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It is time to get nasty....

Reader comment on item: Is Turkey Going Islamist?
in response to reader comment: Turkey and the European Union

Submitted by David Mac Artain (Czech Republic), May 27, 2006 at 22:28

"It is time to get nasty". i have rarely seen an opening sentence that so definitely set the tone of the subsequent piece. Octavio Johanson is basically recycling the rabid scare mongering of `The Daily Mail` and `The Daily Express` produced prior to every enlargement of the EU.
Before Spain and Portugal joined, we were going to be swamped by a torrent of cheap Iberian peasants. Two years after, the number of Portuguese and Spanish people in France and Germany had DECREASED by over 300,000 - they went home. Then we were threatened by an army of Greek waiters, which also failed to materialise.

Next was the entry of the New Ten, and again there was the 2,000,000 Roma expected to flood across the borders and reduce European (specifically British) Social Welfare systems to rubble. France was terrified by the idea of the `Polish Plumber`, despite the fact that it is easier to get an appointment with a neurosurgeon in Paris than a plumber!
I am waiting for the same scare stories when Romania and Bulgaria are accepted for entry in either 2007 or 2008. It is easy/lazy journalism - just change dates and countries` names, throw in some frightening statistics which have no basis, and sell lots of papers by frightening people.

Mr Johanson also ignores one salient fact of human nature, which is that people don`t want to move away from their friends, family, social support network, language and country. They will only move if there are compelling reasons. Also, people are only mobile in Europe if they have language skills.
Only 4% of the old 15 countries`citizens live outside their own country. Only 1.5% of the workforce of the old member states work outside their own country. In a European Union with a population of 454.7 million, this is not even a drop in a bucket.
Also, given the current demographic profile of most EU states, getting greyer by the day, we may be looking at a situation where we will be trying desperately to entice young educated Turks to move to Europe, and they will say "Thanks, but no thanks!" Europe, according to a recent UNDP report will need about 120 million immigrants just to keep the economic system ticking over.

Two final points to contemplate. a) Who will be working to pay taxes to fund your pension?
b) The three countries of the Old 15 which opened their labour markets after May 10th, Britain, Ireland and Sweden, are also the three countries with the best performing economies of the Old 15.


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