Coffee House

Germany realises the limits of the EU project

7 March 2013

12:01 PM

7 March 2013

12:01 PM

Britain isn’t the only country whose politicians are getting just a little bit jittery about an increase in Bulgarian and Romanian migrants. In this week’s Spectator, Rod Liddle examines the German and Dutch response to the lifting of transitional controls.

We were enjoined by the Romanians to believe that our fears of being ‘flooded’ or ‘swamped’, or whatever emotive term you wish to use, were greatly overstated, and that the citizens of Romania would prefer to travel to places with which the home country had historic links. Such as, for example, Germany.

But that simply isn’t going to happen, is it? The Germans won’t let it happen. This week the new German minister of the interior, Hans-Peter Friedrich, said that his country would veto attempts by either Romania or Bulgaria to join the Schengen Agreement, which polices who can travel into and out of that large tranche of the EU which is signed up to the treaty. We are famously not part of Schengen. ‘Those who come only to receive welfare benefits and to abuse freedom of movement, they must be effectively prevented from doing so,’ Hans-Peter said upon taking office. This abuse of freedom of movement seems to be nothing more than the suspicion that they might indeed be tempted to, er, move — north and west, to where the money is, as soon as the invisible barriers come down ten months from now.

And so the Germans have once again decided that this isn’t on, and will stop the Romanians from flooding in, or swamping in, much as they stopped the Poles before. So, too, will the Dutch, who these days have lost a little of their lovable liberality when it comes to the subject of foreigners.

This sounds all too familiar, as though German and Dutch politicians were taking tips from Westminster parliamentarians. Rod spots a problem here with this sort of rhetoric:

I don’t blame the Germans and the Dutch for their hardline or post-liberal approach — but it does seem at odds with the philosophy of the European Union, doesn’t it? The EU is about free movement of labour within its boundaries and protectionist trade agreements designed to punish the developing world. All well and good, etc. There doesn’t seem to be much of a point in an EU which treats some of its members as sort of honorary sub-Saharan Africans and consequently deprives them of the benefits of freedom of movement which are enjoyed by the nice countries which are full of people who are properly white. If you wish Romania and Bulgaria to be members of the EU, then afford them precisely the same treatment you would mete out to, say, Denmark or Luxembourg. But there does not seem to be much of an appetite in Berlin or Amsterdam for this expansive and inclusive approach any more. There was once, but not now — not with the way things are.

And what happens to parties that do raise concerns about immigration? You can read Rod’s full column here. Click here to subscribe to the Spectator.

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Show comments
  • hereward

    UKIP will get us out of this God awful mess . A welfare system and free movement of peoples in a Europe of such disparity in earnings is plain MADNESS. LibLabCon have to go , they are wrecking OUR country . Support UKIP . The only way out of this madhouse .

  • Mike, Dalian

    Okay, so the EU is about free movement of labour. Perhaps we need to re-examine our terms: arguably, labour is only labour when the person in question has a job. Ergo, people are free to move if and when they have secured a job in the place they wish to move to, but not otherwise.

    People’s right of “free movement of labour” should not be construed as a right of “free choice of dole queue”, in a country that happens to have a more generous welfare system than their own, and to which, almost by definition, they have not contributed.

  • JoeThorpe1963

    The way to fix this is all dole & social payment should come out of the Brussels pot for non domiciled residents

  • Enbrok

    If they are getting jittery about the Eastern Europeans then they will have kittens when the Turkish are allowed in! The EU is nothing short of criminal, their policies border on genocide of us English and are detrimental to most Europeans!!! Time to dismantle this EU dinosaur and let the natural citizens of Europe thrive!!!

  • Grrr8

    It’s quite funny to read the perfectly interesting thoughtful and reasonable comments on the main article vs. the scurrilous and self-righteous nonsense below. The same happened with the article on the “international health service” from the vile doctor. It’s like the Speccie has 2 worlds: the bright sunny above ground world of the main publication and the dungeon of coffeehouse/ blogs.

  • CharlietheChump

    The EU has always been about pick and choose for the important central countries – Germany and, previously, France; whereas euro-fanatic UK civil servants chose and gold plated, in spades, doubled.

  • Wilhelm

    If you want to know why Britain has gone from the British Empire to a vassal state of Africa and islam in only 50 years. Take a look at Deuteronomy 28.

  • Wilhelm

    Bible time, children. ( Daniel Maris, you’re probably not aware of this, but the Bible is a religious book )

    Remember the tower of Babel? God punished them
    because they were miscegenating. Gen 11:6 “And the Lord said, behold,
    the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin
    to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have
    imagined to do” Gen 11:8 “So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence
    upon the face of all the earth…” It is God’s desire that Europe be
    kept white, Africa be kept black, and Asia be kept oriental.

    God doesn’t like multiculturalism, you don’t have it in the Animal Kingdom, birds of a feather flock together.

  • Wilhelm

    Romanian gypsies are upstanding members of the community,
    they’re hard working, keep their houses spotless, never beg, a real
    enrichment. As these photographs testify.

    • dalai guevara

      We need more airport capacity, no, we don’t want more foreigners.

      We want to be a world leader in innovation, but eh…oh, we simply don’t turn out enough bright graduates leaving our increasingly finance-based education system.

      We want to attract more tourists to the UK, but…eh oh, Chinese won’t bother come here as we cannot compete with superior EU visa arrangemants.

      We command the moral high ground, but, we want to leave EHCR, all whilst not putting away a single delinquent responsible for proven MOD torture or the multiple fraudulant activities committed on the financial markets.

      Wilhelm, when you start quoting the DM, we all know that you have no point.

  • hgrjgjthyhyjyj

    The EU is a massive failure and immigration has destroyed us

    Sign this petition to restrict Bulgarian and Romanians from entering the UK:

    • HookesLaw

      pathetic that this spam is allowed.

      • hgrjgjthyhyjyj

        its not spam its a legitimate petition for legal change

      • Tom Tom

        You are showing more introspection and self-analysis than usual !

    • fredflange

      The UK showing it’s xenophobic face.

  • Bert3000

    We should be in Schengen. What is the purpose of being stuck with border controls like the old East Germany when the rest of Europe can travel freely?

    • HookesLaw

      All the other EU countries have border controls – for none Schengen members. Our border controls are not like East Germany – if thats the level of your argument you have none.

      • Bert3000

        You can travel from Germany into France without showing a passport whether you are from a Schengen member or not.

    • Tom Tom

      Did you ever go through the Berlin Corridor into the East ?

      • Bert3000

        Yes. Rather quicker than the queue at Luton Airport with a British passport.


    Interestingly Herr Friedrich is from CSU sister party of CDU in Bavaria which has always been more right-wing than CDU. Mrs Merkel must have known this when she appointed him.

    • Wilhelm

      I’m amazed Hooky hasn’t called you a ‘waaycist’ with a surname like that.

    • Tom Tom

      She had no choice because she had given the Foreign Office job to an FDP man

  • Hexhamgeezer

    I don’t care what the German or Dutch position on Romanians or Bulgarians is. I don’t care what Romanian and Bulgarian opinions are on German internal politics. Whatever their policies are they should be laid down as a result of consultation with their respective peoples and have bugger all to do with me or any other Tom, Bogdan, or Hristo.

    Anything else is dictatorship.

    The same should apply here.

  • Austin Barry

    This is amusing: the sanctimonious architects of the benighted EU project are becoming increasingly aware of its economic and social limitations. Limitations which will eventually bring it down or, more likely, send it scurrying back to being a common market, trading organisation.

    The whole EU project was barmy, built as it was on German guilt and French cowardice.

    It will be interesting, and refreshing, watching its death throes.

    • FrenchNewsonlin

      “For years, Europe’s young have grown increasingly furious as the euro crisis has robbed them of a future. The emergence of Beppe Grillo’s party in Italy is one of the results — and is just the latest indication that disgust towards European politics is widespread.” Der Speigel

      • Makroon

        Ha-ha, Spiegel is schizophrenic in a very German way.

        They are worried by “benefit tourists” and integration, but equally worried by the declining population, villages being abandoned, and Germany failing to attract sufficient numbers of “the right kind of immigrants” (no, not ‘aryans’ this time), to keep the population stable and Germany on top.

        And they studiously ignore their home-grown UKIP clone.

  • HookesLaw

    According to the EU rules Bulgaria and Romania must join Schengen. So good luck to him with that one. Of course what he is worried about is a Romanian going to Italy and then quick marching to Germany, but since they are in the EU they can go straight to Germany anyway.
    Why does he worry, they will only take jobs from Turks won’t they?

    Norway and Switzerland are in Schengen as part of being in the single market. If we ‘left’ the EU we would be faced with probably having to join Schengen as part of being in the single market (so would an independent Scotland)
    ie if we left the EU we would be in a worse position than being in it. Its one of the many things UKIP do not tell you (and the SNP).

    • greggf

      Not being in Schengen means travel to other nations who are in Schengen must be facilitated by a passport and entry/exit visas, and hence the control that follows as well as the necessity to obtain one in the first place.
      However the reverse does not apply which is a bit of an anomaly. For example I am obliged to present my passport when I enter and exit Britain at the border with France whereas French and others (from the Schengen area) travel on a simple ID.

      The UK, Ireland, Romania, Bulgaria and Cyprus are not currently in the Schengen Area.

      • HookesLaw

        We do not have a recognised ID we have our passport. I cannot see much difference.

        Schengen is not a requirement of the single market but it is a requirement of EU membership (except for those who negotiated an opt out at the time) and membership includes the single market.

        Norway joined Schengen as a part of signing up to the EU single market. The abolition of border controls with Norway was introduced in March 2001.
        It pays into the EU regional funds as well.

        • greggf

          “We do not have a recognised ID we have our passport. I cannot see much difference.”

          “We” are not the issue here.
          A passport makes a big difference to a non-Schengen area migrant such as Romanians and Bulgarians. They can’t enter/exit a Schengen nation nor a non-Schengen one like the UK or Ireland with just an ID.

          • Bronty

            You are wrong. As a Bulgarian i can go anywhere in the EU and some non EU countries with just an ID including the UK.

            • JoeThorpe1963

              Try it in America they ask for id even in your 40’s

            • greggf

              So Bronty, you have a passport………!

        • Tom Tom

          Passport does not carry address

          • JoeThorpe1963

            Address means nothing I have more than one home. My driving license says UK but I spend most of my time in Spain or Ireland

    • Tom Tom

      EU Rules are very flexible as we see with the so-called “independent” Central Bank

      • Makroon

        But the British civil service is diligent in purging any “flexibility”.

    • JoeThorpe1963

      We don’t want to be in the single market, we want an arrangement that Korea has or that they want to have with the US no fuss simple Free Trade Deal.If they want to have tariffs as per WTO arrangements then thats cool with us running a colossal trade deficit we would actually be quids in & we would be able to buy food from anywhere on the planet & not be tied to the ball & chain of the single market

    • hereward

      UKIP do not tell you this because it is not true . The libLabCon Eu puppet parties are the ones that lie about the EU Empire on a day to day basis .

  • Tom Tom

    “This week the new German minister of the interior, Hans-Peter Friedrich,”

    He was appointed in March 2011 but the Speccie has finally noticed hence he is “new”

    • Tom Tom

      Thanks Hooky…you always have a negative outlook !

  • Smithersjones2013

    Which all goes to show what a ridiculous pipedream the European Project has always been . It is the Nirvana of power-obsessed deranged madmen…