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Commenting article: Ignore Xenophobic Hysteria and Welcome Our EU Neighbours

Boyd Tonkin is Literary Editor at The Independent.

Britain is in the Orwellian middle not of a Two-Minute Hate, but a Two-Year Hate

This may surprise alarmed observers in Sofia and Bucharest – or even in Westminster. But one of the best-loved British books of 2013 takes the form of a fervent and heartfelt tribute to the peoples of Bulgaria and Romania.

War hero, writer and traveller Patrick Leigh Fermor died in 2011 before he could publish the third volume of memoirs about his “Great Trudge” though Europe in the mid-1930s.

sa-sha - 29 Dec 2013 // 13:53:20

Interesting article. But the real problem is not the Xenophobic Hysteria in GB and other Old Europe States, but
just the author's "Welcome Our EU Neighbours" appeal. The vicious in its core humanism. The emigration of the most able-bodied, the brain drain of well-trained young people, it is the real and utmost challenging problem for Bulgaria and not only for it. Leaving home in order to get jobs in the Old Europe, this is inevitably going to harm the infrastructure, the people's well-being and, in the end, the future itself of Bulgaria. By other words: the more EU becomes a one-nation Superstate, the less Bulgaria chances on the better-independent and sovereign-future.

Taro - 29 Dec 2013 // 14:24:57

Well, said, Sa-sha,

That's exactly what I m always talking about. The receiving countries profit more than they loose. Actually they need immigrants because of low birth rates to keep their living standards high. But on the other hand Bulgaria looses people which they need most. Bulgaria looses double: first by educating the people, but without an ROI later in form of social contirbutions and taxes, and second, once the people left, they hardly will come back, because they are already adopted the western standards in payments and living.
And Bulgaria also got one of the lowest brith rates in Europe. So few people are born, these which are born, leave the country. You can't have economic growth without population growth. That's a fact!

Seedy - 29 Dec 2013 // 14:28:08

What a pity that most of our tsigani can't read and hence won't be availing themselves of this kind hospitality quickly enough. Please remember your wonderful rose-tinted views as you disappear under this tide of "Bulgarians", Mr Tonkin - I suspect you'll be changing your tune pretty soon, but hopefully not until the numbers here have thinned out....enjoy!

wilfulsprite - 29 Dec 2013 // 14:47:33

Where does this fool think that the cost of living crisis and job insecurity emanate from? It's all part of the race to the bottom in which Britain and Europe is engaged, and will use immigrant labour to force down pay and conditions further still.

wilfulsprite - 29 Dec 2013 // 14:50:20


The big businesses of the receiving countries benefit - the people do not - their wages have been driven down and their rents are rising year on year. We should not be against one another as citizens, because we are all being manipulated to the same end - cheap labour and an unwillingness to stand up for employment and other rights because we are too scared to lose our jobs.

John Chiswick - 29 Dec 2013 // 16:52:32

I'm not defending UK politicians but if Bulgaria had a higher standard of living and the Roma were integrated into society then who would want to leave.

The fact that the UK has 2.5million unemployed and a housing shortage maybe due to the morally bankrupt politicians but it is still a fact. Talk about xenophobia and Nazi Germany when it's more about trying to buy a house and get a job is the reason there is never a serious discussion about immigration.

But we're all so stupid that we put all the blame on immigrants we don't have a wider view of the world or any other issues.

Caliguy - 29 Dec 2013 // 17:48:06

Bulgarians don't like there fellow Bulgarians in the country, why should the Brits?

Seedy - 29 Dec 2013 // 18:13:35

Two VERY big "IFs" there, John! The Roma don't want to integrate: in their view, and that of the PC Brigade, it is WE who should change to accommodate their flouting of laws and normal social rules. Don't worry, you'll soon get the hang of more muggers, pickpockets, burglars, beggars, prostitutes and scoundrels of every other variety on your streets while the NIMBY Champagne Socialists in the UK and Brussels will explain that their crimes are actually YOUR fault for "oppressing" them.

As for the huge number of "unemployed" in the UK, maybe it's time to get the Too Fat/Lazy To Work battalions off their backsides and back into employment. A few months of "No Work, No Dole" will soon get them slimmer, fitter and more motivated. The UK has way too many spurious "disabled" and downright indolent people just riding on the backs of those who are working while explaining that stealing from the taxpayer is okay because it's only a "few" thousand pounds a head per year.....

Endimion - 29 Dec 2013 // 19:00:23

How have Brits integrated in the EU!? Heck, nobody in Europe even considers them European. Stop being racist!

rpzx10 - 30 Dec 2013 // 19:42:53


Sandro of Chegem - 30 Dec 2013 // 23:29:03

*literary editor of the Independent labeling people as The Peoples*...

The (mostly English) EU tirade against The Peoples of Ro & bg continues, but many of us know that the real concern is the Roma; the Rum, the tsigani.
Prior to 1990's entry into cut-throat Capitalism, Bulgaria's Roma enjoyed an 85% employment rate, as did Romania's.
The EU ( England ) might be puzzled by the modern Theory of Roma Capitalism, which doesn't recognize an individual's ownership of private property. For example, any one of England's very expensive privatised rail lines might be surprised to learn that their system was shut down not because of a technical glitch, but because a group of Roma free-marketeers had 'liberated' the networks' cables to sell as scrap metal.

As for the non-Roma Peoples of Ro & Bg, many of us are aware that they are all slimmer & smarter than their northern European (England) counterparts. The women are strong; the men are good-looking !

joppy - 2 Jan 2014 // 14:20:13

@bogomil The reality of Bulgaria today is the reality of a failed Capitalist system. Capitalism on the global stage equates to Imperialism, it benefits a few which can exploit other countries resources without paying a dime, but it doesn't benefit everyone else, the exact opposite actually. Of course those living at the top of the Empire will be opposed to Communism because it takes away the resources from the empire and gives them to the people.

joppy - 2 Jan 2014 // 14:23:22

@grzx10 Nobody needs your money, the only reason why your money is worth anything is because you force other to accept it as a trading currency, otherwise people would trade stock with stock, i.e. Iraq gives us oil, we give them food no fiat currency transaction. Why would anyone need the money of a nation with 300% of its GDP being debt, you need more than we do.

Tania Oz - 2 Jan 2014 // 14:55:22

joppy, "The reality of Bulgaria today is the reality of a failed Capitalist system." Yes that's right to a point, but only because the Commie Elites that ruled, are the same people that became the Capitalists after the "transition" and rewarded themselves through the privatisation of Bulgarian State assets. How else do you explain that so many became instant millionaires in Bulgaria? It is not that Capitalism has ruined Bulgaria, it is because a pack of ruling and superior hyenas picked off and devoured anything they wanted in their privilleged positions and left all the "serfs" for dead. It was not an even ballpark by any means. Don't blame Capitalism instead a greedy bunch of self-serving unscrupulous villains. You should look at the type of people that have "served" the nation and those that have been in charge after 89/90. That's the real problem in how the "transition" transpired.

joppy - 2 Jan 2014 // 19:54:29

@Tania Oz, Capitalism is a system which inspires greed, the notion of profit over all, and in the context of globalization it is a system which is naturally designed to benefit a few (the Westerners) and exploit the others. Of course when people are motivated by money they don't care about the people or the country.

Of course most of the blame falls on the Bulgarian Mafia politicians, that cannot be denied. However the Westerners themselves are partially guilty, for giving support for these politicians (and similar politicians such as Boris Yeltsin) and congratulating them on their "liberation reforms" which were "to bring progress and move Bulgaria away from its Soviet Communist past", more so they even justified their policies "as absolutely necessary for the economy", claiming "there is no other alternative". Partially they were right that there would be no other alternative, if we didn't sell all our assets to them they would isolate us, cast our leaders (lets say they weren't sellouts like the current Mafia or like Boris Yeltsin) as tyrannical dictators like they did with Belarus, North Korean, Cuba, compare to those countries we could possibly say we are relatively well off, or we could have even ended up worse, just apply the Kosovo-scenario to Bulgaria and replace Albanians with Turks and you get the idea. Now of course this may sound a tad-bit like a conspiracy but all you need to do is look at the reality, leaders which refuse to sell out their nation to the West, leaders such as Vladimir Putin, Alexander Lukashenko, Victor Yanukovich, Serzh Sargsyan, etc. are constantly criticized and get wild accusations of totalitarianism and dictatorship and even bully tactics (as the case with Putin) thrown at them, whereas sell out leaders such as the Bulgarian and Romania Mafia bosses, Yulia Tymoshenko, Mikhail Sakaashvilli are congratulated on their reform policies which bring their respective countries "closer to the democratic European family, moving away from Russian dictatorship", yet when they enter this family they become victims of negative PR war against them, trying to extend restrictions even though they forget that they are the ones who "rushed to take us in before Russia takes us back".

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