One of the great joys of the modern European Union was being able to circulate freely through 26 countries without continual control,; today the extreme right nationalistic parties scored a victory
EU interior ministers embarked on a radical revision of the passport-free travel regime known as the Schengen system to allow the 26 participating governments to restore border controls.
Then the zinger
They also agreed to combat immigration by pressing for "readmission accords" with countries in the Middle East and north Africa to send refugees back to where they came from.
The extreme right wing in Europe has been making steady progress over the last decade or so notably in those countries once labelled as socially liberal The Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden. In France we have a poisonous dwarf desperately trying to win the extremists in his futile bid [I hope] for reelection as president.
The move to curb freedom of travel came as the extreme nationalist right, which is increasingly influencing policy across Europe, chalked up a notable victory in Denmark, which announced it would unilaterally re-erect controls on its borders with Germany and Sweden.
This all stems from the revolutionary movements in N.Africa trying to free themselves from decades/centuries of tyranny and colonialism. Rather than trying to help, the right seem determined to isolate Europe and close their eyes to the real problems; that our governments helped cause the situation in the first place. All this because a very few Arab and black Africans have tried to become refugees from the violence. The attitude here from the right is we wont help you at home and you can't come here.
Italy's anti-immigrant campaign is headed by the interior minister Robert Maroni, of the xenophobic Northern League in the Berlusconi coalition. The campaign in France is seen as an attempt by President Nicolas Sarkozy to dilute the growing appeal of Marine Le Pen, the new leader of the extreme Front National.
The extreme right groups here in Europe are slightly different than those in the US.
1] Religion [Christianity] is not used as a good practice guide.
2] Creationism is not an issue.
Where they are similar.
1] Xenophobia coupled with a good dose of racism
2] Islamophobia is rampant.
3] Anti LGBT is very evident.
Funnily enough Germany [possibly due to its history or its relatively buoyant economy] is resisting these xenophobic moves the best they are fighting to keep the borders open.
Current major parties on both the left and right are seen as failures across much of Europe due to the economic decline. The extreme right have found a scapegoat and it is based on skin tone and religion, and horribly this vile message is gaining a great deal of populist traction. The way they do it is to wrap themselves in the nearest flag and wail about cultural heritage and try and make it all sound so reasonable.
Then there is the fear tactic
The policy shift has also been triggered by acute nervousness about the impact of the Arab spring. "There are hundreds of thousands on the shores of north Africa. Something extraordinary could happen any day," said a senior EU diplomat. "If Gaddafi uses this weapon, he can create a lot of problems for Europe."
So rather than trying to help N. Africa for decades by reducing the crushing poverty and not supporting tyrants we have decided that the cure to past policies is to bottle them up and watch the slaughter? I'm ashamed.
The power of fear of the other is very easy to use; and the rise of the extreme right here is very easy to understand. However the extreme right once the external fears are removed will turn inwards and begin [as history shows clearly] to target minorities within, it must be stopped.
Europe and the US must cease this increasingly isolationist and unilateral foreign policy. We must stop supporting oppressive governments and hording our wealth because ultimately we will rot from within. It is also time to combat climate change as this will only increase the migratory pressures.
We live on a small and increasingly interdependent planet we cannot afford to cut ourselves off from its problems.