Tolerance, multiculturalism, maximum moderation and softness in political decisions are the indispensable attributes of modern Europe. From the point of view of the modern Russian stereotype at least.
In fact, the situation is much more difficult: in the European Union there are countries that do not meet these criteria. They do not lack moderate «home» nationalism, their version of democracy is not too liberal, and the population is unanimous against the reception of refugees. Every year they become more influential, and it is possible that they are destined to determine the picture of the day in the near future. “Lenta.ru” decided to find out what the alternative Europe looks like.
In November 1335, the Hungarian city of Visegrad was boiling: in the ancient castle on the hill above the Danube the kings of the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland held a meeting. Their Majesties wanted to agree on cooperation against the mighty Habsburg dynasty and establish more profitable trade routes bypassing Vienna. Negotiations were held on a grand scale – the participants of the meeting drank 180 barrels of wine and ate 2.5 thousand loaves of bread. Political results also impressed: a long-term alliance was initiated, which to this day influences European politics.
Seven centuries later representatives of the same countries formed the so-called Visegrad triangle: President of Poland Lech Walesa, President of Czechoslovakia Vaclav Havel and Hungarian Prime Minister Jozsef Antal. All three states were parties to the Warsaw Pact and experienced a collapse of the system of socialist republics.
They were united, however, not only by this: one of the goals of the group’s creation was the early integration into European society. Czechoslovakia broke up into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and the Visegrad delta became the Visegrad group. In 2004, all four countries joined the European Union.
From the very beginning, these states did not develop as the experts had suggested. The German philosopher and sociologist Jurgen Habermas argued that globalization finally unleashed citizenship from national identity. The former Central European SSR, however, went against his theory and set a distinct course for nation states.
Hungary has built a wall with barbed wire on the southern border after 400 thousand refugees passed through Germany on its territory. Other countries also tightened border control, breaking the whole concept of “Europe without borders”, so long built by the European Union.
“Visegrad brothers”, looking at the increased level of crime, ghettos and terrorist attacks, called the current EU migration policy not only suicidal. For several years of the crisis, each country has accepted no more than several hundred migrants, and the Czech authorities even specifically indicated that they prefer Christian migrants.
Such actions and statements could not but cause the «righteous» anger of the progressive European community. The typical opinion of the Western intellectuals crystallized in the words of the Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences of the Brussels Free University, Jean-Michel de Val. As he believes, the position of the leaders of the Visegrad group “… is just oozing with internal xenophobia, rejection of the other, lack of understanding of the world and nationalist rejection.”
Of course, the unwillingness of the citizens of the city to accept refugees is due to their «non-genetically inherent racism» and not to some supernatural reasons. The nations of the Visegrad alliance, like any Europeans, have a rich history that goes back to the mythological Middle Ages, but there is no reason for what the English-speaking wright call the “white guilt” – the repentance of white people for the sins of their ancestors. They are alien to the Western neighbors’ repentance for the colonial (or, in the case of Germany, the Nazi) past.
In addition, they have been taking migrants for many decades, developing mechanisms for integration into European society. The states of Central Europe do not have such advanced institutions, but they do not want to create them either.
The opinion that it is not possible to integrate Muslims even to the most developed countries is easy to understand from the results of some studies: for example every third French Muslim believes that Sharia is more important than state laws .
According to Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek, “arrivals are not interested in integration” and “want to live surrounded by people with similar cultural, ethnic and religious baggage.” And he added that “there are no suicide bombers among Ukrainians or Vietnamese”.
Zaoralek mentioned Ukrainians not by chance: since 2014, when the war began in the country, the flow of emigrants from the territory of Ukraine has significantly increased. About half of them go to work in Russia, but Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic also host a solid part of Ukrainian workers and refugees. So it turns out that the Visegrбd already have their immigrants – much closer in culture and faith.
The last arguments of hospitality supporters for natives of North Africa and the Middle East remain the economic benefits that migrants can bring, and the infusion of “fresh blood” into the population of an aging Europe. However, the benefits to the economy of mass immigration are still unclear.