Thursday, October 26, 2006

4 tier Europe?

I remember a few years ago there was talk of having a two tier EU. There would be the countries that believed in it and wanted to work together for some undefined glorious European tomorrow in one tier, and the countries that didn't believe in it but were too scared to be left on the outside in the other tier. The UK of course was one of the latter.

Since 2004, we've effectively had this two tier Europe, but it's slightly different from what was first thought up. This is down to Europe admitting a series of buffer states to protect it from the perceived terrible ravages of immigration. These buffer states (look it up on a map if you don't believe me) form a thick barrier of cabbage, sour cream, and beer from the Baltic coast of Poland in the north, through the former Czechoslovakia, Hungary and down to the Adriatic in Slovenia. This cabbage curtain effectively allows the Western end of the continent to limit immigration from further east (though they clearly need to set up some kind of floating buffer states between north Africa and various Spanish and Italian islands, to really make sure they've blocked off all the avenues.)

In admitting them, existing European states made choices as to whether to allow citizens of those nations (now to be EU citizens) should actually be allowed to live and work anywhere they liked in the Union - what the EU was supposed to be all about in short. To its credit, the UK opened its doors, unlike many of the nations which were supposed to be all about EU integration and the like. This was often talked up in comparing the relative economic performance of placeslike the UK and Ireland which opened up and France and Germany which didn't.

So for a while we had a three speed Europe - countries who were actually making use of the idea of the union to gain ground economically; countries who were not doing that, but were "old Europe" and hence more powerful in the grand scheme of things; and the countries being stripped of their human resources to fuel the UK's economic growth.

Now, however, cowed by tabloid scare headlines and racism towards gypsies, the UK and Ireland have decided to close the door to Romanians and Bulgarians, thus creating an underclass of Europe within the Union itself. It's fucking disgraceful. Is my country run by the Daily Mail? It certainly feels that way.

Now Romania could respond to this with reciprocity, making life hard for Brits who want to live and work in Romania, and in fact that would be a good idea (despite the fact that it would be a pain in the arse for yours truly). But the fact is that there aren't that many of us who want to be here, and most who do come work for large multinationals who can afford to jump through bureaucratic hoops. Instead, what the Romanian government should do is to make it hard for Brits to buy property here. The UK press is full of articles about the advantages and benefits of buying property in Romania and Bulgaria, and a policy denying Brits the right to own property in this country would upset a lot of people over there (and the kind of people who are likely to be having dinner parties with politicians and journalists). So, Calim and Traian, what do you say? Give New Labour something to think about, the xenophobic scumlords that they are.

Here are the most recent comments of the BBCs Europe editor on the subject of Romania and emigration 28th September (the comments section at the bottom is worth a read, if only to get all steamed up about people such as the cretinous "Steve H, of Littlehampton"), and October 26th (ie today - hence not many irate comments yet from Little Englanders (Littlehamptoners?))


Anonymous said...

The cabbage curtain. Hadn't heard that one before but it's entering my vocabulary fortwith. Thanks!

Quacker! said...

Having experienced almost 6 yrs of xenophobia here in Romania I find it hard having much sympathy about something relatively short term and in 2 or 3 yrs will all be forgotten anyway. Meanwhile, until I finally leave this place, I'll no doubt continue getting the stares of hatred, spitting in my direction, the admittedly rare object falling from up above. I have a whole catalogue of incidents in fact. On principle, fine, let whoever go wherever. In practice, and having heard repeatedly the hatred many Romanians have for the Roma, and anyone not Romanian, I honestly find the whinging by Romanians the height of hypocrisy.

Anonymous said...


It's funny to say that, considering that a large part of them hate us because they think we're "dirty", "disease carrying" gypsies...
Oh, and you should also stop whining, because I bet you're also not perfect!

Anonymous said...

PS (if I wasn't clear enough): us = Romanians, them = Westerners