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As EU migrants flood Germany, some nations fear a brain drain

In a case of the strong getting stronger, Germany is seeing an influx of the best and brightest from straggling Eurozone nations who can't find jobs at home.

March 12, 2012|By Henry Chu, Los Angeles Times

"If we stay, we just increase the number of people in unemployment," Gomez said. "Now the situation is quite terrible. I think I could find a job, but not in the same circumstances."

A saving grace for Spain, and for other countries in a similar position, is that many emigres intend to return one day. That makes sense considering the linguistic, historical, culinary and even climatic disparities across the 27-member states of the European Union.

"The cultural differences are so great," Burda said. "If people do migrate, it's probably for a short- to medium-term gain, and that profits everybody, because then they'll go back."

Gomez intends to return, "perhaps in two years, perhaps in 10, perhaps in 20," he said. "I'm quite patriotic."

But his new life in Hamburg has been an excellent adventure (except for the weather), a place to meet new people, to get to know a new city and country, whose residents have been very welcoming. He encourages friends at home to follow in his footsteps, for professional and for his own selfish reasons.

"Angela Merkel said Germany needs many, many engineers, especially from Spain," Gomez said. "For me, it's perfect if they come. More new people, more Spanish girls."

henry.chu@latimes.com

Special correspondent Aaron Wiener in Berlin contributed to this report.

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