Or, is it Europe’s human time bomb?
Bulgarian refugee shelter
As we have been reporting recently the tiny, economically poor, country of Bulgaria (on the border with Turkey) has become a gateway to the European Union with 8,000 Syrians arriving in Sofia this year alone.
Putting this “time bomb” story together with a New York Times story from Friday (hat tip: Judy) entitled, Right Wing’s Surge in Europe Has the Establishment Rattled one can readily see why and how the resurgence of the European right wing has the Socialists worried.
From Novinite, here is some of the ‘human time bomb’ story (emphasis mine):
As refugees flock to the country, aid agencies warn other European nations to be better prepared.
Bangeen and many other refugees in Bulgaria carry a message for Europe’s leaders, who have put off discussing an overhaul of the bloc’s asylum policy until next June and are quietly hoping that the two million Syrian refugees will stay in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon.
But the evidence in Bulgaria suggests otherwise. As Syria’s war shows no sign of ending, people want a more permanent home than a tent in the desert. Nearly 8,000 men, women and children have arrived in Bulgaria so far this year – up from 2,000 last year. And they are not planning on building their lives here.
“No way, no one will stay here,” says 23-year-old English language student Mazen Mustafa, who is aiming for Germany or Austria. “You see the situation here. It is too bad. If we get our travel documents, we will leave this country.”
So why no debate before June? European Parliament elections will be held in May and the right wing populist parties are gaining strength:
Calls for more humanity from EU governments reached a peak last month, when 330 Somalis and Eritreans drowned off the coast of Italy while trying to reach Europe. A week later, dozens of Syrians died in a similar shipwreck between Malta and Italy. Human rights groups want the EU to provide more legitimate ways for asylum-seekers to reach safe havens without risking their lives.
But with anti-immigrant parties expected to do well in European Parliament elections in May, there is little appetite for such a debate. Governments are instead reinforcing their borders. One reason Syrians are flooding into Bulgaria at a rate of up to 100 a day is because Greece last year completed a fence along much of its border with Turkey. Bulgaria is doing the same soon. This means Syrians fleeing war will have to find another route into Europe, most likely on the dangerous sea passage.
New York Times: Europe’s Tea Party movement with one difference! The European right wing populist parties don’t want to get rid of the welfare state, they simply want to assure that the welfare is not given away to hordes of refugees and illegal migrants from Middle Eastern and African hell holes.
Just as Australia’s recent national election centered on the issue of immigration as the motivating factor for voters, EU elections in May will likely do the same:
All over, established political forces are losing ground to politicians whom they scorn as fear-mongering populists. In France, according to a recent opinion poll, the far-right National Front has become the country’s most popular party. In other countries — Austria, Britain, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Finland and the Netherlands — disruptive upstart groups are on a roll.
This phenomenon alarms not just national leaders but also officials in Brussels who fear that European Parliament elections next May could substantially tip the balance of power toward nationalists and forces intent on halting or reversing integration within the European Union.
Pork meatballs for the children!
The Left might wish for “integration” but it is human nature to defend one’s distinct culture when threatened with annihilation. The NY Times began its article by making a joke about a politician defending a Danish (pork) meatball. They can snicker, but they don’t ‘get it!’
It’s the country class vs. the ruling class in Europe too, continued the NY Times:
In some ways, this is Europe’s Tea Party moment — a grass-roots insurgency fired by resentment against a political class that many Europeans see as out of touch. The main difference, however, is that Europe’s populists want to strengthen, not shrink, government and see the welfare state as an integral part of their national identities.
The snarks at the NY Times can’t resist calling anyone who wishes to defend their right to have their Danish children served pork meatballs “nativists.”
But the soaring fortunes of groups like the Danish People’s Party, which some popularity polls now rank ahead of the Social Democrats, point to a fundamental political shift toward nativist forces fed by a curious mix of right-wing identity politics and left-wing anxieties about the future of the welfare state.
Maybe there is some hope for Europe after all! But, one thing is for sure, the EU can’t wait until June to begin policy discussions. The time bomb is ticking.