For Migrants, the V4 Countries Are a Mere Stop On Their Way To the West

Krystyna Iglicka-Okólska

About Krystyna Iglicka-Okólska

Professor Krystyna Iglicka-Okólska is Rector of Łazarski University in Warsaw; she is an economist and demographer; between 1996 and 1999 she coordinated the Polish Migration Project at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies at University College London; she is a Senior Fellow at the Centre of International Relations in Warsaw and a migration policy adviser to the Polish government, a European Commission expert in topics related to mobility of workers from new member states after 2004 and chair of the Expert Committee on Migrants at the Human Rights Defender’s Office. Twitter: @K_Iglicka

The V4 countries have expressed their strong disapproval for the refugee quota plan suggested by the European Commission and received a lot of criticism from the Old member states. But what really happened that the old EU member states are trying to chaotically solve the migration crisis through the bureaucratic quota system which create an artificial burden for the new member states, which are not the final destination for the migrants?

The truth is that the old member states do not really want to admit migrants and are trying to pass on the problem to the V4 states and the post-communist countries. There is a number of reasons for that: the enormous size of the current migration wave, the fiasco of both the EU immigration policies and the so called ‘welfare state’, i.e. the social security systems in Europe. If people in the West keep hearing about and coming across the defeat of the multi-culti policy, they start getting their politicians to push the immigrants abroad.

This phenomenon is strengthened by a growing cultural threat and the conviction that we are facing a war of cultures and that behind the tragedy of thousands of migrants there are particular interests of large empires, ISIS as well as enormous business related to human trafficking, which exploits the tragic situation of many victims. On top of that, since 2004, when most labour markets were opened for Eastern Europeans, the old member states have acquired enough new workers and their families and, as the recent debate has shown, now want to introduce changes in the free flow of goods, services, capital, and people scheme.

The mandatory refugee quotas are an empty but also a very dangerous idea. How can one count something that is uncountable? All attempts to estimate illegal immigration are unsuccessful. The EU sources say the figures are between 2 and 8 million. The wide range speaks for itself — one cannot count something that is uncountable. So how to estimate the number of migrants inspired by the quotas and the idea of prosperity and social security willing to flee from Syria in the years to come?

Furthermore, Jean-Claude Juncker is acting under the pressure of the old member states’ leaders who already have migrants with the right to vote and have to respect their suffrage. Not being able to say ‘no’ directly, they’re are speaking through Juncker about European solidarity and thus passing the hot potato to the V4 countries.

Let’s say it clearly — it is not in Poland’s and the other V4 countries’ interests to admit migrants from Africa and Asia. Doing so we’d waste our efforts and potential. These people will treat Poland as a stop on their way to the final destination, mainly Germany, France, the United Kingdom or Italy. Research shows that Poland is not attractive for migrants.

Immigration is a solution to demographic problems but in an affluent (or relatively affluent) society.  Only such a society is ready to admit ‘strangers’ and has the tools to discuss which regions they are willing to admit immigrants from and which assimilation/integration model will be used.

It is crucial to create such a model of the country’s future development which will make it worth for migrants that are culturally close to Poles, Czechs, Slovaks and Hungarians to stay in these countries. We’re coming back to the discussion of such a model of economic development, prosperity, real family policy and support for young people. Without that even migrants will run away from countries like Poland.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *