The Gypsies are Coming

IHT: Western Europe fears what it needs: people from the East

Ask a roomful of Germans in this secluded town on the Czech border what will come now that the European Union has opened its doors to the East, and they answer, almost in unison, “The Gypsies will come.”

The Gypsies in question are a ragged settlement of 20,000 people, about 20 kilometers, or 12 miles, southeast of here, in the Czech city of Most.

The townspeople are convinced that these newly minted Europeans will assert their right to move freely within the Union by picking up stakes and crossing the German border. They foresee Gypsy caravans, with clanking pots and shoeless children, next to their well-kept backyards.

Even Europeans whose yards are half a continent away share an atavistic fear of the invading horde from the East. Last week, before the EU welcomed its 75 million new residents, tabloids in Britain published daily hyperventilating reports about the coming deluge.

While there has been a lot of attention of late paid to lingering European anti-Semitism, stories like this indicate that cultural parochialism goes far deeper than that. It is also quite clear that we’re a long way from a true European nationalism.

FILED UNDER: US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Boyd says:

    The European fears are irrational, especially considering that there are already plenty of gypsies within the EU. There were no shortages of them in either Greece or Spain when I lived there.

  2. BigFire says:

    Re: Boyd

    When has logic ever play a part in public hysteria? If logic rules, US 101 freeway near where I live would’ve been widen 20 years ago. Instead the Home Owners Associations of Encino and Sherman Oaks insured that no widening will ever take place, and my communte will continue to get longer.

  3. Chris says:

    Used to live next door to a domesticated gypsy in England. He used to take off each summer, in his camper, to do whatever gypsies do. Nice chap; good lookin’ women.