On Tuesday 24th October, Britain confirmed its position on immigration policy in time for the acceptance of Bulgaria and Romania as new member states. Astonishingly, it has shifted from its “open door” policy approach to requesting restrictions on workers arriving from the two new EU member-states. The most prominent of restrictions will include only making available agricultural and food-processing jobs. Citing the potential for a crisis in public services, Home Secretary, John Reid, assured that lessons had been learned from the 2004 open door policy that had led to an overcrowding in schooling and private housing.
Two months earlier, it had grown embarrassingly (and publicly) obvious that the British people had been deceived to the extent of immigration which occurred subsequent to Eastern European integration into the EU in 2004. Two years ago, the government had predicted that workers from the Eastern European countries integrating in 2004, known as A8, who would apply for work in Britain would not number more than 13,000. The reality, by mid-2006, showed a very different face.
Within two years (2004-2006) the number of Eastern European workers entering the country and fully-registered on the government’s worker registration scheme totalled 447,000. The real number of immigrants from the A8 countries within that time is likely to be closer to 600,000. Something had to change, and in that short period of time, the government decided to take stock of its public humiliation and its 2004 lessons – as Conservative Party shadow immigration minister, Damian Green advised – and the limit has now been set.
Now that the controls have been issued, should we all be happy? The answer is a definite “no.” Why? Well, it is now that we are beginning to create a hierarchy of European citizens, treated arbitrarily through the different distribution of rights and laws. That is the state of the European Union – it is constructing a Frankenstein superpower in which citizens are not only “unfree” but cannot be equal before the law. Britain now only accepts Romanians and Bulgarians as lesser-citizens than the British people. They have been recognized as European citizens with a British veto.
The EU has essentially creates a Euro-fascist topography of citizens, some more entitled and freer than others. This is not a fair or just way of treating citizens and in many ways, it is arbitrary precisely because it is directed from an artificial political power – the European Union. It is to the great detriment of a European power that it has come to acknowledge different levels of citizens. It has accepted Romanians and Bulgarians – they are the European Union’s new super-state second-order citizens. The only political promise of citizenship that should be made is one that can be honoured. If Britain cannot afford to make the promise, it should make no offer at all. On the other hand, if Britain can afford to make the promise, it is compelled to offer a package of citizenship.
This inequality of citizenship – enforced by the arbitrary powers of the EU – has resulted in an inequality and disparity in social and economic entitlements. It is, in effect, a good working definition of slavery. And Britain does not need slaves. Romania and Bulgaria felt snubbed, as they fully expected the open door treatment accorded to the Polish in 2004. From the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry came the following statement: “We think such a decision puts us in an unequal position compared with the 10 new EU member states who joined in 2004 […] The possibility of reciprocal measures from the Bulgarian side will be discussed as concerns Britain or any other EU member states who impose restrictions for the free movement of workers.” The Romanian government were also expecting the same “non-discriminatory treatment.”
The problem that has been created, however, is not to be found in Britain’s supposed protectionist approach to the free movement of labour – as European diplomats and minister’s claim – but that inevitable bi-product of European policy: the duality of citizenship. Only with a foundation of citizenship – complete with all entitlements – are leaders then able to approach well-defined citizens as shareholders who can share in the prosperity of an independent nation’s wealth.
The united Europe is failing. The EU wanted absolute freedom of movement in the labour market; Britain rejected it. The EU still wants a cohesive and condensed European treaty; so far, Britain has rejected it. The EU asserts a troubled and radical revision of nation-state power and citizens and sometimes, I am anxious that Britain ends up comforted by this European ideology. However, one thing is certain – it has created a duality of citizenships, it has made a promised to half-heartedly accept an immigration deal to other member states.
The new citizenship is not about passports – it will be about the false promise of saying yes, you can come to Great Britain but you are not entitled to the same jobs, wealth, way of life and prosperity-sharing in contrast to our “true” citizens. That is the crux of the deceit. In sum, the Home Secretary should have not made the offer. There is no point in being recognized as a European citizen with a British veto.