The financial crisis brought the world to the brink of economic breakdown. But now bankers’ bonuses are back, house prices are rising again and politicians promise recovery – all this while unemployment remains high, debts mount, frictions with China grow and the planet overheats.
    Is this really sustainable – or do we need to change course?


After the far right’s gains in the European Parliament elections, mainstream parties can either sit idly by or tackle the problem head-on, as French President Emmanuel Macron seems to be doing. Calling the populists’ bluff offers the best chance of victory by showing how their radical policies could backfire.

Read my latest column for Project Syndicate

Posted 14 Jun 2024 in Blog

The growing likelihood of an unhinged Donald Trump returning to power and acting on his threats to withdraw the United States from NATO should serve as a wake-up call for Europe. Instead of hoping for the best, European countries must boost their military spending and establish a robust defence union

Read my latest column for Project Syndicate

Posted 13 Feb 2024 in Blog

A Brexit reset?

By Philippe Legrain Add your comment

Boris Johnson won the December 2019 UK general election on the promise that he had an “oven-ready deal” to “get Brexit done.” But while the UK did leave the EU in January 2020, Johnson’s deal included a deeply contentious protocol governing the special trade status of Northern Ireland. British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s successful negotiation of an amended deal with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is thus a welcome development – one that could mark a turning point in UK-EU relations.

Read my latest piece for Project Syndicate.

Posted 02 Mar 2023 in Blog

Secondo l’economista britannico, nonché fondatore di Open Political Economy Network (OPEN), Philippe Legrain, l’apertura verso gli immigrati, oltre che ad essere moralmente giusta, è anche economicamente e culturalmente arricchente. Per Legrain la libertà di movimento, all’interno di un mondo sempre più interconnesso e globalizzato, è uno dei principali diritti da difendere e promuovere, perché solo attraverso questo principio fondamentale l’individuo ha la reale possibilità di definirsi nel corso della sua vita, non solamente attraverso gli standard culturali del suo luogo di nascita, ma anche per le sue reali capacità e doti personali. Nell’ottica di un mondo sempre più aperto e multiculturale, secondo Legrain, l’immigrazione permette inoltre un arricchimento sociale e culturale per tutti i cittadini di un Paese: l’arrivo di persone da altri Stati, infatti, comporta la diffusione di una più ampia dieta gastronomica, induce ad una maggiore creatività nell’arte e nella musica e consente un allargamento delle relazioni sociali che stimola l’innovazione e la conoscenza del mondo. L’immigrazione, insomma, non comporta la sostituzione della cultura nativa con quella degli “stranieri”, bensì l’integrazione e l’arricchimento di entrambe.

Leggi l’articolo di Daniele Cornia.

Posted 08 Jul 2021 in Blog

“L’immigration est aujourd’hui, sans doute, le sujet le plus controversé dans les pays occidentaux. Nos sociétés (relativement) ouvertes et libérales sont menacées par des personnes qui rendent responsables les étrangers en général, et les immigrés en particulier, pour tout ce qui selon eux ne va pas dans nos vies et sociétés” écrit Philippe Legrain dans Them and us. Alors que le rejet de l’immigration a été le moteur du populisme comme du vote pour le Brexit, cet essayiste britannique, ancien journaliste à The Economist et conseiller de José Manuel Barroso à la Commission européenne, livre un plaidoyer assumé. 

Merci, Thomas Mahler. Lisez son article sur le site de l’Express.

Posted 08 Jul 2021 in Blog

“Them and Us: How immigrants and locals can thrive together” won the Diversity, Inclusion and Equality award at the Business Book Awards last night.

Thank you so much!

Posted 26 May 2021 in Blog

“Them and Us” by Philippe Legrain, a former Economist journalist, sets out the benefits of migration and asks how newcomers and locals can get along better. “Wretched Refuse?” by Alex Nowrasteh and Benjamin Powell, a think-tanker and an academic, asks a crucial question: might immigration from poor, corrupt countries undermine the institutions of rich, well-governed ones?

Mr Legrain’s book is the more accessible: though underpinned by scholarship it is chatty, entertaining and full of anecdotes, such as the one with which this review begins. He breezily rebuts popular arguments for closed borders, and turns populist slogans upside down.

Thank you, Robert Guest.

Read the full review. Find out more about Them and Us.

Posted 28 Jan 2021 in Blog

“A full-throated defence of open borders and freedom of movement could easily feel too late at a time when Home Office officials looked at shipping asylum seekers to distant islands. Legrain’s work is anything but: it makes a solid rebuttal against the polemics of anti-immigrant talking heads with an unabashedly positive case for immigration grounded in facts, and ends with practical advice for resistance.”

Thank you, Siddharth Venkataramakrishnan.

Read the review in full.

Read more about Them and Us.

Posted 30 Nov 2020 in Blog

Two promising #COVID19 vaccines, with immigrants to thank for both.

BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine has been developed by a Turkish migrant to Germany.

Moderna was co-founded by Canadian biologist and Lebanese-born scientist and investor.

So much for nativists who claim immigrants have nothing to contribute.

Read my latest for Foreign Policy

Posted 17 Nov 2020 in Blog

Far-right populism is not dead, but it can be defeated.

Are Europeans up to the task?

Read my latest for Project Syndicate

Posted 16 Nov 2020 in Blog

How will society change after the coronavirus pandemic?

The adoption of digital technologies has advanced in leaps and bounds, but it is still implausible that this spells the end of the office or the demise of business travel, let alone the decline of cities, which may rather become younger and more liveable. Perhaps the biggest question mark is how politicians will respond to post-crisis demands for a fairer society.

Read my latest for Brussels Times.

Posted 23 Jul 2020 in Blog

It’s economically significant and politically beneficial, but it leaves the eurozone’s deeper problems unresolved.

Read my latest for Project Syndicate

Posted 23 Jul 2020 in Blog

Eurozone finance ministers have finally agreed a package of measures to respond to the coronavirus crisis. But in the face of an unprecedented medical and economic emergency, it is inadequate. What the eurozone needs is a large, temporary coronavirus Marshall Plan, funded by common debt that the ECB would buy and hold for the foreseeable future. 

Read my latest for Project Syndicate.

Posted 10 Apr 2020 in Blog

As Europe faces an unprecedented coronavirus crisis that is so far hitting Italy and Spain particularly hard and is straining the EU to breaking point, an exceptional “corona bond” would provide the fiscal firepower to support stricken businesses and workers and demonstrate European solidarity. If not now, when?

Read my latest for Brussels Times

My piece was quoted by Ishaan Tharoor in the Washington Post as follows:

The coronabonds, wrote economist Philippe Legrain, would “give the eurozone greater geopolitical reach and provide greater protection against President Donald Trump’s abuse of the dominance of the US dollar for harmful political ends.” It would also prove that “European solidarity exists,” according to Legrain.

Posted 02 Apr 2020 in Blog

What might the coronavirus crisis entail for the future of globalisation?

Philippe Legrain, founder of international think tank the Open Political Economy Network and a former economic adviser to the president of the European Commission, is not confident the current crisis will lead to any renewed commitment to globalization.

He believes the international response has been much less coordinated compared with that to the global financial crisis, when the G20 came up with an unprecedented rescue package.

“There has been very little international cooperation during this crisis. Most governments have acted unilaterally. Even within the European Union, countries have failed to respond to Italy’s urgent request for medical supplies, although China did,” he said.

“The closure of borders, the restrictions on trade-such as India’s with pharmaceutical exports-and the perception of foreigners as vectors of disease are all creating more national economies and more nationalistic politics.”

Later, I discuss the potential for new forms of globalisation.

“Globalization exists in a political context. In the 19th century, it largely took place within European empires. In the 20th century, it took place through US-backed international institutions, and in the 21st century, it may exist within China-centered institutions such as the BRI,” he said.

Read the piece.

Posted 31 Mar 2020 in Blog

Until recently, most policymakers and investors remained complacent about the potential economic impact of the coronavirus crisis.

Now they realise that it is generating a global shock, which may be sharp—but which most still expect to be short.

But what if the economic disruption has an enduring impact? Could the coronavirus pandemic even be the nail in the coffin for the current era of globalisation?

Read my latest column for Foreign Policy.

It is quoted by Marc Saxer in International Politics and Society.

Posted 12 Mar 2020 in Blog

Read my latest piece for Foreign Policy

Posted 21 Feb 2020 in Blog

Unprecedented uncertainty hangs over international trade. While markets and multinationals are—understandably—fixated on the immediate prospects for trade relations between the US and China, far bigger long-term questions cloud the future. This is often simplistically framed as a binary question: is globalisation set to go into reverse? Or more politically, are the US and China heading for a new Cold War? But in practice, the future pattern of international trade could take many different forms over the next decade or two.

Read my foresight piece for the Oracle Partnership

Posted 11 Feb 2020 in Blog

A new report I co-authored for OPEN with Hosuk Lee-Makiyama explains how AI could help EU institutions become more capable, competent, cost-effective and closer to citizens.

Check it out here.

Posted 11 Feb 2020 in Blog

“The eurozone’s trend rate of growth is very low due to poor productivity and dismal demography, so cyclical downturns easily lead to stagnation,” said Philippe Legrain, visiting senior fellow at the London School of Economics. “In addition, monetary policy can’t do much more, while fiscal stimulus is likely to be too little, too late.”

Read the full piece.

Posted 11 Feb 2020 in Blog