Messianic Multiculturalism Meets Reality
The European project originally was based on the idea of free-flowing capital, goods and labor in a market system. It’s post WWII founders saw fascism and communism as the problems and market economies as the solution.
But over time, it moved more towards a paradise of welfare state spending. The problem is that absolutely free migration is inconsistent with a union in which some members are desperately poor and other members are rich and provide very generous systems of transfer payments. That combo leads to ‘benefits tourism’ and eventual bankruptcy and a straining of the social fabric.
All of developed Europe is starting to feel the design flaw of the EU project.
““Immigration is the big theme of 2014 in Europe,” said Mats Persson, director of Open Europe, a regional think tank that focuses on E.U. reform. “One of the big risks is that the European Parliament becomes quite polarized after the May elections, filled with federalists who want a closer union in Europe and nationalists who want exactly the opposite.”
“Bound by treaties that consider open borders a core value, E.U. member states cannot legally block the flow of citizens from one country to another. But with the citizens of Bulgaria and Romania, two of the region’s poorest nations, recently gaining full mobility rights in the E.U., a host of European leaders are seeking ways to discourage — or block — inter-European immigration.
“British Prime Minister David Cameron, a Conservative, is pressing for changes that give individual nations more power to override regionwide laws. Prodded to action by the growing popularity of the anti-immigration United Kingdom Independence Party, Cameron has pledged a referendum by 2017 on whether the fiercely independent island nation should exit the E.U. once and for all.
“The British government recently rushed through legislation to restrict benefits for E.U. citizens who move to Britain from elsewhere. Under the new laws, such migrants have to wait three months after arriving before they can apply for unemployment benefits. The government also tightened up the test for migrants seeking benefits. For instance, migrants are now questioned about their English-language skills.
“In Berlin, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government last week appointed a committee to look into ways to curb “benefits tourism,” or the alleged practice of poor Eastern Europeans migrating to Germany for the sole purpose of tapping its generous social benefits.”