Monday, October 18, 2010

It ain't anything new.Relations between Europe and Turkey.

At the zenith of Ottoman power, no Christian state could match it. In the sixteenth century, the French came to the Porte as supplicants and Elizabeth I was so desperate for an alliance that she told Sultan Murad III that Islam and Protestantism were kindred faiths.

In 1623 a French political theorist placed the “great Turke” above all the rulers of Christendom, second in power only to the Pope. Defeat at the gates of Vienna in 1683 is often taken as the moment when the rot set in, but in fact the empire performed respectably against its enemies for much of the eighteenth century as well.

Only during and after the Napoleonic wars did the balance of power unambiguously against it, which was why successive sultans devoted so much energy to centralizing the state and modernizing its institutions. The main challenge they faced came from Christendom’s successor, Europe.

 Initially the empire lay outside the so-called Concert of Great Powers. But in the Treaty of Paris which concluded the Crimean War in 1856 it was recognized for the first time as forming part of the “Public Law and System of Europe”, a curious phrase that implied its entry into a broader civilization. Europe stood for a set of values and the Ottoman empire was being asked to sign up to these much as the European Union has recently required its successor to do.

Another article of the 1856 treaty spelled out the price of membership, the sultan declaring his intention to improve the condition of his subjects “without distinction of Religion or Race” and to make manifest his “generous intentions towards the Christian population of his Empire”.

As this odd combination of commitments suggests,“Europe” stood for a strange mixture of ideas-freedom of worship and equal treatment for all, on the one hand, and special solicitude for Christians on the other; respect for state sovereignty, and at the same time, concern for the rights of the individual.

With time, other ideas bubbled out of Europe as well- the rights of individual nations to independence, as manifested in the rise of Italy, France and Germany; the expansion of free trade and the notion of an autonomous market; the redefinition of religion as a matter of private individual conscience. Into the Ottoman lands poured Europeans of all nationalities- businessmen and investors, soldiers and relief workers, reporters and government advisers.

Salonica changed faster and more dramatically than ever before: as the nineteenth century progressed, it became simultaneously more “European” and more “Oriental”, more closely integrated in the empire, and more threatened by nationalist rivalries, more conscious of itself as a city and yet more bitterly divided. But all these paradoxes and apparent contradictions were nothing more than the manifestation of forces evident in the empire as a whole, an empire transforming itself in the shadow of Europe.

from the book: "Salonica, city of Ghosts". By Mark Mazower.

EU blue cards and Immigration in Europe.

I think it's about time EU and all it's members should take action against illegal immigration. Old EU members are struggling with immigration and probably soon the new ones will start having the same problems too.Immigration is a sensitive issue to many and people usually falsely accuse EU for the rise of immigrants in their countries.

We need to control who is going in and out and how many we can integrate, depending on each country's culture, economy and mentality.Not all countries have the same capacities to accept or integrate the same numbers of immigrants.Some European economies at the moment are hard hit by the financial turmoil and when unemployment soars, it is unwise to encourage immigrants to enter the country.

Immigration will never stop among humans. It has always existed and it is within our nature to look for a better life. Most greatest cultures in the world have been created by constant mixing and interacting with neighboring tribes. So to think that one can stop immigration completely is simply silly. But immigration can be disastrous for a nation if left unchecked and we have may examples in history to prove that.

The solution could be closer if we promote the EU Blue Cards scheme. Other regions of the world like Canada, Australia and America attract educated and skilled immigrants, while we are left with the non-skilled immigrants in Europe. Europe attracts just 5% of the skilled migrant workforce, while the USA for example about 50% of it.

These countries curb the immigration flow when they have not enough potential immigrants of a high level of education or skills and that is why their immigration policies work, while Europe's fail. Their economies are more competitive and growing, but ours are limping. Illegals and low skilled immigrants do not contribute much into our society,as they hardly get any jobs and many live off our welfare system.

They are mainly useful  to the companies that employ them for pitiful wages and make huge profit by exploiting them creating inequality in Europe. And when these companies move to China we are left with thousands of unskilled immigrants that do not want to go back or move to any other country, simply because our welfare system is too generous. But we can not afford it anymore.

We need to educate and integrate the immigrants we already have, help them get a job and start contributing to the local economy and society. If we introduce the Blue Cards system, we can control who comes,who goes,where he goes and attract how many we need,of what skill and which country needs them.We should have a common immigration policy in EU.

The EU Blue Cards system in my opinion, will provide Europe the chance to allow the right amount, of the right skills workers to enter the European market. Making it more competitive like Canada's or America's.

Establishing EU embassies abroad could also help. Immigrants won't chose to risk the illegal way to enter Europe, rather visit these employment centers and enter Europe legally. They apply, they are sent to the country that needs them, according their skills and education.

Companies that employ illegal immigrants should be fined. Illegal immigration, is actually promoting the exploitation and violation of human dignity and should be stopped. People smugglers and human traffickers are providing with human "stock," companies that want cheap labor. I am using the term "stock," because having humans cramped like sheep in a boat or a truck in the year of 2010, is disgraceful.

Due to Europe's messy immigration policies, many Europeans are starting feeling uncomfortable with their immigrant population, and we see a rise of the Far Right movement all over Europe. I will remind you, it took a deep financial depression, an immigration problem and a fundamentalist to create World War Two, and now we have two of the above.

It is not racist to control your immigration policies, it is wise. In this way you make sure the immigrants are integrated into your society and not being seen as "freeloaders" when they receive social welfare, you make sure there are jobs for the majority of the population both native and immigrant. Thus you do not create divisions in the society between the two communities.

Europe's policies are just creating second class citizens and do not help the integration of immigrants, as we see in countries like France or the UK. These countries always boasted for their openness and ability to integrate their immigrants, but they failed. We need a new approach, update our immigration policies and make them fair to everyone.