Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Populism in Europe. Always a setback to progress?


There has been a rather disappointing event recently, as Holland blocks Romania's and Bulgaria's Schengen Area entry. They are not ready apparently and there are concerns form the Dutch side, that they will be unable to implement the agreement.

They think that these two countries will be unable to control their borders, so that the rest of Europe will have to suffer with uncontrolled immigration and high criminal rates.

The issue of course is only technical, because the Romanian and Bulgarian citizens can already travel throughout Europe like the rest of us. Also, some of the Baltic states have disputable borders with Russia and it is well known that their borders "leak.," but they were allowed to join the Agreement area.

Wouldn't be better instead of demonizing and stereotyping those two countries, to take a united European approach to deal with the problem of illegal immigration? Bulgaria and Romania are the poorest member states and they have huge problems with corruption. But they are not the only EU states who have to battle with this issue. 

The problem lies with our Governments' reluctance in taking a united front and showing some solidarity with the least fortunate EU member states, because that would mean that they would have to give up some of their national interests. The easiest option to calm the concerns of the nation's voters down, is to smear and portray a country as unable to implement EU laws.

Instead of course to tackle the problem of illegal immigration in Europe united, providing funds, knowledge, staff and equipment to their partners and the outer borders of Europe. The Dutch never had to guard the outer borders of EU and they were not threatened by another nation, illegal immigrants, smugglers or other criminals. Some other countries are less fortunate and they need our help.

The real issue for such decision, is that the citizens of Holland and many other countries of Europe are turning against the multicultural mantra that we were brought up with, they are becoming more xenophobic and take even EU's expansion with discomfort. Nationalism has never really left Europe and it won't in the near future, as long as the European Project fails to deliver real and permanent solutions to the citizens' problems.

Of course Holland is not the only one to blame, as Denmark, France and many other countries agree with the Dutch in suspending the Schengen Agreement. Why do we keep this divisive culture of the rich core and the peripheral countries in Europe and poison the minds of our citizens with populism?

As if the real problem for the Dutch will be the Romanian and Bulgarian immigrants and not their Governments failure to establish a clear immigration policy, that will be in coordination with the rest of Europe's. It is that fear culture of when a new state joins the EU, that makes people believe that most of its citizens will pour into the richer ones, "taking their jobs."

The European project is not about allowing the workers of the poorer states to travel freely in Europe, filling job positions that the natives do not want to do anymore. It is also about lifting these states from poverty and political instability and that can only be beneficial for the citizens of the richer states, as it will limit the immigration flow from these countries in the future.

During this process of course there will be an immigration flow from the new EU states, to the old ones. It won't necessarily be permanent one and definitely not a negative development. These people bring new skills in the country and boost its economy by working hard. And if the European project succeeds in creating similar living standards and equal opportunities for all citizens across Europe, then the flow won't always be from the new states to the old, but vice versa as well.
 
The case of the City of London is another example. They seem to want to be totally independent from not just EU, but from the rest of the British citizens and reality as well. They hate so much any EU regulation that they will prefer to be under a total control of the Markets and the global Corporations, than give their citizens a better deal and a stronger voice and influence in EU and Europe.

 It is no wonder that London has also lower tax rates that the rest of Europe and the UK itself, in order to allow all foreign corporations to be established there. The British Government, media and the elites that dominate them, are brainwashing of the population with arguments that are partly or not at all true, in order to keep the anti-EU sentiment among them and avoid all EU regulations.

In fact, some of these regulations are beneficial for the ordinary workers of the country, like the 50 hour work week debate for example. The British media who are owned by people like Murdoch are playing an important part in this and we have seen the results, but also their true face and practices. 

And so the British public remains always strongly opposed to any EU regulation, or the idea of a united Europe. In that way, they become an obstacle for any real progress and development in the continent and Britain as well. 

Sadly the European citizens fall victims of the populist propaganda by many conservative groups and political parties, that oppose any development, change or reforms. Because it harms the established status quo that they thrived on. Or they simply want to grasp their chance to promote themselves into the political prominence in their country, by exploiting the confusion or hardships that any economic crisis or political and social change bring to all citizens, across the EU.

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