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Post Euroskepticisms in Central and Eastern Europe
Created by John Eipper on 07/30/18 3:49 AM

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Euroskepticisms in Central and Eastern Europe (Tom Hashimoto, -UK, 07/30/18 3:49 am)

Living in Poland and Lithuania, I have a slightly different point of view on Euroscepticisms (yes, plural) in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE).

First, let us not forget that the policy to accept the refugees from Syria etc., was considered "imposed" by the EU, and most notably, Germany. Anti-German sentiment persists, especially in Poland when it comes to EU-wide policies. This is one of the reasons why many ordinary Poles resist adopting the Euro, as having their own currency is considered a symbol of independence.

Then, there is a bit of "competition" among CEE countries. If Hungary can successfully resist taking refugees, why shouldn't Poland? It sounds childish, but losing this "competition" is often taken as a weakness by domestic opposition parties. No governing parties would risk that, I reckon.

Regarding Edward Jajko's CEE-Ottoman history (29 July), I disagree when it comes to Poland. In the mind of Poles, we defeated them in Vienna. What is considered an "invasion" is more religious. Poland is largely Catholic and conservative. Those "infidels" roaming around the street is not a view they would like to accept. Yes, there is an element of racism, but many refugees (or even ordinary migrants) trying to enter CEE often come from a lower class, as those who have skills try to migrate to Germany or Scandinavia. So, CEE is their second choice. Coming from a lower class, in addition to persistent sexism, some migrants and refugees (yes, an emphasis on "some") harassed local girls--and a small number of examples were enough to make a sweeping general judgement against them.

To its credit, the Church, in accordance with a letter from the Pope, tried to show compassion to the refugees, hosting them in their chapels and residences. But alas, the Church is not necessarily good at PR campaigns.

Many argue that refusing the refugees is hypocritical, as many refugees from CEE moved to the rest of the world during the war. But they would say they did not go to Syria...

For some reason, the Lebanese seem to do well in Poland (at least in Warsaw). I suspect that Lebanese succeeded in marketing their high culture (especially cuisine), and this might be a way out for the Syrians.

JE comments:  So good to hear from you, Hashimoto-sensei.  Are you still making the monthly flight to Vilnius?  Could you give us an update on the Baltic "take" on immigration, the EU crisis, and especially the Putin-Trump show?

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