Douglas Murray, Wall Street Journal, June 18, 2017
Europe in 2017 is racked with uncertainty — the eurozone crises, the endless challenges of the European Union, national elections that resemble endless rounds of bullet-dodging. Yet even these events are insignificant compared with the deep tectonic shifts beneath the Continent’s politics, shifts that Europeans — and their allies — ignore at our peril.
Throughout the migration crisis of recent years I traveled across the Continent, from the reception islands into which migrants arrive to the suburbs in which they end up and the chancelleries which encouraged them to come. For decades Europe had encouraged guest workers, and then their families, to come. As Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel once admitted, nobody expected them to stay.
Yet stay they did, with their numbers swelling even when there were no jobs. Waking up to the results of their policy, European societies rebranded themselves “multicultural” societies, only to begin wondering what that meant. Could a multicultural society make any demands of its newcomers? Or would that be “racist”?
From the 2000s legal and illegal immigration picked up. Boats regularly set out from Turkey and North Africa to enter Europe illegally. Syrians fleeing civil war pushed into the Continent, soon joined by people from across sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa, the Middle East and Far East.
Today the great migration is off the front pages. Yet it goes on. On an average weekend nearly 10,000 people arrive on Italian reception islands alone. Where do they go? What do they expect? And what do we expect of them?
Earlier this year, a poll of European attitudes was published in which citizens of 10 countries were asked a tough question: whether they agreed that there should be no more Muslim migration into their countries. Majorities in eight out of the 10 countries, including France and Germany, said they wanted no more Muslim immigrants.
Over recent decades Europe has made a hasty effort to redefine itself. As the world came in, we became wedded to “diversity.”
Today “more diversity” remains the cry of the elites, who insist that if the public doesn’t like it yet, it is because they haven’t had enough of it.
The migration policies of the political and other elites of Europe suggest that they are suicidal. The interesting thing to watch in the years ahead will be whether the publics join them in that pact. I wouldn’t bet on it.