As I read about the Eastern Partnership, the summit meeting in Prague last Thursday that attempted to lure six former Soviet republics towards the European Union and away from Russia’s influence, I got to thinking about this whole immigration/E.U. thing.
Politicians in every E.U. country seem to be bewildered by the influx in immigration, the rampant crossing of European country borders, the migration of people towards better jobs in wealthier European nations than their own. What did they expect? If you create a club for people, you can’t exclude those same people months later when they actually start wanting to get more involved than simply paying the joiner’s fee.
The European Union was created in 1993 with the notion that it would create a stronger bond between nations, become a world economic and political power, and allow freedom of movement between member countries. Now in its 16th year, it seems that the original creators of the group forgot to outline a few things.
Like work, for example. How do you allow people to cross borders freely but then put restrictions on employment? Do you pull a “Sarkozy” and try to send everyone home? Is this whole E.U. idea just globalization at its worst?
And the biggest question, where does it stop? E.U. member countries are having an increasingly tough time deciphering who is European and who isn’t. The Czech Republic? Yup, they’re mostly white and mostly Christian. How about Poland? Why of course – they’re also mostly white and mostly Christian. And Turkey? Oops, sorry. They’re not so white and not at all Christian. But they touch all the right country borders so technically…
I have a French friend who is diametrically opposed to the European Union. He wants his precious franc back and not to worry about yet another European immigrant taking a job from him. He is proudly nationalistic and protectionist.
But is that such a bad thing? Yes, the European Union has succeeded in becoming a world power, giving the U.S. and China a serious run for their money. And tourists everywhere are having a hay-day, no longer worrying about changing money at every border or dealing with exchange rates. But lately, it seems that there are some serious kinks in the plan. Not to mention the joiner’s fee, which is a small sum in comparison to the price people pay with their souls once they officially become members.